HP pushes IT virtualization software offerings

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) recently launched new server management and virtualization products across its ProLiant and mid-range Integrity product lines.

According to the hardware vendor, the updated virtualization software and services enable organizations to optimize their data centres by pooling and sharing IT resources between departments.

In theory, sharing hardware between dozens or hundreds of operating system instances is an efficient use of resources, simplifies management and allows for virtual servers to be easily migrated from one hardware platform to another with no downtime.

According to Steve Shaw, business development manager for business critical systems at Mississauga, Ont.-based HP Canada, the new offerings address an enterprise need to simplify the management of virtual servers and speed up implementation of virtualized environments. HP anticipates growth around the IT virtualization on high-end servers, Shaw said, particularly as IT departments look for ways to consolidate internal resources.

The new software – based on HP’s Vmware technology – is part of the HP Virtual Server Environment for HP Integrity and HP 9000 servers.

The new software, HP ProLiant Essentials Virtualization Management Software, gives enterprises the ability to migrate physical servers to virtual machines and monitor and control virtual and physical resources within HP Systems Insight Manager (SIM).

HP also announced that its HP Integrity Virtual Machines (which allows multiple operating system instances to share a single CPU as well as I/O resources) are expected to be available later this year for HP-UX 11i. Support for Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Server 2003 as well as Linux is planned for 2006, the company said.

When it comes to IT virtualization, the issue of licensing the technology is of concern to organizations. Shaw said arrangements such as the HP-UX 11i Virtualization Licensing Program, allows enterprises to license the software for virtual machines and partitions rather than a full server.

Among the services being added by HP are training workshops on virtualization technology. According to Jonathan Eunice, an analyst at Illuminata Inc. in Nashua, N.H., such offerings are required in some cases because of cultural resistance on the part of users. Hardware vendors will “need to explain to people how to use [virtualization] to ease the transition,” Eunice said.

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