VMware announces ESX Server 3i for hardware appliances

With release of upcoming VMware Infrastructure 3.5, VMware will also introduce a new edition of its flagship product: ESX Server 3i.

virtualization.info broke the news one month ago, revealing VMware was working on this product side by side with Dell, IBM, HP and other OEMs, to ship it pre-installed on a small Solid State Drive (SDD).

Last week IBM was the first to announce support for this product, in the new System x3950 M2.

Today VMware finally confirms the existence of this new version:

VMware, Inc., the virtualization leader, today introduced VMware ESX Server 3i, the industry’s next generation thin hypervisor to be integrated in server hardware from Dell, Fujitsu, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, HP, IBM, NEC and others.

Based on VMware ESX Server which has set the standard for a production proven, stable and mature hypervisor, VMware ESX Server 3i is a “bare metal” hypervisor that partitions a physical server into multiple secure and portable virtual machines. Designed for optimal scalability and performance, VMware ESX Server 3i’s innovative new architecture also provides unmatched security, reliability and manageability in a compact, 32 MB package.

Hardware vendors are expected to begin shipping VMware ESX Server 3i within their products by the end of 2007 and over the course of 2008. In the future, VMware ESX Server 3i will also be available for download at www.vmware.com….

Rumors say that ESX Server 3i started from the personal work of a single VMware employee, who crafted and maintained a liveCD version of every new ESX Server release, until somebody probably tought it was a viable solution for real market.

VMware provided no informations about prices of this version but it’s suprising the company stated the new edition will be available for download from the website: initial informations revealed that ESX Server 3i installation and updated would be an OEMs exclusive.

XenSource, just acquired by Citrix, announced its own hypervisor OEM edition last week.