VMware, Intel Partner to Expand vSphere 4 to Businesses

At the company's annual VMworld conference, virtualization company VMware announced a partnership with Intel to bring its vSphere 4 product line to more cost-conscious businesses.

Virtualization solutions specialist VMware has announced an agreement with chip maker Intel to sell VMware vSphere 4 with Intel board and system products starting in the fourth quarter of 2009. The agreement will enable Intel to provide vSphere 4 through its distributor network to resellers and system integrators that service small and medium-size businesses.

This enhanced relationship expands on the Intel Enabled Server Acceleration Alliance (ESAA) certification agreement previously signed by the companies, VMware noted.

The vSphere 4 packages for SMBs deliver differentiated functionality: Companies with fewer than 20 physical servers can deploy a server consolidation and management solution for $166 per processor with vSphere 4 Essentials, and they can get higher application uptime with vSphere 4 Essentials Plus ($499 per processor). VMware's vSphere 4 Advanced package delivers an even more robust and scalable business continuity solution and includes Fault Tolerance, VMotion and vShield Zones.

"SMBs are looking for a means of administering -Always On IT' through a robust, continuously available IT infrastructure with minimal overhead and high investment return," said Carl Eschenbach, executive vice president of worldwide field operations for VMware. "Combining VMware vSphere 4 with Intel server products through Intel's channel will help reseller and system integrator partners deliver virtualization solutions faster and at a lower cost, while extending the critical business benefits of virtualization to an even larger number of customers."

Intel said the agreement supports the company's strategy to proliferate virtualization technology on the recently announced Xeon Processor 5500 series into SMB markets and provide resellers with low-cost high-availability solutions, including the three vSphere 4 product editions for SMBs that enable "Always On IT." Additionally, the Intel ESAA program provides resellers with pre-certified Intel server platforms for vSphere 4 with the ability to have their products listed on the VMware Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) at no extra cost.

"We are pleased to be able to deliver VMware software benefits in conjunction with our server boards and system building blocks to our worldwide reseller channel," said Lisa Graff, general manager of Intel's Enterprise Platforms and Services Division. "Our ongoing technology collaboration has resulted in excellent performance of vSphere 4 running on Intel Xeon processor-based platforms. This agreement will enable the channel to meet the growing demand by SMBs for the improved efficiency, greater control and increased flexibility that virtualization offers."

According to a market virtualization study published in April 2009 of 416 IT professionals in North America and Europe conducted by research firm Management Insight Technologies, VMware is the preferred brand by 64 percent of surveyed SMBs and preferred by three times as many surveyed SMBs as the next closest competitor.