Just when it seemed there wasn't any more ground for VMware to cover, the virtualization software vendor found new territory: the hosting market.
On Wednesday, VMware unveiled a new offering tailored to hosting providers' needs. The VMware Service Provider Program (VSPP), enables hosting providers (a marker into which VMware lumps Web hosting services, telecommunications companies and outsourcing businesses) to deploy VMware Infrastructure and resell it to customers as utility computing services to which they can add or reduce computing capacity as needed.
"This makes utility computing a reality for many hosters," Bogomil Balkansky, senior director of product marketing for VMware, told ServerWatch.
Until now, hosting providers wishing to use VMware Infrastructure were confined to a traditional enterprise model. VSPP, in contrast, is a licensing program whereby the hosting provider pays VMware per virtual machine (VM), per month and in turn makes the virtualization capabilities available to customers.
The hosting provider has the option of licensing the Enterprise or Starter of edition of VMware Infrastructure 3. Not surprisingly, Balkansky anticipates Enterprise being the more popular option.
The hosting provider then rents out the virtual server to the end customer, which will have an operating system, applications and any other components desired at its disposal.
Hosting providers can establish VMs on the fly, hence the utility computing angle, and VMware will bill monthly based on the average number of VMs deployed. The hosting provider then bills its customers by CPU, VM or however else it sees fit, Balkansky said.
VMware is also hoping to leverage its virtualization kingpin reputation, similar to how Intel did with its "Intel Inside" campaign. It will offer hosting provider customers the option of displaying a powered-by-VMware type logo, Balkansky said.
VMware currently claims more than 20 hosting providers as customers, Balkansky said. The Top-20 hosting providers account for 65 percent of the market and two-thirds of them are VMware customers, he added. They include Data Return, Rackspace and Mosso.
The remaining 35 percent of hosting providers offer a "very, very long tail," Balkansky said. This is a tail VMware is not terribly interested in, as their "efforts are concentrated on the larger apps."
The hosting provider space may be new territory for VMware, but others have explored it before. SWsoft, for example, has a long history there. It approaches virtualization differently from VMware, partitioning at the operating system level, rather than below it.
Balkansky believes this makes VSPP a more secure solution. VMs don't share an operating system, nor are they static, as Virtuozzo virtual servers are. "[They] don't have any attributes that give hosters added benefits over a dedicated server," Balkansky said.
HP Bolsters Virtual Offerings
HP also had some virtualization news to share this week. On Wednesday, it announced virtualization enhancements to its software, along with several service offerings and a partner program. All are designed expedite the virtualization adoption process.
Enhancements have been made to the HP Virtual Server Environment (VSE) for HP Integrity servers. Virtual servers can now be expanded on contracted based on business needs.
Enterprises that relay on HP Integrity Essentials Capacity Advisor can now use the tool to plan their consolidations from Sun servers. Collected data can be imported into the HP Performance Agent. The tool also offers new trending capabilities that lets customers simulate future usage patterns when planning consolidations for HP-UX, Windows and Linux.
Further enhancements were made to HP VSE for HP-UX with the addition of HP Integrity Essentials Virtualization Manager, HP Integrity Essentials Global Workload Manager, and HP Global Instant Capacity.
Finally, HP announced a new release of HP Serviceguard, which now offers high availability to Linux-based applications running in VMware VMs on ProLiant or Integrity servers, as well as the HP Partner Virtualization Program for ISVs, where participating ISVs can now build and verify applications in a secure virtualized environment and choose from a broad selection of virtualization technologies, platforms and guest operating systems.