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VMware Extends Virtualization's Reach To Servers Plus Storage

Infrastructure 3 is designed to aggregate both servers and storage as virtualized resources that can be more easily managed by one administrator.

Bryan Peterson, a systems engineer at the University of Utah, was described this way by his CIO: "Elmer Fudd at a rabbit farm--going out and shooting server requests."

Many companies have this killer instinct toward their servers, fueling the growth of virtualization products like the latest from VMware. The EMC subsidiary, best known for virtualizing x86-based servers, is expanding tools to manage both virtualized servers and attached networked storage, combining two data center assets under one management interface.

The VMware products that make this possible--virtual server, virtual machine migrator, and a management tool--aren't exactly new. But the way VMware has packaged their capabilities into one management console and reduced the pricing "breaks new ground," Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff writes in a report. Called Infrastructure 3, it starts at $1,000 for a two-way server, up to $3,750 for a version to consolidate department servers and $5,750 to be worthy of a data center.

VMware is the market leader in virtualization but is being pressured by cheaper options from open source Xen 3.0 supplier XenSource and Microsoft, which started making its Virtual Server available for free download in April. This offering is an example of where VMware needs to lead--not only in virtualizing servers but in managing virtualized resources.

At the University of Utah, Peterson consolidated applications into virtual machines, getting eight to 10 on each two-way server. His goal: to avoid buying the 80 servers this year that would've been needed based on the old strategy. Continuing this approach for three years could save the university $2.5 million, he says. He's upgrading the data center's 20 Hewlett-Packard blade servers to dual-core blades, which will let him consolidate 20 to 22 virtual machines on a server. Peterson won't test Infrastructure 3 until later this year, and he's unlikely to rely on VMware to manage the data center, instead using VMware's plug-in to HP's OpenView system management console. He's hoping to boost server utilization rates from about 40% to closer to 60%.

That would be better than Elmer, who, lest we forget, never actually bags Bugs.

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