VMware: New ESX rocks the datacenter

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VMware on Monday launched the first major upgrade of its flagship server virtualization and management software in nearly two years along with several new software tools it says will help IT administrators wring more savings out of enterprise datacenters.

A new, integrated offering, dubbed VMware Infrastructure 3, includes new versions of its VMware ESX server virtualization software and the Virtual Center management agent, along with other tools. The arsenal of new technologies could lead to wholesale restructuring of datacenters from replacing application silos with pools of shared resources for use by business applications, said Raghu Raghuram, vice president of platform products at VMware.

At the core of the new software suite is VMware ESX Server 3.0, which adds new virtual SMP capabilities for as many as four virtual CPUs and 16GB of memory for each virtual machine.

ESX Server will make virtualization of large enterprise applications possible, taking advantage of a trend among chipmakers toward multicore processors, Raghuram said.

One company involved in the beta test said the new four-way virtual SMP functionality was a key feature. “We needed to run some Oracle and SQL databases that needed a little more horsepower than two CPUs, but we didn’t need anything like eight CPUs, and we needed a little more RAM than the 3.6GB provided before,” said Edward Baldwin, senior network engineer at Enbridge Energy Co.

Baldwin said in the last year VMware’s virtualization software has helped the company save at least $1.5 million dollars in energy costs, equipment purchases, and server deployments.

Virtualization continues to gain favor as a way to maximize server utilization. IDC estimates spending on server virtualization will rise to nearly $15 billion worldwide by 2009.

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