Virtualization Technology News and Information
Companies Say Virtualization Gets More Real

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Hewlett-PackardIBM and others announced separate efforts Thursday to cash in on virtualization technology, a fast-growing segment that promises to cut costs and make companies more flexible.

HP previewed advanced virtualization features it's set to announce next week for its high-end Integrity server line. Among other things, it's working on making it easier to manage databases, and using virtualization to quickly create "failover" servers to keep systems up when something goes wrong.

At the same time, IBM launched a test-drive program that lets small and midsize businesses run pilot software programs at one of 40 centers around the globe.

And Intel and VMware said they'll team up on a program called Virtualize ASAP, which aims to help software work better with virtualization. HP, IBM and Dell will take part in the program.

The companies timed the news to coincide with IDC's virtualization conference taking place this week in San Francisco. The research firm sees sales of virtualization software and services hitting $15 billion by 2009 vs. $10 billion in 2004.

Now "is the tip of the iceberg," IDC analyst Matthew Eastwood said.

Virtualization is a way of divvying up or pooling computer hardware to use it more efficiently. Instead of worrying about physical computers, techies manage "virtual" systems. This can mean having one machine behave as if it were several different minicomputers. In other cases, companies might want to link computers together to let them work as one big system.

The techniques let companies wring more use out of their systems. Virtualized systems can shift computing power where needed at any given moment.

The concept has been around for decades in mainframes and other high-end systems. But it has only recently caught on for lower-end Intel-compatible systems.

Analysts credit much of its popularity to VMware, an EMC subsidiary that pioneered virtualization on low-cost servers.

This month, VMware launched what an engineer there called the "holy grail" of virtualization, software that easily pools hardware together. Early virtualization software made it easy to divide one machine into smaller virtual systems, but doing the opposite was harder.

"This is in a class of its own," VMware CEO Diane Greene said at the time.

Virtualization has become a must-have capability on corporate systems. That's prompted vendors to add virtualization features to chips, operating system software and business applications.

More recently, tech vendors have applied the concept to storage and network capacity, shifting hard-drive space and bandwidth as needed. "It has an impact on the whole infrastructure," said Ute Albert, who heads up HP's virtualization products. "So it's an opportunity for other HP segments."

Mainframe king IBM says it's better positioned than rivals to profit from the technology. Besides direct sales of virtualization software and services, the technology makes it easier to switch vendors, says Rich Lechner, who leads the IBM's virtualization efforts.

"Virtualization expands our markets and plays up IBM's strengths," he said. "When (customers aren't) tied to any particular vendors, it gives us the ability to compete."

Read the original article, here.

Published Friday, June 23, 2006 1:18 PM by David Marshall
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