OEMs and VMware Launch Full Plug-and-Play Virtualization

VMware’s mission has always been to create ground-breaking software that truly transforms all facets of computing, and today we have announced another major milestone towards this mission. VMware announced agreements with the world’s largest systems providers – Dell, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, HP and IBM – to embed VMware ESX Server 3i across broad lines of servers to accelerate the proliferation of virtualization across companies ranging from small businesses to large enterprises. This program validates that VMware Infrastructure has become a critical enabler for transforming the modern datacenter. These partners are expected to commence shipping their respective industry-standard servers integrated with VMware ESX Server 3i within the next 60 days.

Simplifying virtualization

3i Major OEMs and VMware are working together to make this transformation as simple as possible. With ESX Server 3i integrated into servers, customers get the most proven, reliable, feature-rich, secure virtualization platform just by turning on the virtualization-enabled server. ESX Server 3i uses intelligent defaults so that new users can run their first virtual machines in minutes.

A hardware-centric philosophy

VMware has always believed that virtualization should be integrated into hardware, always there to enable the computing resources’ full power and capabilities. This hardware-centric philosophy differs from other virtualization vendors that think of it as just another feature in a traditional (and large) operating system. For this critical layer of your datacenter, you should absolutely expect and receive the rock-solid reliability, security, and performance that you are used to from hardware. Expectations of modern operating systems are, shall we say, lower.

Size matters

Key to this vision is the new architecture that ESX Server 3i introduces. This architecture provides all the performance and reliability features of ESX Server in a small, 32MB footprint. This is 1/50th the size of a typical Windows or Linux OS deployment! ESX Server 3i is the only hypervisor that does not depend on a large, general purpose operating system to function. This small footprint reduces the amount of code that can have bugs in it, streamlines performance, and minimizes the interfaces and code “surface area” that are the target of security attacks. It is this new architecture that makes us confident that ESX Server 3i will be the most reliable, highest performance, and most secure virtualization platform around.

More on reliability

While ESX Server 3i is a new architecture, it is built from exactly the same code that is in our existing ESX Server product line (which is completely compatible with ESX Server 3i). ESX Server has a rock solid, production-proven record and has been battle-tested in tens of thousands of deployments over the last seven years. It is this reliability that has helped encourage 85 percent of VMware’s customers run ESX Server in production, and 46 percent make VMware Infrastructure their default for new application deployments. Redmond Magazine recently ranked ESX Server first in reliability, ahead of the mainframe, saying that the code is “bomb proof.” This is a testament to the testing that the VMware engineering teams absolutely obsess over.

Less code, but more capabilities

ESX Server 3i is a component of the award-winning VMware Infrastructure suite. Even though it is such a small amount of code, it supports the suite’s full capabilities. VMware VMotion, VMware HA, and VMware DRS were first introduced in mid-2006 and have become necessary components for any large-scale deployment. These virtual infrastructure services are a requirement for providing availability to applications in the event of hardware failures, minimizing planned downtime for maintenance, and load balancing resources across an entire cluster of servers.

Recently, VMware added additional products to the suite to extend our lead, including VMware Update Manager for automated patching, VMware Storage VMotion for zero-downtime migration of virtual machine disks, and VMware Distributed Power Management (a feature of DRS) for minimizing hardware power consumption when application demands decrease.

Plug-and-Play virtualization

Even in its slim package, ESX Server 3i supports all of the above capabilities, enhancing their value in many cases. Think of this: when you’re buying hardware that has ESX Server 3i pre-installed, the notion of on-demand computing becomes a reality. You can now easily and transparently add computing capacity to an existing virtualization deployment just by plugging in a freshly purchased server and letting VMware DRS take over to migrate virtual machines onto that new server. This truly is the “plug and play” data center!

I hope this blog has helped explain the true impact of this announcement. It’s extremely exciting to experience this clear point in time when the industry shifts and the true power of virtualization is unleashed.