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Fresh off a blockbuster IPO and its user conference, VMware has divulged details around upcoming additions to its flagship software.

Out of all the new bits and bobs in ESX Server 3.5 and VirtualCenter 2.5, customers may find some storage tools most appealing. VMware has crafted a storage replica of its VMotion technology used to move virtual machines between physical servers. With Storage Vmotion, customers can shift virtual machine disk files from storage box to storage box.

Rival XenSource has grumbled about VMware relying on its own file system to perform flashy management functions. XenSource has decided to partner with Symantec (Veritas) around file system technology, arguing that brings the company closer to an “industry standard.” Meanwhile, VMware contends that it started file system work many years ago, knowing it would take a sophisticated, in-house software layer to pull off its full ambitions.

Outside of the storage realm, VMware has added a new Update Manager for ESX Server. The software does a lot of what you might expect by handling patches and updates automatically. The new management package also ties into the Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS).

Another new tool dubbed Distributed Power Management links with the DRS as well. With this software, customers can schedule workloads to shift over to a limited number of servers during periods of low use such as evenings or weekends. The remaining hardware can be shut down to save energy.

A few other features in the latest version of ESX are support for local SATA storage, 10 GigE and Infiniband; the ability to handle offloaded TCP segments; support for nested page tables; support for paravirtualized Linux guest operating systems and support for 64GB of memory with virtual machines and 128GB of memory for physical machines.

Those last two additions put VMware back on pace with XenSource.

VMware continues to round out its product portfolio at pace, which has to be a major concern for Microsoft and others. Microsoft won’t be shipping its new hypervisor and associated management packages until the first or second quarter of next year. When the software does ship, it will miss some key technology such as a copy of VMotion.

It’s this lead with complementary products that must make VMware investors comfortable pushing the company’s share price to insane levels.

The fresh code from VMware won’t actually ship until the fourth quarter.

Customers can purchase a standalone version of VMware’s “Calista Flockhart” ESX 3i hypervisor for $495 per two sockets. VMware Starter has been turned into Infrastructure 3 Foundation and includes ESX Server, Server 3i, Consolidated Backup and Update Manager for $995. VMware has removed the restrictions around storage, memory and CPUs with this package.

You’ll also find Infrastructure 3 Standard, which includes high-availability software, for $2,995 and Infrastructure 3 Enterprise, which has the Storage VMotion, DRS and distributed power management, for $5750. ®

High performance access to file storage

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