New VMware ESX Server Manages Virtual Environments

Oct 08, 2007

Virtualization specialist VMware recently launched ESX Server 3.5, a management solution for virtual environments. ESX Server 3i is a 32MB light version.

Simple virtualization of individual machines is no longer the major concern; and infrastructure mechanisms that give administrators the ability to back up virtual machines, or migrate virtual machines between hosts, are no longer sufficient. Instead the focus is turning to managing virtual environments, and the recent ESX Server 3.5 release by market leader VMWare follows this trend.

The many functions that improve handling and availability, and automate routine tasks, include Distributed Power Management, a function that distributes virtual machines (VMs) within a VMware cluster to give administrators the ability to power off hosts with low usage levels after moving the VMs to another place. This saves power and helps the environment in line with the current Green IT campaigns. As load increases, the hosts are powered back on without the users noticing.

The update management feature for both >VMware hosts and VMs is also new. It also relies on infrastructure layer capabilities to clear hosts prior to patching, and to provide a snapshot-based rollback option for VMs. In addition to the familiar Vmotion technology for VMs, Storage Motion has been added to move disk images, rather than virtual machines, between storage systems on the fly, thus supporting I/O load balancing.

Large data centers that are distributed over multiple sites for security reasons can use the new Site Recovery Manager to migrate all VMs to a backup data center in case of disaster. Availability is further enhanced by new monitoring components (Enhanced HA).

VMware has also released a lean version of the product known as ESX Server 3i besides the ESX Server update. Weighing in at just 32MB, it can reside in Flash ROM or on a memory stick to support diskless, zero-installation, zero-maintenance virtualization servers, which many manufacturers are working on according to reports. Dell is expected to release a product this year with the aim of both removing barriers for newcomers to virtualization, and giving data centers an easy option for expanding capacities.

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