Server Virtualization Market Shakeup


Microsoft took a big leap into the Intel virtual server software market when it gobbled up the assets of Connectix. However, it will face tough competition from a more entrenched player known as VMware.


Kudos to VMware from (l. to r.) Venture SystemSource's Ted Gertsch, David Traxler and Charles Crampton.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based VMware, which claims to service almost 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies, is the leading vendor of virtualization software used for server consolidation in the Intel space. The company's GSX Server enables customers to run several operating systems simultaneously in separate partitions on a single server, thus allowing maximum use of system resources. VMware has scored major deals with more than 1,500 enterprise customers and has secured contracts with leading hardware partners including IBM, Unisys, Dell Computer, Hewlett-Packard and NEC. The company also has a growing base of systems integrators and channel partners.

As Microsoft prepares to ship Connectix's Virtual Server later this year for consolidating NT, Windows 2000, Windows 2003 and Linux workloads on a single Intel server, VMware last month shipped an upgrade of its GSX Server and launched a more advanced product called VMware Virtual SMP, which will allow a single virtual machine to span multiple processors.

One IBM business partner said VMware will remain strong because of its advanced virtualization software and a responsive channel program. "This solution is all about understanding the issues surrounding the large and growing footprint in Intel-based servers, and understanding the complexity and issues that come with that turf and the cost in maintaining [data center] growth," said David Traxler, president of Venture SystemSource, Ridgeland, Miss. "We were the first IBM business partner certified and trained by VMware in their Physical to Virtual methodology and tool. To date, they have been very good to work with and are interested in listening to our recommendations regarding their channel program."