VMware brings virtualization to white box makers

VMware (NYSE: VMW) on Monday was expected to kick off its annual user conference in San Francisco by announcing an OEM agreement with Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) that would bring its virtualization technology to system builders.

The deal means Intel, which supplies the chips that run in many virtualized servers, will be reselling the company’s vSphere platform through its reseller channel and system integrator partners. VMware released version 4 of vSPhere in May, and claims more than 350,000 customers have downloaded it since then.

“Our vision is to expand market presence,” Bogomil Balansky, VMware’s senior director of product marketing, told CDN. “HP, Dell and IBM have substantial market share already. But there are all of these so-called white box manufacturers who, apart from brand-name server builders, buy components from Intel and other vendors. The Intel OEM agreement gives us a vehicle to allow white box manufacturers to resell VSphere the way the branded server vendors can do.”

Balansky said that vSphere is offering customers 30 per cent higher consolidation ratios in IT infrastructure, eliminating a lot of clustering and fault-tolerant hardware.

“It’s not like VMware has invented availability as a discipline, but now we allow customers to do it a lot simpler and a lot cheaper,” he said.

VMware will also use VMworld to showcase its vCenter suite of management products, as well as VMware Go, a tool designed to help small and medium-sized business customers more easily deploy the ESXi hypervisor onto x86 machines.

VMware has positioned vSphere as an “operating system for the cloud” – both the external cloud services and internal converged utility infrastructures which are sometimes called private clouds. John Sloan, an analyst with London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group, said he’s going to VMworld hoping to see some development on this front from other vendors.

“For these internal private clouds I like to use the metaphor of a birthday cake where the cake layers are storage, 10gig E, and servers, usually blades,” he said. “Virtualization is the icing that ties it all together and makes it a cake. So we have seen how vSphere is supposed to do this and we have examples such as Cisco’s Unified Compute Platform and HP blade matrix. How are others relating? I’ll be looking at the server, storage, and switch vendors.”

Balansky said VMworld would see announcements of support from several vendor partners, including BMC, HP, CA, Symantec and CA, about some of its moves in virtualization management. He also said its investments in its reseller channelare paying off as expected.

“We rolled out major enhancements to our partner program back in April and we are stating the momentum in our partner ecosystems,” he said, adding that white box makers would be subject to Intel’s VAR program under the terms of its OEM agreement.

VMware is expecting more than 10,000 people to attend VMworld this week.

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