Windows IT Pro UPDATE--Again, VMware Advances its Virtualization Arsenal

In This Issue * Again, VMware Advances its Virtualization Arsenal * Exclusive: Here Comes Windows Vista RC2 * FAQ: How do I use the Windows Vista Sidebar? * Monitor Your Network and Bandwidth Usage



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***Commentary: Again, VMware Advances its Virtualization Arsenal
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected]

On Monday, VMware introduced two important new virtualization products, VMware Infrastructure 3.01 and VMware Connector 3. These products do much to advance VMware's corporate goals of making virtualization more pervasive and mainstream, while rounding out its virtualization offerings. If you're still on the fence about which virtualization platform to adopt--Microsoft's or VMWare's--they could help you make the decision.

VMware Infrastructure 3.01, as its name suggests, is an updated version of the VMware Infrastructure 3 product that VMware first shipped back in June. This product allows enterprises to manage their virtual machine (VM) infrastructure from a central location while separating the hardware and software allocation pools to better use existing resources. From a product standpoint, VMware Infrastructure 3.01 comprises new versions of ESX Server (3.0.1) and VMware VirtualCenter (2.0.1).

So what's new in VMware Infrastructure 3.01? First, VMware provides complete and unqualified support for 64-bit systems, including Windows Server, Red Hat and SuSE Linux, and Sun Microsystems Solaris. (VMware Infrastructure 3 provided only "experimental" support for 64-bit platforms.) What this means is that customers can now run 32-bit and 64-bit virtualized workloads on the same 64-bit hardware, side by side. This is big news for companies that want to begin porting over applications to 64-bit but need to do testing first.

Additionally, VMware Infrastructure 3.01 includes an amazing migration feature that will allow customers to migrate from ESX Server 2.x to ESX Server 3.0 in place and nondestructively, with no downtime. There are two steps to this migration: First, you move VMs to an ESX Server 3.0 installation and run them alongside any existing ESX 3.0-based VMs you have. To upgrade the virtual hardware to better support ESX 3.0, however, you'll need to perform a single reboot. But you can schedule that for the most optimal time, according to your needs.

Finally, VMware is beginning the long process of localizing its software for other markets as well. Starting with VMware Infrastructure 3.01, the company is providing software versions localized for the Japanese and German markets. VMware intends to add other markets over time, I'm told.

VMware Infrastructure 3.01 is a free upgrade for any customers currently enrolled in support and subscription contracts. VMware tells me that most of its customers are therefore covered.

The second announcement involves a new generation of VMware Converter. This physical to virtual (P2V) and virtual to virtual (V2V) solution allows users to take existing server setups--be they physical or virtual machines--and convert them to new virtual machines. New to this version is the ability to convert a live, running machine without bringing it down as was required with the previous version.

Currently in public beta, VMware Converter 3 is an exciting product. It allows businesses to test production workloads in virtual environments to ensure they can get the performance they need, and it's an excellent way to experiment with new workloads. What's even more exciting is the cost: VMware Converter 3 is free. VMware is making two versions of this tool available beginning today, a version that anyone can download from the Web site, which is limited to performing single machine conversions at a time, and an enterprise-class version that customers can get via their support and subscription contracts.

I should note a few limitations: VMware Converter 3 is available only on Windows and is 32-bit only at this point. However, given the product's focus--typically converting legacy machines to virtual environments--these limitations shouldn't be a huge issue for most businesses. VMware Converter joins the stable of VMware's other free tools, including VMware Server and VMware Player.

Also...Microsoft System Center Essentials 2007
I'm out of space, but I should at least mention that Microsoft this week shipped a public beta version of its upcoming System Center Essentials 2007 product, which is aimed at supplying centralized management functionality for mid-sized businesses (i.e., those companies too big for Small Business Server--SBS--but too small for Microsoft's full-blown enterprise management products). System Center Essentials looks interesting, but you can find out more at the Microsoft Web site.


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***From Windows IT Pro Exclusive: Here Comes Windows Vista RC2
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft has announced that this Friday it will ship the final prerelease version of Windows Vista. Find out more at the following URL:

***From the Community FAQ: How do I use the Windows Vista Sidebar? Learn more about this new Vista tool and its handy gadgets. ------ Have a question? Got answers? Join your peers in the Windows IT discussion forums:
Current Threads:
How do I Modify Password Complexity Requirements?
Microsoft ISA Server
NAS data replication

------ The voting has closed in Windows IT Pro's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "How much time do you spend on application-development activities?" Here are the results from the 223 votes:

- 10% Almost all of my time
- 13% About 75% of my time
- 22% About 50% of my time
- 56% Little or none

(Deviations from 100 percent are due to rounding error.)

------ Tell us what you think in this month's Instant Poll: "Do you blog?" Visit and select a) Yes, I have a work-related blog and a personal blog, b) Yes, I have a work-related blog, c) Yes, I have a personal blog, or d) No, I don't blog.

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***New and Improved
by Blake Eno, [email protected]

Monitor Your Network and Bandwidth Usage
Paessler AG announced PRTG Traffic Grapher 6, a network-monitoring and bandwidth-usage solution. PRTG features an improved UI that helps you manage networks of any size, from small LANs to large installations with thousands of sensors. Sensors can now be associated with tags to categorize items in multiple views, which can then be filtered according to these tags for easier navigation. PRTG's Event Manager keeps track of events such as error messages and notifications for each sensor. Additional improvements include the ability to pause sensors and notifications based on day-of-week and hour-of-day. PRTG's Packet Sniffer now supports 32-bit as well as 64-bit OSs. For more information, contact Paessler AG.

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Learn from industry expert Michael Otey about different approaches to server consolidation and how to stop server sprawl by using consolidation and virtualization. Find out how to run legacy OSs, Linux, and Windows together and more using virtualization. You'll even get step-by-step instructions on building a virtual machine for Windows Server 2003. Live Event: Wednesday, October 18


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