VMware Preps Updates to Its ESX Server, Virtual Center - Page 2

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On the memory side of the equation, VMware has increased the amount of virtual machine RAM that hypervisor can support from 16GB to 64GB and the company has also increased the physical memory that the hypervisor can support from 64GB to 128GB, Balkansky said.

"This all allows customers to run memory and network I/O intensive workloads," Balkansky said.

Within the infrastructure itself, VMware is adding a new feature dubbed Storage VMotion, which performs much the same function as VMotion only it allows users to move the virtual machine disk file from one physical storage array to another while the virtual machine continues to run.

Since VMware will support a number of different storage arrays, Balkansky said that new Storage VMotion, like its VMotion counterpart, will help users during planned downtime, such as workload rebalancing or replacing or upgrading a new storage system within the network, without having to take the virtual servers down.

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In the future, Bowker believes that VMware will continue to expand this feature and eventually allow users to move applications and virtual machines through different tiers of storage, depending on their needs.

In addition, VMware is offering a feature dubbed Update Manager, which automates patch and update management for both the ESX Server physical hosts and the virtual machines. This additional scans the inventory and ensures both the physical and virtual machines are in compliance with all patches.

The Update Manager is integrated with DRS (Distributed Resource Scheduler), which aggregates the hardware into a virtual pool and allocates the resources to applications running in virtual machines. By combining the two, VMware is looking to reduce any downtime within the host server. VMware is also adding another feature onto the DRS called Distributed Power Management, which will squeeze as many virtual machines onto as few physical servers as possible. The physical machines not in use can then power down during off hours.

With the 2.5 version of VirtualCenter, which also debuts on Monday, VMware has added a feature that looks to attract smaller business with fewer IT resources. This feature, called Guided Consolidation, uses tools and step-by-step instructions to take a business through an analysis of physical servers, target applications for virtualization and then handle the physical-to-virtual conversion.

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VMware will also roll out a series of kits for small businesses that offer a range of features and licenses that range in price from $2,995 for the basic kit to $14,495 for the more advance set of features. Balkansky said that part of the reason VMware is offering packages geared toward SMBs is that these business are seeing the benefits of virtualization.

"Virtual Infrastructure 3 is being widely adopted in mid-market and smaller companies because of the benefits it provides around optimizing the use of server assets, simplifying IT management, and providing higher levels of availability and disaster recovery," Balkansky said.

On the enterprise side, the updated Virtual Infrastructure 3 packages will range from $995 per two processors for the basic or "Foundation" suite to $5,750 per two processors for the advanced packages that contains all the features, including the new Storage VMotion.

In addition, VMware has released the pricing for ESX Server 3i for the first time. If customers chose to buy the hypervisor as a stand alone piece of software, it will cost $495 per two processors.

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