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New VMware products, services target small, medium businesses at VMworld

VMware promises products tailored to organizations with limited resources

By , Network World
August 23, 2012 05:39 PM ET

Network World - Businesses with less than 1,000 employees get special attention next week at VMware's VMworld conference in San Francisco where it will introduce products and partnerships to make virtualization friendlier to firms with limited resources.

Those organizations lack the budget, staff and expertise of larger enterprises, says Russ Stockdale, VP and general manager of small and midsize business at VMware, which means they need products that streamline deployment and management of the technology, and do so economically, using skills that may be available in-house.

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He says that SMBs tend to be pragmatic in their purchases because of their resource restrictions, but once they are convinced that virtualization can help, they jump in more fully than larger businesses that might pick and choose where they deploy the technology.

While VMware itself is tight-lipped about what it is announcing Monday, some vendors who are exhibiting at the conference indicate what might be in store.

Startup Simplivity is showing off its recently announced data-center-in-a-box technology called OmniCube for SMBs, and a competitor called Scale Computing is expected to launch its similar product called HC3 that is aimed at smaller businesses.

These companies are starting with a clean slate and piecing together hardware and software in a way that better integrates the storage, virtualization and networking pieces of data centers. Alliances of vendors such as the VCE partnership of VMware, Cisco and EMC; HP and VMware; NetApp and VMware; and IBM PureFlex Systems all pull together the same elements. This makes it simpler to deploy, but doesn't streamline the infrastructure itself.

That's where Simplivity comes in with a single device that includes all or part of the features of WAN optimizers, primary storage devices, backup storage devices, and disaster recovery infrastructure. The company says its gear cuts the cost of data-center infrastructure by a half to two-thirds.

OmniCube supports solid-state drives and flash memory. It can be paired to support high availability.

Details about backup scheduling and where copies of data are kept are set per virtual machine by the virtual machine admin. All data is deduplicated and compressed before it is stored in an OmniCube, conserving storage space and maintaining the data in a form that lends itself to efficient transport over networks.

Scale Computing has already talked about its HC3 devices, but may announce when they are available during VMworld. The company's product differs from Simplivity's in that it shoots for smaller-size customers, and will have a lower starting price by virtue of using KVM for Linux rather than licensing virtualization technology from VMware, says Scale's director of channel and public relations Heidi Monroe Kroft.

Both companies represent what the Taneja Group calls hyper-convergence. In fact that's what the HC stands for in Scales's HC3 product name, Monroe Kroft says. "They've morphed the lines between compute, storage, networking and data protection," says Arun Taneja, founder of the group.

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