VMware Eases Virtual Machine Management

VMware's ESX Server and VirtualCenter upgrades increase the availability and simplify the management of virtual machines.

With virtualization gaining momentum in data centers, VMware Inc. wants to make it easier for businesses to manage virtual machines.

The Palo Alto, Calif., company this week will introduce upgrades to its ESX Server and VirtualCenter products aimed at increasing the availability and easing the management of VMs. In addition, VMware will roll out services designed to help channel partners assess customers virtualization needs.

The announcements come as VMware opens its VMworld show in Las Vegas this week, and a week after IBM unveiled new virtualization capabilities in its storage devices and xSeries servers.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about IBMs new virtualization tools.

Driving VMwares new features is the idea that virtualization is becoming a greater presence in data centers and is not limited to single systems or small clusters, said Brian Byun, the companys vice president of products. In that environment, availability and manageability are crucial, Byun said. "Its about virtualization everywhere, not just one pocket of your data center in only some of your systems," he said.

Virtualization enables users to run multiple operating systems and applications on a single system, offering greater use of those physical machines and the chance to consolidate systems within the data center.

In the forthcoming upgrades of its ESX Server hardware virtualization product and VirtualCenter management software, VMware is adding features designed to increase availability.

Distributed Availability Services automatically monitors VMs, detecting those that are failing and restarting them on another ESX Server host without interfering with service-level guarantees.

Distributed Resource Scheduling, built on VMwares VirtualCenter and VMotion products, automatically balances workloads among VMs in ESX Server hosts, ensuring server use of 80 percent or more.

Automating such tasks as load balancing and scheduling will save time and money, said Doug Baer, systems engineer for Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, in Phoenix.

The credit union has been using VMware virtualization products for three years, most recently bringing the technology to its Hewlett-Packard Co. ProLiant servers. "If we can have the systems watch themselves, that would be great," said Baer, who has signed up to beta test the new products. "We wouldnt need people to watch over the server hosts and maintain the utilization [of the servers]. Right now, I have to do that by hand."

In addition to the availability features, ESX Server 3 will support servers running dual-core chips from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Intel Corp., NAS (network-attached storage), iSCSI environments, and up to four-way systems. It will also support as much as 16GB of memory per VM.

ESX Server 3 and VirtualCenter 2 are slated to go into public beta tests later this year and be generally available in the first quarter of next year.

/zimages/2/28571.gifVMware forms a virtualization coalition. Click here to read more.

VMware also is offering new services to help channel partners and users assess server use. The services use VMwares hosted IT analysis tool, Capacity Planner, and are based on the companys Server Assessment Framework.

For its part, IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., last week announced Virtualization TS7510 virtualized tape storage; plans for Version 3.1 of TotalStorage SVC (SAN Volume Controller), with support for up to 1,024 servers; and enhanced virtualization capabilities in its xSeries server line via a new ACT (Advanced Cabling Technology) family of KVM switches that allow users to manage servers virtually.

/zimages/2/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.