VMware plans to use this week's VMworld conference to introduce improved management capabilities for its vSphere virtualization technology, a new free service to let small businesses quickly deploy virtual servers, and a custom server builder relationship with Intel.
VMware is the primary sponsor of the VMworld conference, being held Monday through Thursday in San Francisco.
New from VMware is a rebranding and expansion of the company's vCenter technology for managing virtual environments deployed using vSphere, said Bogomil Balkansky, vice president of product marketing for the vendor.
Now, vCenter will be the umbrella brand name for all its management modules, both existing modules and others yet to be released, Balkansky said.
VMware also plans to roll out vCenter Capacity IQ, a management module for managing capacity in virtual data centers.
"It shows when a data center runs out of physical capacity and lets customers do 'what-if' scenarios," Balkansky said. "It also proactively identifies physical servers which may be overprovisioned with virtual servers so that administrators can reclaim the virtual machines and reuse the capacity."
Also new for early next year is vCenter Config Control, which automatically discovers and maps the interdependencies between all the virtual artifacts, such as virtual servers, storage and networking components, Balkansky said.
In addition, vCenter Config Control lets administrators set the configuration standards and criteria for classes of virtual components, such as specifying that all virtual machines in a certain environment should be configured with a specific network switch, he said.
Both vCenter Capacity IQ and vCenter Config Control will join five other vSphere management modules already available, Balkansky said.
These include vCenter Appspeed for managing application performance in virtual environments, vCenter Chargeback for understanding virtual infrastructure costs and how to charge for specific users, vCenter Lifecycle Manager to automatically provision virtual servers, vCenter Site Recovery Manager for disaster recovery, and vCenter Lab Manager for use in test and development environments.
VMware is also introducing VMware Go, a service that allows for the remote servicing, installation and configuration of VMware ESXi.
VMware Go is targeted at helping small businesses get started quickly with server virtualization without investing heavily in developing the necessary skills, Balkansky said.
To use VMware Go, a small business can go to the VMware Web site, key in the IP address of the physical server, and a virtual server is automatically configured, Balkansky said. VMware Go also handles remote management and patches automatically.
VMware Go gives VMware the opportunity to work with solution providers to eventually bring such companies into more advanced products, Balkansky said.
"We're trying to increase the size of the virtualization pie," he said. "A rising tide lifts all boats. If we bring more customers in, it means opportunities for our partners. ... We already generate thousands of leads for partners with our ESXi, and pass them all to the channel. It will be the same with VMware Go."
VMware is also using VMworld to beef up its virtualization technology ecosystem with new relationships with key strategic partners.
One of them is Intel, which will start reselling vSphere 4 to its system builder and integrator partners, Balkansky said.
As a result, such channel partners will have similar virtualization opportunities to VMware's branded system partners such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Dell, he said.
"Intel has relationships with white-box server builders," he said. "And this is our first reseller relationship with Intel."
Doug Smith, senior director of worldwide channel sales, said vSphere 4 will be resold by Intel as an Intel SKU targeting that company's integration partners.
"The advantage of them working with Intel is that Intel has done some things in terms of how the product is packaged," Smith said. "For example, the media kit and activation code to activate the license will come in the server box."
VMware also now has relationships with the vendors of the major management frameworks including BMC, HP OpenView and IBM Tivoli, as well as with such management companies as Symantec, EMC and smaller companies and startups, Balkansky said.
On the channel side, VMware has been forging ahead with partner training for its vSphere 4 technology, Smith said.
The company already has trained about 16,000 people at 1,200 partner organizations on vSphere 4, and more than 60 percent of its premier partners have begun training to get their competencies on the technology, he said.