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VMware has announced three new VMware Infrastructure packages that are designed to help IT administrators at SMBs make the decision to deploy virtual infrastructure.

The SMB bundles are based on the latest release of VMware Infrastructure, which will include the new VMware ESX Server 3.5 and VirtualCenter 2.5, and are focused on decreasing power consumption, eliminating manual tracking and patching of virtual infrastructure and increasing overall infrastructure availability. The new products targeting SMBs include VMware ESX Server 3i, VMware Guided Consolidation and VMware Update Manager.

VMware ESX Server 3i, VMware's firmware-based embed thin hypervisor, aims to help customers more rapidly deploy virtualization in their environments. VMware Guided Consolidation is designed to enable companies' migration from physical servers to virtual infrastructure through a step-by-step wizard that identifies physical servers for consolidation, converts them to virtual machines and intelligently places them onto the most ideal VMware ESX Server or VMware Server host. VMware Update Manager automates patch-and-update management for VMware ESX Server hosts and virtual machines and is designed to relieve the significant pain point of tracking patch levels and manually applying security and bug fixes.

The new VMware bundles are packaged into three Acceleration Kits. VMware Infrastructure 3 Foundation Acceleration Kit ($2,995) has three 2-processor licenses of VMware Infrastructure Foundation—which includes VMware ESX Server, VMware Consolidated Backup, VMware Update Manager, VMware Virtual SMP, VMware VirtualCenter agent and VMware VMFS—as well as VMware VirtualCenter Foundation Server that includes VMware Guided Consolidation and the ability to manage up to three VMware Infrastructure server hosts.

VMware Infrastructure 3 Standard High Availability Acceleration Kit ($5,995) has two 2-processor nodes of VMware Infrastructure Standard, which includes the VMware Infrastructure 3 Foundation Acceleration Kit plus VMware High Availability. VMware Infrastructure 3 Midsize Acceleration Kit ($14,495) has three 2-processor nodes of VMware Infrastructure Enterprise, which includes the VMware Infrastructure 3 Standard HA Acceleration Kit plus VMware VMotion, VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), VMware Storage Vmotion and VMware Distributed Power Management (DPM), as well as flexible training and consulting credits.

This latest release of VMware has plenty of technological capability to pique the interest of even the most jaded IT professional while the company continues its upward trek of refining its product offerings and incorporating new features. Of particular note, the emphasis on streamlining management and automation as well as improving overall availability and performance should resonate well with organizations that are seeking to maximize their business value from virtualization investments.

In addition, we find the ability to move virtual machine disks across data stores intriguing as it serves to reduce further the physical dependencies that virtual solutions are ideally seeking to overcome completely. As the notion of virtualization continues to gain traction and maturity in the minds of IT directors and CTOs, the need for solutions to take a strategic posture and feature set grows accordingly. With this latest feature announcement, we see much in this regard by which to be encouraged.

In the early days of tire kicking and technology poking, the technology is the most important consideration; nevertheless, all good technology aside, we believe that overall sales growth is driven much more by effective targeting and packaging of solutions than by raw technology.

To our way of thinking, the three SMB-focused kits reflect this reality and correctly note that a one-size-fits-all approach targeted at SMBs is not sufficient either. We believe that these offerings address some of the more common SMB scenarios, i.e., an organization that is new to virtualization, an organization seeking HA from virtualized solution, and an organization that wants to deeply engage virtualization and develop in-depth, in-house expertise.

Overall, we view this feature and packaging preview as further evidence of the growing strategic value of virtualization. With the emphasis on management and automation as well as new renewed focus on delivering product and solution bundles that meet the needs to specific market segments, VMware continues to reinforce its position as the leading virtualization vendor. At the same time, the company is serving notice that it believes there are still more enhancements and extensions for virtualization technological to be made, and market opportunities to be had.

Copyright © 2007, The Sageza Group

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