VMware scored major partnership deals with Dell, Fujitsu-Siemens Computers, Hewlett-Packard and IBM in which the industry heavy hitters agreed to embed VMware ESX 3i software in the companies' servers, the company said Tuesday at the VMworld Europe conference.
VMWare is also currently in discussions with Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun Microsystems, according to John Gilmartin, senior manager, product marketing.
The ESX Server 3i is a smaller version of the Palo, Alto-based company's ESX Server virtualization software which was shrunk so that it could be embedded in servers. The ESX 3i has all the functionality of ESX Server, but can fit in 32 Mbytes of memory instead of the previous 2 Gbytes in order to let it be embedded on server motherboards, said Bogomil Balkansky, senior director of product marketing at VMware.
In addition, customers who purchase servers from Round Rock, Texas-based Dell; Maarssen, Netherlands-based Fujitsu Siemens Computers; Palo Alto, Calif. "based HP; and Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM that use the embedded VMware ESX 3i hypervisor also have access to an evaluation of the VI3 suite, which provides a fully managed virtual datacenter, the company said. Partners are expected to begin shipping servers embedded with the VMware ESX 3i hypervisor within the next 60 days.
The VMware ESX 3i hypervisor is the industry's smallest hypervisor (32MB), the company said, enabling high levels of security and reliability, and is the only OS-independent virtualization platform. The company also said that VMware ESX 3i provides single-server consolidation with fast deployment, and is the first virtual machine that can operate within minutes of booting a server with pre-configured and optimized hardware configurations.
Customers can upgrade from VMware ESX 3i hypervisor to VMware's datacenter virtualization and management suite, VMware Infrastructure 3 (VI3). VI3 provides the capability for automatic load balancing, business continuity and power management and the ability to move a virtual machine across physical machines to minimize service interruption. VI3 is also compatible with VMware's desktop virtualization and management solutions.
"From a channel partner perspective, you can go and sell additional software functionality but also sell a lot of the services and design work that goes along with that, things like helping customers design their storage infrastructure, network infrastructure, and help them think about how they're going to implement VMware inside that company's environment," said Gilmartin.
Chris Pyle, president and CEO at Champion Solutions Group in Boca Raton, Fla., a premiere solution provider of IBM products and a VIP partner with VMware, said that Champion's VMware sales are growing fast, due in large part to the strong return on investment (ROI).
Pyle believes that there are a lot of opportunities for the VAR community in virtualization.
"I think it's going to be like the wild, wild West," Pyle said. "All of a sudden this stuff is going to be shipping on all these servers; there are opportunities the customer is going to have with all these virtual machines."
With those opportunities Pyle said that the real question is in trying to manage everything.
"Now it's moving from a physical expense since virtualization can reduce the amount of physical servers used," he said. "Now you have to start talking about how to operationally manage these, and I think the smart partners are the ones who are going to be talking about how does the business operationally manage the virtual environment?"
Pyle also said it's important that VARs figure out a methodology that embraces the virtualization environment and determining how best to approach a customer.
"We all know it's not just about the server, it's about the network, it's about storage," he said."I think the channels have got to understand what the service offerings are and how am I going to service my customers and help them embrace this technology?"
"Especially with this economic uncertainty out there, people are looking for ways to reduce costs and improve productivity," Pyle said. "I think this is really going to open up and provide opportunities because anytime there's a big change, something that's a change agent like virtualization, there's an opportunity for all VARs to figure out how to take advantage of it, turn into money for us and our clients."
The ESX Server 3i by itself as a standalone product has a suggested list price of $495, but it's also available as one of the components of our VMware infrastructure suite, which comes in three editions: foundation, standard and enterprise.
The news is a follow-up to VMware's strategy that the company disclosed in September 2007.
Joseph F. Kovar contributed to this article.