Feeds

IBM blades and racks get all-you-can-eat VMs

Yes, you do need Datacenter Edition

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

IBM is now offering customers who buy its System x rack servers and BladeCenter blade servers the option of bundling Microsoft's Windows Datacenter Edition. This may seem like hitting a gnat with a cinder block, but it makes sense: Datacenter Edition allows for unlimited virtualization.

Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition can run on machines with up to four sockets and up to 32 GB of main memory on x64-based servers. This is a perfectly reasonable operating system for blades and most rack servers. And if an x64 box needs a little more iron underneath it, then Enterprise Edition scales up to eight sockets and, in theory, up to 2 TB of main memory.

But Standard Edition only allows one Windows virtual machine on a server, and Enterprise Edition only allows four VMs. After that, you have to buy more Windows licenses to virtualize.

Datacenter Edition scales up to 64 sockets for x64 servers and up to 2 TB (as does the Itanium edition, which is separate from all the others). But that's not the point. The point is that you can have unlimited VMs. This unlimited virtualization idea is not new, but based on IBM's actions, it looks to be catching on.

Beginning with Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition in October 2006, users were free to deploy an unlimited number of Standard Edition, Enterprise Edition, or Datacenter Edition virtual machines on their machines. Microsoft also allowed virtual servers to be moved from one host to another, provided Datacenter Edition was the host. And it let Datacenter Edition run on machines with as few as two processors. In the past, it was only available on big x86 and x64 iron.

With R2, Microsoft also applied its volume licensing agreements to Datacenter Edition. And somewhere along the way, it slashed the price of Datacenter Edition, which used to cost tens of thousands of dollars per processor core. These days, the difference in price between Enterprise Edition and the Datacenter Edition is much less.

Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition cost $3,999 per server with 25 client access licenses (CALs), and Datacenter Edition cost $2,999 per processor socket with no CALs, which cost just under $40 a pop. On a single socket machine, the prices are basically the same for these two releases. But a two-socket box is really the bare minimum in the data center and four-socket boxes have been growing in popularity, so Datacenter Edition costs more.

With Windows Server 2008, prices for these two editions remain the same and the unlimited virtualization is still available with Datacenter Edition. Importantly, Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor is bundled in with the Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter Editions. That means customers do not have to buy VMware's ESX server or Citrix Systems' XenServer to do virtualization.

In other words, they can afford to move from Enterprise Edition to Datacenter Edition on two-socket and four-socket blade servers and thereby simplify their software stack - go all Windows - while getting unlimited virtualization too.

But don't get the wrong impression about IBM. The company will sell anything data centers will buy, including grandmothers and Brooklyn Bridges if it comes to that. That's why in the same announcement Big Blue was peddling licenses for VMware's Infrastructure 3.5 stack, which includes the ESX Server 3.5 hypervisor and a slew of related tools for managing VMs.

IBM did not announce its pricing for all of this software, so heaven only knows what IBM is charging compared to Microsoft or VMware list price. When IBM was a convicted monopolist in the 1950s and 1960s, it was compelled to provide list prices - something that all vendors should have to do for all products under penalty of law. List prices might not be street prices, but they provide a ceiling from which everyone negotiates downward. There ought to be a law. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Oracle hires former SAP exec for cloudy push
'We know Larry said cloud was gibberish, and insane, and idiotic, but...'
Symantec backs out of Backup Exec: Plans to can appliance in Jan
Will still provide support to existing customers
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.