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Server Specs: VMware rolls out new virtualization package

VMware announced Monday the release of a suite designed to combine virtualization and management software, rolling together four branded tools previously unreleased by the EMC subsidiary

Server virtualization software provider VMware Inc. announced Monday the release of a suite designed to combine virtualization and management software, rolling together four branded tools previously unreleased by the EMC subsidiary: VMFS, a Distributed File System, a Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), High Availability (HA) software and Consolidated Backup.

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Server configuration tools ease downtime

VMware Infrastructure 3 aims to apply to entire farms of servers and storage, independent of the application/OS workloads and the underlying hardware.

"The key thing here is in essence they've been able to put a distributed resource manager into the mix that enables them to manage multiple pools of resources transparently, which is what a grid does," said Joe Clabby president of Clabby Analytics. "It's not like this hasn't been done, but the news is that VMware is doing it, and they're the virtualization leader right now. With this, they're stepping a little bit on the toes of Veritas [Software Corp. with Distributed File System and stepping on grid suppliers like Sun [Microsystems Inc.], HP [Hewlett-Packard Co.], IBM -- all of which offer their own grid products."

"Instead of server boxes specifically configured for a given operating system and application, there is now a set of applications mapped to a large pool of resources," said Diane Greene, president of VMware. "The constraint of thinking about individual hardware components becomes an old-fashioned concept."

OS virtualization is the use of software to allow a server to run multiple OS system images at the same time. Network virtualization is a method of combining the available resources in a network by splitting up the available bandwidth into channels, each of which is independent from the others, and each of which can be assigned to a particular device in real time.

VMware Infrastructure Starter, designed for adoption in small and midsized businesses, includes ESX Server with local or NAS storage and management capabilities through VirtualCenter management agent and lists at $1,000 per two processors.

VMware Infrastructure Standard, designed for virtualizing enterprise workloads, including ESX Server, clustered VMFS for enterprise storage connectivity and consolidation, Virtual SMP and the VirtualCenter management agent and lists at $3,750 per two processors.

VMware Infrastructure Enterprise includes ESX Server, VMFS, Virtual SMP, VirtualCenter Management agent, VMotion technology, DRS, HA and Consolidated Backup and lists at $5750 per two processors.

Sun looking for I/O standards with blade servers

In a recent On the Record blog, Sun said it wanted to build industry standard I/O into its upcoming blade server architecture by using PCI industry standards that are currently popular among rack servers.

Industry standard I/O on blades would allow the servers to be connected to other devices uniformly, which Sun said is crucial to its future. The blog was posted by the company's public relations department.

It's unclear whether Sun wants to cooperate, or is cooperating, with some type of industry standards association, or whether it wants to create its own I/O and hope the rest of the industry adopts it.

IBM updates systems monitoring software

IBM has announced new Tivoli software that tracks consumption by systems assets, such as storage, network and software. The Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager provides a Web-based interface that tracks technology use by the different assets and can automatically bill the use to outside contractors or departments within the company.

The software can help companies manage their IT budgets and plan for future needs at a time when IT staffs are expected to do more with less, ease power consumption and justify any expenses to management..

It is available now for x86 servers and the mainframe and will be available for System p later this year, but the company has said nothing about whether it would be available on the System i. Prices start at $599 per server for System x and $75,000 for mainframe customers in the U.S.

Red Hat ends development of application server, will start beta testing on enterprise OS

Red Hat Inc. announced that it would discontinue development of its application server, mainly because it has agreed to acquire application server provider JBoss Inc.

The company said that it would continue to provide support to its current application server clients until the end of the contracts. JBoss is expected to be folded into Red Hat as a separate division.

Red Hat also announced that it would release a beta version of its Linux enterprise server OS in July. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 is expected to be shipped in December.

Intel expected to release new Itanium chip

Intel Corp. is expected to launch a dual-core server processor code-named Montecito on Tuesday, which boasts more energy efficiency. The Itanium-based chip will consume 100W as compared to the 130W that current models suck up.

Performance-per-watt and energy efficiency have become important factors as companies look to save costs without sacrificing performance.

Meanwhile, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. announced that it will release quad-core chips in the middle of next year, as the company continues to try to dig into Intel's dominance of the processor market. Intel's quad-core chip is also expected out next year.

Digital Realty Trust expands its datacenter lease space

Data center landlord Digital Realty Trust recently announced a project to expand available raised-floor space at 10 facilities across the U.S. by about 330,000 square feet and 40 megawatts of UPS. DRT -- a real estate investment trust that owns and manages corporate data centers and Internet gateways and is host to tenants such as Quest Communications, Abgenix and Savvis Communications -- will redevelop facilities in Piscataway, N.J.; Boston; Philadelphia; Charlotte, N.C.; Atlanta; Chicago; Dallas; Austin, Texas; Los Angeles; and San Francisco.

Most completion dates have been set for the end of this fiscal year. Since the dotcom bust about six years ago, DRT continued to purchase dozens of data center spaces left behind by failed ventures and has found its niche today by offering relatively low lease rates and flexibility regarding equipment and facility management in exchange for lease contracts that are generally longer than competitors, according to Andy Schroepfer, president and founder of research firm Tier 1.

Schroepfer said the popularity of companies like Flickr and YouTube are good examples of quick-growing outfits that can benefit from leasing out space to support fast expansion and indicate increased market demand. Co-location growth has been positive since 2004 with 7% in 2004 and 10% in 2005, in a $2.8 billion market, Schroepfer said. "The big perspective is 90% of the world does their IT in-house, that's potentially a huge wave," Schroepfer said.

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