VMware Go Pro Cloud Tool Simplifies Trying Virtualization

Getting started with server virtualizing can be daunting, but VMware's new Go Pro -- free until the official launch -- that lets you try cranking up a hypervisor and some virtual machines.
Getting started with server virtualizing can be daunting, but VMware's new Go Pro -- free until the official launch -- that lets you try cranking up a hypervisor and some virtual machines.Server virtualization, letting one physical machine host multiple Virtual Machines (VMs) as if each was on a separate physical machine, keeps exploding. There's a growing ecosystem of associated products and services that sometimes seems to rival the iPod/iPhone/iPad ecosystems.

This includes hardware support (e.g., from Stratus, improved hypervisors and management and planning tools from Citrix, LakeSide, cloud/SaaS access to virtualized desktops, all-in-one boxes combining host/console/network/storage, and more.

But getting started can be daunting, especially if you're at an SMB where there may be a machine available to use as a testbed, but not a lot of time to learn how to install and configure a hypervisor, and start creating VMs.

And even if you make it over and past this hurdle, then you've got virtual and physical systems to worry about, in terms of security and other updates, patches, license tracking, and the like.

One tool aimed at helping simplify the process, and reduce the time and cost, especially for dipping toes in the water, is VMware Go Pro, a more feature-rich version of free VMware Go.

VMware announced Tuesday that VMware Go Pro won't be officially available until some time in Q4 2010. (Which, admittedly, isn't that far away.)

But you don't have to wait; VMware's offering a beta of VMware Go Pro which can be used for free until then.

VMware Go is cloud-based, browser-controlled management tool for physical and virtual servers, including security and software inventory tasks, VMware Go has been available since January 2009. "VMware Go is aimed at small-to-midsize businesses, particularly those with 100 employees and fewer," said Manoj Jayadevan, director, product marketing, cloud services at VMware. "We currently have around 100,000 customers using VMware Go."

VMware Go Pro, developed in partnership with Shavlik Technologies, adds additional features to VMware Go to further streamline IT management in SMBs.

According to Jayadevan, VMware Go Pro simplifies the server virtualization process for customers who are new to virtualization.

"We are providing small companies with the tools to make it easy to use VMware products, to get started with VMware hypervisors and with setting up virtual machines, at no initial cost for the hypervisor or the management tools," said Jayadevan. "VMware Go Pro's wizard will help you through the installation and setup of VMware vSphere Hypervisor, so you can virtualize servers and create running virtual machines with just a few clicks of a mouse."

TO further simplify the virtualization process, VMware Go Pro includes configuration templates, converter tools and compatibility checks. "VMware Go Pro will assess whether target hardware will support the hypervisor," said Jayadevan.

VMware Go Pro also streamlines patch and software asset management -- not surprising, given the involvement of Shavlik -- meaning applying patches and tracking and managing those pesky software licenses.

So if you like Go Pro when you try it for free taking server virtualization out for a spin to consider becoming a paid user, you'll be getting extra value for your money.

VMware Go and Go Pro do not have all the capabilities of VMware's higher-level products. For example, they will only manage one instance of VMware's hypervisor at a time. You'll need to move up to a higher-level (and more expensive) VMware product. But for trying virtualization with VMware, this sounds like an easy, affordable place to start.

You can't buy VMware Go Pro yet... VMware hasn't even determined what the monthly subscription fee will be.

But you can try the trial/beta version of VMware Go Pro, which can be used for up to six weeks, now, free. (And when VMware Go Pro is officially released in Q4 2010, a free trial will be still be available.)

So if you're even just curious about using VMware, find a machine that's available -- VMware Go Pro will check to see if the hardware's adequate -- and start clicking.