While VMware had no shortage of new and updated products to debut at its VMworld conference, being held this week in Las Vegas, many VMware partners and competitors introduced their own offerings at the show as well.
Many of the partner announcements, from companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell and EMC, were for products that augmented VMware's new software; others were for products and services that compete directly with VMware.
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At the conference, VMware introduced a bevy of new products, including a new version of View VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) software, which streams operating systems to client machines. It also unveiled an updated Horizon, a portal that allows VDI users to easily download and install new applications from a central repository.
On the server side, VMware released version 5 of vSphere cloud management software, which was first announced in June. The company also added a new database component to its vFabric set of cloud application tools.
In a keynote at VMworld Tuesday, Stephen Herrod, VMware's chief technology officer, detailed how all these products could work together in an integrated infrastructure, one that would free applications and data from any one platform or end-user device. "It should be all about people. There is not one place I go, or one machine I go to. So it really should be about the applications and data. I want to get access to get specific apps that I want and I want to get data from wherever I am," he said.
For users who want to jump into virtualization in a big way, Hewlett-Packard has assembled a package of hardware and software, called HP VirtualSystem, built to run a VMware-based operation. It includes HP FlexFabric network equipment, HP 3Par and LeftHand storage gear, and HP BladeSystem servers. Built around VMware's vCenter Server software, the package also includes HP Insight Control to help administrators troubleshoot and manage vCenter.
Acronis and VMTurbo teamed on a joint package to monitor and back up vSphere virtual environments. The offering combines Acronis vmProtect 6, which provides the backup tools, with VMTurbo Community Edition, which provides the monitoring software.
Other announcements: Dell committed to launching a public cloud service based on VMware infrastructure. Samsung pledged its support for the VMware hypervisor in its future phones, which should help foster enterprise use of VDI on the phones.
While server-side virtualization is where VMware makes much of its revenue, a surprising number of products were built around the company's newly released View 5 VDI desktop virtualization software as well.
Thin-client equipment provider Wyse announced that its products would be supporting View 5. This means that Wyse clients will be able to take advantage of the improved bandwidth usage and personalization that View 5 offers. Wyse products supporting View 5 include the P20 zero client, Microsoft Windows Embedded thin clients, SUSE Linux-based thin clients, ThinOS machines and Wyse PocketCloud for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Android smartphones and tablet devices.
VoIP (Voice-over-IP) software provider Mitel integrated its own Unified Communicator Advanced computer phone software with View 5, allowing users to deploy network telephony from within View. Previous versions of View were too sluggish for VoIP calls, Mitel noted.
Software company Liquidware Labs previewed a new application for helping organizations plan a move to a VDI infrastructure. Stratusphere Designer can assess usage patterns, identify applications that can work in a VDI environment, compile inventory, and monitor storage use and network quality. Such data will give organizations an accurate feel for how many VDI resources to purchase.
EMC, parent company of VMware, updated its own VNX -- low-cost storage arrays that combine SAN (storage area networks) and NAS (network-attached storage) interfaces -- for View usage. EMC claims that it was able to boot 500 VMware View 5.0 desktops from a VNX array in five minutes, 40 percent more quickly than was possible in View 4.5.
While partners were eager to tout the benefits of VDI and server-side virtualization, VMware competitors also grabbed some show floor to present alternatives to VMware's vision of cloud computing.
Citrix announced that its CloudStack software will now allow users to incorporate VMware vSphere into CloudStack's operations. CloudStack, which Citrix acquired in July with its purchase of Cloud.com, is a Java-based Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud software platform. By incorporating vSphere support, the software allows organizations to use multiple hypervisors in a single environment and save costs by minimizing their reliance on VMware products, Citrix asserted.
Like Citrix, Microsoft has a booth at the VMworld conference, and was eager to tout its own products as more cost-effective than VMware's. The company had no new products to launch but did post a white paper comparing the costs of Microsoft and VMware implementations.
Microsoft offers the better deal, argued Edwin Yuen, a Microsoft senior product manager for System Center, because while VMware prices its vSphere software by charging for the number of virtual machines that are created, Microsoft charges by the number of processors that are used.
"The more efficient you are, the more money you save," Yuen said of Microsoft's approach.