VMware to release SMB virtualization kits by year end

VMware Inc. said Monday it will release three software packages by the end of the year to help small and medium-size businesses take on virtualization projects.

The packages, which VMware calls "acceleration kits," are based on VMware Infrastructure 3, its virtualization suite for servers and storage networks. VMware, a subsidiary of EMC Corp., said between 60 to 70 percent of its customers are SMBs.

The packages offer varying levels of features depending on price. At the core of all three is either VMware's ESX Server or ESX Server 3i, a product released last month whose hypervisor is embedded in flash memory in the server hardware. The hypervisor enables multiple OSes to run on one machine.

VMware hopes the ESX Server 3i, which the company says has a small, 32M-byte footprint and is easy to use, will keep it ahead of competitors such as XenSource, which was bought by Citrix Systems Inc. in August for US$500 million, and Microsoft Corp.'s Viridian project. VMware holds more than 80 percent of the market for virtualization products.

Also in the acceleration kits are tools such as an Update Manager, which handles patch management, and Guided Consolidation, a tool to shift tasks from physical servers to virtual machines. The company published a full list of features of the three VMware acceleration kits on its Web site.

The cheapest kit, called Infrastructure 3 Foundation, is priced at US$2,995 for three two-processor licenses. The Infrastructure 3 Standard High Availability kit lists for $5,995, for two, two-processor nodes. The Infrastructure 3 Midsize Acceleration Kit accommodates three, two-processor nodes and sells for $14,495.

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