Virtual Computing Gains Momentum

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2001-12-17 Print this article Print

As an increasing number of enterprise customers look for software that allow them to run applications across different platforms, IBM this week will announce that VMware Inc.'s enterprise server software, ESX Server, has achieved IBM ServerProven validati

As an increasing number of enterprise customers look for software that allow them to run applications across different platforms, IBM this week will announce that VMware Inc.s enterprise server software, ESX Server, has achieved IBM ServerProven validation. ESX Server is fully optimized to run on some IBM eServer xSeries systems, including the x350 and the x370, allowing IBM customers to better manage the rising cost and complexity of running an e-business with virtual computing technology.
"Together, VMware ESX Server and xSeries systems enable customers to experience the benefits typically found in enterprise-class server environments on the Intel platform," said Nick Bowen, vice president of IBM eServer xSeries Software and Performance.
Diane Greene, the co-founder and CEO at VMware in Palo Alto, Calif., told eWEEK that the companys virtual computing server software products -- VMware ESX Server and VMware GSX Server -- enable businesses to dynamically partition their physical servers into multiple secure and transportable virtual computers. Each virtual computer is configured with its own operating system, applications and network identity. In addition, each is completely isolated so that entirely separate computing environments can be hosted on one physical server, she said. "The results include better server utilization while ensuring application performance, optimal flexibility and manageability of computing resources, and reduced cost and complexity of delivering enterprise services," Greene said. While IBM already has its own virtual computing software technology for its non-Intel server line, the VMware product was designed for the Intel-based xSeries server line. "With ESX Server and IBM xSeries hardware, both enterprises and service providers can better manage the total cost of ownership of their computing resources," she said. One enterprise user agrees. Agilera, an application service provider based in Colorado, is using VMware on its xSeries servers for hosting its customer domain controllers on fewer physical servers, resulting in significant cost savings. Neil Reamer, a systems engineer at Agilera in Inglewood, S.C., said the company strove to host client applications on the minimum number of servers to keep costs down. Running ESX Server allowed it to consolidate new servers. "Effectively, we had servers serving application tasks as well as domain tasks like DNS. We were running into conflicts and problems where the application was doing things that caused the domain and the rest of the computer in the domain not to talk to its domain controller properly," Reamer said. "We wanted to separate that functionality and needed an option that allowed us to offload the whole load of domain controllers, DNS, that kind of thing, to other systems. Now, with the VMware solution, we no longer have to buy two servers for each client; we have bought two servers for all clients and bring them up on those," he said. ESX Server is also able to provide the same security Agileras clients would have if running on their own individual pieces of hardware, he said. "Its just a lot of flexibility. We can put them in within days of a new contract being signed, and even before the first piece of client production hardware gets here we can have the whole security environment set up. "Its given us a lot more flexibility when it comes to implementing a new client and taking that load of domain controllers off the production equipment, which can now just serve applications," Reamer said. Brent Adam, the systems team leader at Agilera, added that clients expect separation from one another. VMWares ESX product allowed Agilera to take physical servers and give them completely separate operating systems that dont affect one another. "And, as we have less physical hardware requirements per client, we can afford to make the solution more capable to each individual client," he said. While ESX Server is stable and scalable, it has room for improvement on the functionality side given that it is just a Version 1.0 product. "We would like to be able to run VLANs natively on VMware, something that will come in future versions," Adam said.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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