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VMware’s virtual software gets ever more real

'Intuitive' and 'virtualisation' in same article. Amazing

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Security for virtualized datacentres

Some companies manage to become so intimately associated with the functionality that they supply that their brand almost becomes a verb, writes Bloor Research analyst Tony Lock.

In the wild world of virtualisation one company is getting close to that status now and for many people managing machines in the Intel world the name VMware is now sometimes used in place of the phrase 'Virtual Server'. This week, the company revealed details of its GSX Server 3 offering.

GSX 3 is designed to help IT administrators looking at addressing the task of enterprise server consolidation and the streamlining of development and testing environments. The GSX Server software offers full support of Microsoft Windows and Linux platforms and the latest version focuses on providing enhanced performance coupled with sophisticated management and portability features.

VMware is so confident in the tool that it proclaims it to be the most easily deployed server virtualization product available today, and early adopters have been quick to praise its more intuitive user interface.

As with previous versions, GSX 3 provides the ability for organisations to partition and isolate servers in secure virtual machines. The virtual servers may then run standard Windows, Linux or NetWare operating systems and their associated applications. The management capabilities that the company has been actively developing then allow the virtual machines to be remotely managed and automatically provisioned.

The new features of the software includes the ability to carry enterprise-scale applications that require more resources, with GSX 3 supporting up to 3.6GB of memory per virtual machine with the software also providing between 10- and 20 per cent improvements in disk and networking performance. The software also supports the most recent releases of the Linux, NetWare and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

Beyond this the new release offers Windows integration for performance monitoring and the event logging of virtual machines. It also now supports the automatic start-up and shutdown of virtual machines along with support for PXE provisioning for booting and installing operating systems into new virtual machines over the network. These features are considered essential for many large deployments as they have a very favourable impact on the overall manageability of the total Virtual Machine environment.

Other management features include VirtualCenter-based customisation and provisioning of server images/configurations and the capability to transfer virtual machines from the GSX Server platform to VMware’s Data Centre platform, ESX Server.

The software has a list price starting at $2,500 for dual CPU servers, but is available free to existing GSX Server customers with support contracts and is the first major offering from the company since its acquisition by EMC.

This release is certain to add to the pressure on Microsoft as it develops its plans for bringing its own virtual server offering to market, the technology formerly known as Connectix. Virtual Servers are one of the hottest topics on the IT landscape today with their ability to help reduce management costs, increase security and flexibility whilst reducing operational risk. VMware is continuing to enhance its place in the market, but with Microsoft and other software suppliers such as VERITAS continuing to push forward with virtualization, virtual machines and virtual applications are getting to be more real every day.

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