VMware Preps Updates to Its ESX Server, Virtual Center

VMware will update its Virtual Infrastructure suite with updates to its hypervisor and new pricing to entice SMBs.

VMware is preparing several updates to its Virtual Infrastructure 3 suite, including a laundry list of additional features to its ESX hypervisor designed to offer the companys customers greater flexibility when it comes to networking and memory-intense workloads.

The Palo Alto, Calif. virtualization company unveiled details on Oct. 8 of the latest version of ESX Server—ESX Server 3.5—as well as additional updates to its VirtualCenter management software. In addition, VMware is offering new packaging and pricing arrangements specifically geared toward small and midsized business customers.

The groundwork for these new features started at last months VMworld Conference in San Francisco, where Diane Greene, the companys president and CEO, detailed the new ESX 3i hypervisor, a bare-metal piece of software that has been designed small enough to fit onto a flash chip and that can be embedded directly into servers and storage hardware.

The same features now included on the larger ESX Server 3.5 will also be included on ESX 3i, said Bogomil Balkansky, the senior director of product marketing at VMware. These additions, he said, will add greater ability for running network-intensive workloads.

/zimages/4/28571.gifVMware is looking beyond the hypervisor. Click here to read more.

"They represent a major enhancement across the entire stack or the entire suite of VMwares Infrastructure," Balkansky added. "Starting with the platform or the hypervisor, the major news was unveiled at VMworld, which was the next generation, thin hypervisor 3i, but besides that we are unveiling a number of performance and scalability enhancements that will be contained in both the ESX Server and the ESX Server 3i that will allow customers to run more network-intensive and memory-intensive workloads."

Mark Bowker, an analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group, said the most impressive part of the new features is that these tools will be available on both the updated version of the ESX Server as well as the ESX Server 3i.

"I think this helps people recognize that its not just about products, or speed to market, or a hypervisor, but the community that VMware has developed and what it is involving into," Bowker said.

The new features within VMwares Virtual Infrastructure suite should come to market by years end. Although the company did not provide a specific date, some Web sites have indicated a December release.

The new features of the hypervisor include support for various network and storage offerings, including 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Infiniband and SATA (Serial ATA) local storage. In addition, there is also now support for TCP segment offload and Jumbo frames that expand network throughput and performance.

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