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Virtual Iron Weighs In As Low-Priced Virtualization Alternative

Virtual Iron, which had early success with Internet-hosted service providers, is offering an upgraded version of its low-cost, hypervisor-based set of software to small and medium businesses.
Virtual Iron Software, a company built on top of the open source Xen hypervisor, recently upgraded its virtualization offerings to better match VMware's Infrastructure 3.

Virtual Iron is a lesser known player on the virtualization front but has enjoyed success among Internet-hosted service providers. It was an early and low-cost hypervisor-based set of software that allowed ISPs to leverage their heavy investment in servers. Now its aiming to help small and medium business to virtualize, said Chief Marketing Officer Michael Grandinetti, in an interview.

"We have LiveMigrate. We have LiveRecovery. We have the equivalent of Virtual Center," said Grandinetti, citing his firm's alternative to VMotion and other features in VMware's virtual machine management system, Virtual Center.

The new features are part of Virtual Iron Version 4. LiveMigrate allows moving virtual machines from one physical server to another without interupting the user. LiveRecovery monitors virtual machines and moves them to another server if a piece of hardware fails. LiveProvisioning is the automated deployment of virtual machines on servers that have hypervisors already installed.

In its extended enterprise edition of Version 4, Virtual Iron includes Platespin Ltd.'s LiveConvert feature, which allows an agent to assess a physical server and convert it to an equivalent virtual server or migrate workloads from one virtual machine to another.

Virtual Iron Version 4 became available Sept.10. The single server edition is free; enterprise edition is $499 per socket, and extended enterprise edition is $799 per socket. Grandinetti said Virtual Iron attempts to price its products at a level of about one-fifth that of VMware's.

Version 4 also includes a Windows graphical administration console with wizards for creating and provisioning new virtual machines. Version 4 is based on the Xen 3.1 hypervisor, which can support up to 128 gigabytes of physical memory, subdivided into a maximum of 32 gigabytes per virtual machine.