What to expect at VMworld: ESX 4.0 beta, Intel six-core CPUs, and maybe Cisco virtual switches

This year the VMworld US conference broken all records for a virtualization conference: 14,000 delegates.

In front of them the new CEO Paul Maritz may have a hard time explaining why the company co-founder and Chief Scientist, Mendel Rosenblum, resigned or why the Executive Vice President of R&D returned to Oracle after less than one year or why ESX 3.5 Update 2 was mistakenly timebombed.

But Maritz may have something serious to distract the audience: ESX 4.0.

The product is currently in private beta and just a small, selected list of testers can access it.
Nonetheless virtualization.info has a partial list of the new, remarkable features included in the first beta build:

  • 64bit kernel and console operating system (COS)
  • clustered VirtualCenter Servers
  • ESX hosts profile management
  • cross-hosts virtual networking
  • 8-way virtual SMP
  • virtual machines fault tolerance across multiple hosts (the famous Continuous Availability presented last year)
  • VMs and media library
  • alarms on physical hardware faults
  • access control on storage resources
  • configuration change tracking
  • full support for SATA local storage

We were informed that this is just a small list. And it seems already enough to keep the whole audience engaged for the entire event.


To help VMware in reducing to silence the rumor generated by Microsoft and its partners with the Monday launch of Hyper-V 1.0, Intel is expected to announce its six-core CPU, codename Dunnington (Xeon 7400), supported by the new ESX.

The new 45nm CPU will have a monolithic design and a much bigger cache (3MB Level 2 and a shared 16MB Level 3) to boost performance, Intel says close to 50% increase, and serve more virtual machines at the same time.

Last but not least, Cisco may have something really big to say to close any discussion. 
(please note that his last point is totally unconfirmed at the moment)

Over one year ago, in time for the the VMworld 2007, virtualization.info published an article about the upcoming release of 3rd parties virtual switches for VMware ESX.
Following the rumors from trusted sources, it seemed perfectly logical that Cisco would be interested in releasing a virtual version of its Catalyst that customers could plug into ESX to enhance the limited networking capabilities that VMware offers today.

So far nor Cisco neither other networking vendors ever released such virtual equipment, but just two days ago an interesting comment appeared on our one-year-old post:

Will be announced on sept 16th. It will run NX class software and will offer cross host virtualization. 

It may be just a rumor or a prediction but Cisco actually has a keynote scheduled for Sep. 16, and in the last period it acted in a pretty strange way.

We’d suggest to keep an eye open on them while at VMworld.