VMware launches VMware Control Center

Virtual machine software maker VMware Inc. on Monday announced new software designed to let administrators move applications from one computer to another without any interruption of service.

The software, called VMotion, will help make utility computing, in which customers pay only for the processing power their applications use, "pretty tangible for the first time," said VMware Senior Director of Product Management Michael Mullany. "We can now move an application while it's running from one physical system to another without interrupting what the user sees," he said.

VMotion will be sold as an add-on to another new product, called VMware Control Center, which VMware also announced on Monday.

Control Center, which is now being beta-tested by a select few VMware customers, lets users manage and provision VMware virtual machines. It includes security and performance management software as well as virtual machine templates that let users quickly set up new servers on VMware's virtual machines.

The VMotion software is unique, said Forrester Research Inc. analyst Galen Schreck. "It allows you to do a lot more flexible workload management across distributed systems," he said. "You can pile up a whole bunch of basically inactive applications on one machine, and if demand increases (on one application) you an move it to dedicated hardware."

Control Center will be most useful for users with "sizeable" VMware environments, Shreck said. "It's directed at somebody who wants to run dozens of virtual machines," he explained.

Schreck expects Microsoft Corp. to soon offer similar software, based on technology it acquired in its February 2003 purchase of Connectix Corp., but he believes that, for now, VMware has the technological lead. "Microsoft is going to come out with something by the end of the year as well, but we anticipate that it's not going to be as advanced as VMware," he said.

VMware has not yet decided on pricing for the Control Center or VMotion, but the company expects the products to ship in the fourth quarter.

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