VMware Releases New Version of GSX Server, Partners With Unisys

by Amy Newman

VMware Monday released version 2.5 of its GSX Server virtual machine software. This major point release was issued in response to a shift in the demographics of GSX's installed base. At the same time, Unisys unveiled a version of GSX Server v2.5 optimized for the ES7000 product line.

VMware Monday released version 2.5 of its GSX Server virtual machine software.

GSX Server is based on VMware's patented virtual machine technology, which enables organizations to run multiple concurrent instances of several operating systems and associated applications on a single Intel-based box. Each instance is fully isolated and can be started, stopped, resumed, and restored on any system running the software.

Described as a "significant point release" by GSX Product Manager Eric Horschman, GSX Server v2.5 enhances and speeds up the major changes introduced in version 2.0.

Horschman told ServerWatch that the changes implemented in v2.5 are in response to a "shift in GSX's customer base." Increasingly, the virtual server solution is being used for consolidating production servers, whereas in the past it was used primarily to consolidate developer environments.

Performance and manageability enhancements in GSX Server v2.5 include: support for up to 64 GB of host memory (up from 8 GB in v2.0), support for up to 32 host processors (certified with Unisys), support for up to 64 powered-on virtual machines (an increase from 16 in v2.0), and a redesigned user interface.

According to Horschman, the typical GSX v2.0 deployment saves an enterprise 40 percent in hardware and 75 percent in operation costs. Much of this savings is achieved through higher server utilization rates, which when tested on a Unisys server ranged from 50 percent to 80 percent. Average server utilization rates are 20 percent, Horschman said.

Unisys to Offer GSX Server for Its ES7000 Line

Unisys jumped on the GSX bandwagon Monday when it announced a version of GSX Server v2.5 optimized for the Unisys Enterprise Server ES7000 product line is now available.

Under the terms of the agreement, Unisys will provide support for VMware GSX Server and support for Microsoft Windows operating systems running in VMware virtual machines.

"VMware GSX Server adds one more piece to our strong consolidation offerings," said Wayne Carpenter, director, Unisys Server Consolidation Program. "VMware GSX server provides our experienced infrastructure architects with additional consolidation options that complement our extensive services offering, comprehensive system management and versatile technology."

Jeff Vail, marketing manager for consolidated solutions at Unisys told ServerWatch that organizations deploying GSX Server on an ES7000 server will have an added level of granularity, as they will be able to set up soft partitions within hardware partitions of the server.

This is Unisys' first agreement with a virtual server vendor. Vail said that GSX server was selected because it is "an excellent complement to Unisys' consolidated offerings."

VMware, on the other hand, has formed partnerships with many of the other major Intel hardware vendors: Dell, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, NEC, and Stratus.

VMware is also laying claim to being used by more than 80 percent of Fortune 100 companies. VMware server products are installed in 1,500 companies including Chevron, Circuit City, Cisco, FedEx, Guardian Life of America, Lockheed Martin, Merck, Merrill Lynch, Pfizer, Praxair, PrudentialFinancial, Saks, T. Rowe Price, and Welch Foods.

GSX Server v2.5 supports Windows 2000 Service Pack 3, Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, Windows XP Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2003 (all editions). It also supports the latest Linux operating systems, including Red Hat Linux Advanced Server 2.1 and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8, as well as Novell NetWare 4, 5, and 6 guest operating systems. Horschman noted that this is the first VMware virtual machine release to support NetWare

GSX Server v2.5 is available immediately from the VMware Store. Pricing starts at $3,025 for a two-processor systems and $6,050 for a four-processor system; 12 months of product maintenance and support are included with each server.

A full-featured trial version of GSX v2.5 is also available.

This article was originally published on Monday Feb 3rd 2003
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