IBM is reselling and supporting VMware Inc.'s ESX Server software, which will let companies partition xSeries servers running Linux or Windows. This lets companies consolidate underutilized servers onto larger, more powerful servers. ESX Server provides an interface through which IT managers can remotely manage, automatically provision, and standardize on an Intel platform.
Although VMware software is available for Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and NEC servers, IBM is the only company providing direct support for the software. ESX Server is priced at $3,750 for software to consolidate two CPUs. The software can scale up to eight CPUs at this time. VMware plans to support IBM's 16-CPU x440 Intel-based server later this year.
VMware is one of the few companies to offer "virtual machine," or server partitioning, software for Intel environments, says Tony Iams, a senior analyst with D.H. Brown Associates. "Server consolidation is a direct way to cut costs because it lets companies either reduce their number of data centers or at least reduce the size of their data centers," he says. VMware's close relationship with IBM means customers can take advantage of IBM Global Services to support both their servers and ESX server software.