Enterprises looking to extend the capabilities of their data centers through virtualization will be getting more help from IBM and VMware Inc. over the next few months.
IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., is growing its virtualization offerings in its Intel Corp.-based xSeries systems by making it easier to deploy and manage virtual machines. The moves are intended to continue driving the adoption of virtual machines in the data center, said Rob Sauerwalt, global brand manager of software and services in IBMs Systems Group.
"IBM doesnt view virtualization as simply partitioning," Sauerwalt said. "We really see it as a better way of getting better utilization in the data center."
Brad Day, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc., said companies running Windows or Linux on x86 hardware are beginning to recognize the server consolidation benefits of virtual machines.
"In the last three [fiscal] quarters, for every level of administration, when they talk about system consolidation relative to x86, 30 to 40 percent plan some sort of virtual machine policy," said Day, in Cambridge, Mass.
Virtual machine technology has been widely used in the Unix space to consolidate back-end applications, such as ERP (enterprise resource planning) software.
IBM has added Virtual Machine Manager free to its IBM Director management software, enabling users to manage both physical and VMware virtual machines from a single console. Until earlier this year, IBM customers running virtual machines needed Director for the physical IBM server and one VMware ESX console for each virtual system. Then VMware launched VirtualCenter, enabling users to manage all virtual machines from a single console, Sauerwalt said.
Now they have a central place to manage both.
"We got it down from hundreds of consoles to two consoles to one," he said.
IBM also has rolled out Version 4.2 of its Remote Deployment Manager—an extension of the Director management suite—enabling users to remotely deploy a VMware ESX virtual server onto an x86 system. In addition, IBM at the end of the year will offer a free VMware license for six months with every BladeCenter blade server chassis and will offer VMwares P2V Assistant—a migration tool for users looking to move images currently on physical servers onto virtual machines.
At its VMworld user show late last month, VMware, of Palo Alto, Calif., gave users a demonstration of the upcoming four-way version of its Virtual SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) server. The new version—an add-on to the companys ESX Server—will be available in the second half of next year, around the time that Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Intel begin introducing their multicore processors.
The four-way Virtual SMP will enable a virtual machine to work with up to four physical processors, allowing users to run more mission-critical applications on the virtual servers, according to VMware officials.
The four-way capabilities will come about two years after VMware introduced its two-way version.
Virtualizing the data center
IBM Virtual Machine Manager and Remote Deployment Manager 4.2 offer remote management of virtual machines; in December, IBM will bundle free VMware license with blade servers
VMware Will roll out four-way Virtual SMP server in the second half of next year