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Cloud Expo Gold Sponsor VMware Goes Cloud Size

VMware claims 170,000 customers and 84% of all the virtualized apps in the world

VMware is expected to make its vSphere virtualization platform “cloud scale” Tuesday, capable of juggling 3,000 virtual machines in a single 32-node cluster, double what it could before. And its vCenter management software will be able to keep tabs on 1,000 hosts and somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 VMs, triple its previous capabilities.

The company claims its new vSphere 4.1 rev sets the bar in virtualization, redefining the economics of computing.

Whether it does or not, come September 1 VMware is changing how it prices its vCenter management solutions, moving to a per-VM licensing model like Amazon instead of its current per-CPU pricing.

VMware CTO Dr Stephen Herrod giving a General Session at 2nd Cloud Expo in New York City in 2009

The company says users find the new model more logical since it counts the virtual machines under management rather than the physical hardware.

VP of product marketing Bogomil Balkansky claims users’ bills should be a little bit cheaper under the new regime, and simpler to compute. At least they won’t get hit with additional costs for porting computing environments across diverse hardware configurations and multiple CPU scenarios.

VMware has been running a special the last four months to tempt SMBs to vSphere and found that it was making more on the trebled volume than it had under the old price schedule so it’s going to institutionalize the promo price and change its packaging.

There will be a new vSphere 4.1 Essentials kit for small businesses that costs $495, which has proved less of a sticking point than $995. It covers six processors and includes thin provisioning, an update manager, four-way SMP, VCB/vStorage APIs and VC Agent.

VMware is also changing the name of its free ESXi single-server edition to vSphere Hypervisor so it’s not confused with ESX anymore and will include its vMotion migration widgetry in its $583-per-processor vSphere 4.1 Essentials Plus and $995-per-processor Standard editions

The new vSphere upgrade expands VMware’s memory management boundaries as well as its resource pooling capabilities, developments that are supposed to accelerate the evolution of data centers and service providers into cloud computing environments.

It says 4.1 can get up to 25% better application performance and 10%-15% better consolidation ratios complements of new memory compression technology. Increased consolidation translates into lower cost-per-application.

It’s also promising five times faster vMotion virtual machine migrations, enabling up to eight concurrent vMotion events per host pairs instead of two. That too means better performance and availability.

vSphere 4.1 has been endowed with granular controls that dynamically allocate storage and network resources to VMs based on business priority rather like the company’s Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) manages compute resources across vSphere clusters and pools. Administrators can set quality of service priorities per virtual machine.

The widgetry introduces new storage APIs for array integration so the storage folks can tightly integrate, which should increase the efficiency and performance of the platform in cloud environments too.

VMware has also expanded its management portfolio with the Ionix gear it got from parent company EMC. Ionix Application Stack Manager and Ionix Server Configuration Manager are now called vCenter Configuration Manager, which is supposed to ensure policy-based compliance and sidestep configuration drift by automating manual configuration tasks across virtual and physical servers and workstations.

Meanwhile, Ionix Application Discovery Manager has become vCenter Application Discovery Manager for mapping application dependencies to accelerate data center moves, planning infrastructure consolidations and virtualizing business-critical apps.

VMware said per-VM licensing will take effect in September for vCenter AppSpeed, Chargeback and Site Recovery Manager and in late 2010, early 2011 for CapacityIQ.

Application Discovery Manager and Configuration Manager are priced per virtual machine managed with base configurations typically starting at $50,000.

VMware claims 170,000 customers and 84% of all the virtualized apps in the world. According to Gartner, Red Hat, which now sees VMware as the horse to beat and its chief rival, is still a niche player.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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