SAN FRANCISCO-Because VMware only three months ago released the latest version of its bread-and-butter product-vSphere 4.0, the so-called Cloud Operating System-the world's largest virtualization software maker is turning to other news to talk about on the first day of VMworld 2009 here at Moscone Center.
VMware on Aug. 31 launched the beta version of VMware Go, a free service designed to help first-time customers-mainly in the small-to-medium-size business market-get started with virtualization.
The Web-based service automates the installation and configuration of VMware's freely downloadable ESXi hypervisor, VMware ESXi.
VMware Go will enable SMB customers to "fly through the ESXi setup process with just a few mouse clicks," Bogomil Balkansky, VMware's vice president of product marketing for servers, told eWEEK.
VMware ESXi already claims hundreds of thousands of users worldwide, but it is tricky to install and provision and needs a trained IT person to do it. VMware Go is a simple, wizard-based service with templated choices that enables a nontrained user to get up and running on virtualization in short order, Balkansky said.
VMware Go will be made available as a beta offering on Aug. 31, 2009, to customers at a special Website. It is scheduled to become generally available in the fourth quarter of 2009, Balkansky said.
"SMBs stand to benefit tremendously from virtualization," said Dan Chu, vice president of emerging products and markets at VMware. "VMware Go will simplify virtualization for SMBs to a few easy online steps. We want SMBs who may be sitting on the fence to realize all the benefits of virtualization without burdening their limited IT resources."
Most industry people agree that virtualization represents the biggest sea change in the industry since the Internet gained critical mass in the mid-1990s. And now that this valuable software layer has attained trusted status in most large enterprise data centers (some studies claim 85 percent Fortune 1000 market penetration) for regular production use, the word is spreading that smaller IT setups-meaning anywhere from 1 to 1,000 servers-can also take advantage.
If there is an underlying message from this show to the IT world, it's this: Enterprises of all sizes now can share in the values and efficiencies of using a virtualized system, and, yes, you can save bottom-line cost and help the environment-all at the same time.
vSphere 4.0 Gets Traction with 360,000 Downloads
VMware offered an update on how the new vSphere is performing in its tests with current users.
"By and large, vSphere is a hit with customers," Balkansky told eWEEK. "It has been downloaded a total of 360,000 times, and based on the poll we took, the upgrade is pretty quick. A majority of customers plan to upgrade within the next six months.
"For this kind of infrastructure software, that's a fairly quick time horizon."
Jeff Boles, a senior analyst and director of technology validation services at Taneja Group, said that VMware's technological superiority with the release of VMware vSphere 4 continues to be apparent.
"We've validated in a number of tests that VMware vSphere 4 virtualized servers can not only run twice as many applications than other hypervisors at equal or even greater performance levels, but also deliver much more predictable performance," Boles said.
"Just as we've validated in the past, this VM Density metric has a tremendous impact on cost of acquisition, and can make VMware as much as 30 percent less expensive on a per-application basis than other solutions."