VMware has a major update planned for the end of the year.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based virtualization software company on Monday announced updates to its mainstay VMware Infrastructure software, including VMware ESX Server 3.5 and VirtualCenter 2.5. Set to be available sometime "later this year" the software will include new features VMware said will make life much easier for datacenters managers.
As companies struggle to find new ways to cut datacenter costs and reduce energy consumption, virtualization software providers like VMware, Virtual Iron and XenSource, acquired in August for $500 million by Citrix Systems, provide an intriguing alternative to the space-hogging, floor-to-ceiling server racks found in most datacenters.
Virtualization software enables IT managers to cram multiple computing environments onto one computer, allowing one physical server to perform the function of multiple servers.
According to Bogomil Balkansky, VMware's senior director of product marketing, its latest iteration takes virtualization to the next level by simplifying the process of moving data from one storage array to another in the datacenter.
"For the past four years, VMotion has been the lynchpin or cornerstone of our software," he said in an interview with InternetNews.com. "It migrates live, running virtual machines from one physical machine to another giving users degrees of flexibility they've never had before. Now we're doing the same thing for storage."
The new release adds Storage VMotion, which Balkansky said will do the exact same thing for storage arrays, allowing datacenter managers to seamlessly transfer data from one storage array to a new storage array, and eliminate the planned downtime that companies have to deal with every time they return a leased array or replace it with a new one. More important, it means all applications and operating systems will continue to update and store data throughout the process, ensuring none of the data is lost whether you make a storage transfer at 2 a.m. Saturday or 9 a.m. on Monday.
"The planned downtime for this used to be several hours," he said. "Sometimes it would be done in phases over a couple of weeks. Now it can be done in 20 minutes in most cases."
Storage VMotion will let administrators dynamically balance their storage workloads and resolve performance bottlenecks by migrating their virtual machines to the best available storage devices.
Update Manager, another new feature, will automate patch and update management for all the ESX server hosts and virtual machines in your datacenter.
"Patching is always a big headache for IT departments," Balkansky said. "Nobody wants to do them but you have to."
VMware will announce pricing particulars "before December 31" when it makes the new version available to customers.
Since it's spectacular initial public offering in August, VMware shares have continued their ascent, closing at $91.13 a share in Friday trading.
In May, Gartner reported more than 500,000 virtual machines were already online and it predicts that figure to grow to more than 3 million machines by 2009.
This article was first published on InternetNews.com.