VMworld: VMware launches SMB and capacity tools

VMware Inc. is opening its sixth annual user conference on Monday with a free beta virtualization tool for small and medium-sized businesses, along with a set of tools to make it easier for IT managers to deal with capacity and memory issues.
Enterprise IT shops will probably be more interested in additions to VCenter, the company’s portfolio of virtualization management tools. This includes Capacity IQ, a software tool that will allow customers to quickly predict their capacity needs, given the rate at which they are virtualizing their IT infrastructure. 
“It tells them they’ll run out of capacity in 23 days, or if I increase the rate of virtual machines, how does it change those needs,” said Bogomil Blansky, VMware’s senior director of product marketing, adding the software will also help IT managers proactively identity virtual machines have been over-provisioned. “It gives you a list of machines where you have given it more memory, more CPU than it ever needed. It means IT can go back to the owners of the machines and tell them they never used it. Do they still really need it?”
Balansky said VMware hopes to use the event to highlight the success of VSphere, its flagship platform for virtualizing business-critical applications. Since it became generally available in late May, research from VMware shows that 75 per cent of customers are planning an upgrade to version 4 in six months, according to Balansky. It has been downloaded more than 350,000 times by customers, he said. This is in part due to the latest version’s performance and scalability improvements, which remove hurdles to virtualizing x86 applications.
“People are now saying, ‘Whatever I put on a VMware VSphere just flies,’” he said, adding the product is also providing better service levels to applications in terms of availability and security.
London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research analyst John Sloan said that while x86 virtualization is important, he’s hoping to hear more about virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) at VMworld this year. Unlike servers where VMware has a significant market lead, VDI is an area where VMware has significant and close competition, particularly from Citrix, he said.
“There are a couple of areas of VDI where VMware made some announcements on last year at VMworld that still haven’t really been executed upon,” Sloan said. “One is a rich bare metal client side hypervisor for PCs and laptops and the other is how enhanced connection protocol – in particular how PCoIP is going to be implemented. By comparison Citrix seems to be further ahead with their project independence hypervisor and their Citrix Receiver and HDX enhancements.”
Balansky said VMware wants to elevate the level of management in the data centre away from raw components and focus on managing the business service enterprise IT is trying to provide.
“IT management has been about managing the server. It’s disjointed – you manage raw materials, but IT is in the business of providing service. People want their e-mail service, for example,” he said. “IT is not managing holistically, it’s just managing the server that supports the service. With what we’re offering, you can now abstract that level of management.”
VMware is expecting more than 10,000 people to attend VMworld this week.

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