HP, VMWare Rev Up Virtualization Teamwork

VMworld 2008, the VMware user conference to be held in Las Vegas Sept. 15-18, Hewlett-Packard will expand its partnership with VMware by rolling out a variety of virtualization ventures to support VMware (NYSE: VMW) technologies in four areas: management software, virtualization services, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and servers and storage.

“Virtualization is part of the overall DNA of the industry and of HP,” Mark Linesch, HP’s vice president of enterprise server and storage software, told InternetNews.com. “We have more VMware-certified pros than anybody except VMware, and we’ve made huge investments in the VMware ecosystem over the past five to six years.”

VMworld 2008 has sparked a flurry of moves in the virtualization market. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) kicked off a marketing campaign for its technologies Monday, Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: JAVA) made an announcement Tuesday and last week, BMC (NYSE: BMC), HP (NYSE: HPQ) and Fortisphere announced tools to manage virtualized environments.

Meanwhile, Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) has bought open source virtualization vendor Qumranet, for $107 million.

For backup and recovery of mission-critical application data in virtual machines, or VMs , HP will offer HP Data Protector Zero Downtime Backup and Instant Recovery, which takes snapshots of data on the VMs “without a performance hit in a nonintrusive way,” Linesch said. It integrates tightly with HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Arrays.

Lack of control and management of the virtual infrastructure has been a major problem for system administrators, and HP Insight Dynamics – VSE helps users visualize, plan and change their virtual and physical resources to improve datacenter efficiency and cut costs. Combined with VMware VirtualCenter, it lets enterprises move VMs off a hardware platform to another one before it fails.

“We’ve had VSE for several years on our Unix platforms in some of the most mission-critical environments,” Linesch said. This product lets users analyze how many VMs they can place on a server to maximize its utilization or calculate the optimum number of VMs to use to keep energy costs down.

New services include HP Virtual Exchange Infrastructure services to help customers migrate existing messaging systems to Microsoft Exchange 2007 on VMware VMs without affecting day-to-day operations. “HP is the largest and the leading global services and solutions provider for Microsoft, so we can help businesses better customize their environment as they virtualize parts of it,” Linesch said.

HP will also announce that its thin clients have been certified by VMware to support the latter’s next-generation Virtual Desktop Manager 2.1 connection broker so they work better with VMware’s Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. VDI lets users host and centrally manage desktop VMs in the datacenter while providing thin-client PCs a full PC desktop experience with the ability to run videos and rich Internet applications.

In addition, HP has enhanced its ProLiant BL680C G5 server blades and ProLiant DL580 G5 rack-based servers with the Intel Xeon processor 7400 series, the first six-core processor for x86 platforms.

HP has also spruced up VMware’s disaster-recovery efforts and will unveil an automated disaster-recovery package for virtual environments. This will consist of VMware Site Recovery Manager, HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Arrays (EVA) and HP Continuous Access Replication EVA Software.

HP also supports Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix, and is keeping the door open to VMware’s competitors. “We have a version of the Hyper-V environment that fits with our ProLiant systems and support Hyper-V with our newest virtualization tools, including InSight Dynamics,” Linesch said. “We also work with Citrix (NASDAQ: CTSX).”

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