Virtual Iron Updates Virtualization Software

Virtual Iron Version 2.0 supports AMD's Opteron processor and IBM's BladeCenter blade server environments.

Virtual Iron Software Inc. is rolling out the next generation of its virtualization and data center management software with broader processor and platform support.

Virtual Iron Version 2.0 supports Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s Opteron processor and IBMs BladeCenter blade server environments.

The moves are the latest step by the Lowell, Mass., startup as it works to gain traction in the rapidly growing and competitive virtualization space. The company, which launched in mid-February, made Version 1.0 generally available in July. Last month it announced that chip-making giant Intel Corp., which will introduce chip-level virtualization in its processors next year, has become a key investor in the Virtual Iron.

Through virtualization, businesses can carve up computers—particularly servers—to enable them to run multiple applications and operating systems simultaneously. It enables users to consolidate their data centers by running the same number of environments on fewer systems, or run more applications across the servers they have.

Version 2.0 has been in beta for about four months, and on Monday was made generally available, said Mike Grandinetti, vice president and chief marketing officer. He said customers were looking for Opteron support, particularly as major OEMs such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM grow their support for the chip.

"Were seeing incredible demand for Opteron," Grandinetti said, adding that the support will cover both single-core and dual-core versions of the processor. That demand will increase once AMD, of Sunnyvale, Calif., introduces its own chip-level virtualization technology—codenamed "Pacifica" —into its processors next year.

Chip-level virtualization will be a boon for software virtualization companies like Virtual Iron and VMware Inc. because it will move basic virtualization capabilities onto the hardware, freeing the software vendors to focus on the more complex tasks, Grandinetti said.

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It also will mean better performance for end users, he said.

On the BladeCenter front, the new version of Virtual Iron will enable users to virtualize all parts of the IBM blade system environment, including chips, memory, storage and networking devices. The software also can take health information of the components to help users automate tasks in the event of a failover.

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