VMware Upgrade Turns One Server Into Many - InformationWeek

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VMware Upgrade Turns One Server Into Many

GSX Server 2.5 is designed to give companies the confidence to partition x86-based development and testing servers and those running in production environments.

VMware Inc. is looking to capitalize on the maturing x86-based servers, which are more powerful and scalable than ever with the latest version of its virtual-machine software for Intel and AMD servers. GSX Server 2.5, which launched Monday, is designed to give companies the confidence to partition not only x86-based development and testing servers but those running in production environments as well.

VMware aims to do this by scaling the capabilities of GSX Server, software that sits atop an x86 server's native Windows or Linux operating system and transforms a lone physical server into a pool of virtual servers. Whereas the previous version of GSX Server, 2.0, supported up to four CPUs and 8 Gbytes of host memory, version 2.5 can handle up to 32 CPUs and 64 Gbytes of host memory. The new version also supports server partitions running Novell NetWare 4, 5, and 6 operating systems.

"Virtualization and consolidation have been strong trends and are likely to continue to be because there's a recognition that small servers tend to be poorly utilized," says Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff. VMware says typical utilization on an x86 box, with AMD or Intel processors, is about 10%, while GSX customers are getting 50% to 80% utilization of the entire server through virtual partitioning.

"Reliability and stability weren't the issue keeping VMware out of production environments," says Eric Horschman, VMware's director of GSX Server product marketing, "It's more that the virtual-machine technology is new to Intel-based platforms." VMware hopes that remote-management features and the ability to let clustered virtual servers share SCSI devices will encourage companies to deploy GSX Server in production, in addition to testing, environments.

Pricing for GSX Server 2.5 on Windows and Linux starts at $3,025 for two-processor systems and $6,050 for four-processor systems, including a year of product maintenance and support.

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