VMware Sets Sights on Storage

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VMware yesterday released its Virtual Infrastructure 3 software, with several new features it says will make life much easier for data center managers. Virtual Infrastructure 3 consists of VMware ESX Server 3.5, VirtualCenter 2.5 and Storage VMotion (see VMware Puts Storage In Motion).

According to Bogomil Balkansky, VMware’s senior director of product marketing, the latest iteration takes virtualization to the next level by using VMotion technology to simplify the process of moving data from one storage array to another in the data center.

“For the past four years, VMotion has been the lynchpin or cornerstone of our software,” Balkansky said in an interview in October. “It migrates live, running virtual machines from one physical machine to another, giving users degrees of flexibility they’ve never had before. Now we’re doing the same thing for storage.”

Storage VMotion, Balkansky said, will do the exact same thing for storage arrays, allowing data center managers to seamlessly transfer data from one storage array to a new storage array, eliminating the planned downtime that companies have to deal with every time they return a leased array or replace it with a new one.

More importantly, it means that all applications and operating systems will continue to update and store data throughout the process, ensuring that none of the data is lost whether you make a storage transfer at 2 a.m. Saturday or 9 a.m. Monday.

“The planned downtime for this used to be several hours,” he said. “Sometimes it would be done in phases over a couple of weeks. Now it can be done in 20 minutes in most cases.”

Storage VMotion will let administrators dynamically balance their storage workloads and resolve performance bottlenecks by migrating their virtual machines to the best available storage devices.

Update Manager, another new feature, will automate patch and update management for all the ESX server hosts and virtual machines in a data center.

“Patching is always a big headache for IT departments,” Balkansky said. “Nobody wants to do them, but you have to.”

VMware Infrastructure 3 Foundation, previously called “Starter,” is priced at $995 per two processors. The mid-level offering, Standard, costs $2,995 per two processors and includes VMware HA, which provides an automated restart of all virtual machines affected by a hardware failure. Infrastructure 3 Enterprise is priced at $5,750 per two processors and includes VMotion, Storage VMotion, and VMware DRS with Distributed Power Management (DPM).

In May, Gartner reported more than 500,000 virtual machines were already online, and it predicts that figure to grow to more than three million machines by 2009.

VMware rivals Virtual Iron and XenSource have also made moves to tie their wares more closely to storage.

Article courtesy of InternetNews.com

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