HP piles into server virtualization

By Manek Dubash, Techworld.com |  Storage

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) has announced new server management and virtualization products across its ProLiant and mid-range Integrity product ranges.

For ProLiants, it's delivering a package of software based on VMware technology. Essentials Virtualization Management (EVM) software allows sysadmins to migrate physical servers into virtual machines using VMware's ESX and GSX virtualization products. The software plugs into the company's Systems Insight Manager (SIM) 5.0 product, which allows management of ProLiant, Integrity, and HP 9000 servers as well as its BladeSystems and storage ranges. SIM is bundled with the hardware.

EVM consists of two packs, the Virtual Machine Management pack (VMMP) and Server Migration pack (SMP), both of which are designed to manage x86-based machines.

The VMMP allows you to manage virtual machines and ProLiant server resources. According to UK ProLiant product manager Phil MacLean: "It helps you run the same VM on two separate machines, so you can move the VM easily from one to the other. It works through VMware's VMotion, which is part of the bundle, and means you don't have to buy VMotion separately. You also don't need a similar configuration on the two servers."

The SMP consists of a wizard that automates the process of converting a physical machine to VM and vice versa, said MacLean. Unusually, it also allows migration from one type of virtual machine to another - for instance, allowing you to move from a VMware VM to a Microsoft VM and vice versa. MacLean said that "both capabilities are unique. It's the first end-user tool that can do this." He said that gaining access to this feature would normally involve paying VMware for its P2V service.

The bundle also includes VMware's ESX Server, its Virtual Infrastructure Node for resource management -- and which itself incorporates VMotion, SMP and VirtualCenter agents -- and VMware GSX Server for server consolidation, disaster recovery and streamlining software development processes.

The announcement sounds not a million miles from IBM's announcement in May that it would bundle an evaluation version of VMware's ESX Server product with a six-month timeout with its blade servers. However, IBM also supports the development of Xen, an open source equivalent of VMware's products that could challenge the EMC subsidiary's current dominance of the virtualization market.

Integrity range

HP's mid-range Integrity and 9000 series servers also get improved virtualization support in the form of Integrity Essentials software. Also working as a SIM plug-in, the new software will eventually manage all OSes, although HP has prioritized HP-UX, with Windows and Linux support arriving next year.

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