VMware opens up its key beta programs: ESX Server 2.5 and Virtual Center 1.2

Quoting from official announcement:


Dear VMware Community Member,

VMware invites you to participate in the beta program for VMware ESX Server, version 2.5 and VirtualCenter version 1.2. As members of the VMware Community, your feedback would be greatly appreciated.

How to participate in the betas
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To request license keys for VMware ESX Server 2.5 and VirtualCenter 1.2 beta, please send an e-mail to VIBetaRequest@vmware.com. You will receive a reply with the beta keys and a download link.

What’s New in ESX Server 2.5:
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ESX Server 2.5 improves upon ESX Server 2.1.x, and will include the following:

– Boot from SAN
o ESX Server can now run on diskless servers by booting off of a disk on the SAN. This greatly enhances support for common blade and rack mount configurations.

– Support for additional storage and server hardware

– Improved support for raw LUNs as virtual disks using Raw Disk Maps (RDMs) and pass-through RDMs
o Allows raw disks to be managed as easily as virtual disk files
o Pass-through RDMs enable SAN replication software to run inside of virtual machines
o Pass-through RDMs enable backup offloading solutions so that ESX Servers can be backed up faster without any load placed on the virtual machines or the on Service Console
o Allows REDO logs to be added to raw disks

– Enhanced support for scripted installations
o Allows 3rd party systems management products to remotely install and configure ESX Servers

– Improved Support for Clustered virtual machines
o MSCS in virtual machines using shared disk more reliable

– Additional support for DR backups or virtual disks
o Virtual disk snapshot scripts added to the Service Console to enable crash consistent backups of entire virtual machines

What’s New in VirtualCenter 1.2:
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VirtualCenter 1.2 is intended as a minor, maintenance release to improve upon VirtualCenter 1.1.1, and will include the following:

* Additional support for upcoming ESX 2.5 release
* Improved support for use of raw LUNs as virtual disks
* Enhanced reporting and data export capabilities
* New features in the Web Services SDK
* Extra logging for security auditing
* Additional performance improvements
* Updated SNMP support
* Resolved issues & bug fixes
* Documentation updates

Release Notes, Reviewer’s Guide & Documentation
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Release notes for the ESX Server 2.5 Beta release can be accessed via:

URL: http://www.vmware.com/releasenotes_esxbeta
Username: esxbeta
Password: atherton

A beta reviewer’s guide, release notes, and a revised users manual for VirtualCenter can be accessed via the following:

URL: http://www.vmware.com/support/vc12/
Username: vc12beta
Password: makalu

Please review the VirtualCenter 1.2 Beta Reviewer’s guide prior to installing the software. It contains an overview of the new features, issues resolved, and highlights documentation updates.

We will periodically update the support site with new information.

How to Provide Feedback
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Please feel free to e-mail esx25beta@vmware.com at any point throughout the beta program with questions, issues, or ideas for improvement regarding ESX Server 2.5 beta and VirtualCenter-Beta@vmware.com for similar comments on the VirtualCenter 1.2 beta – your comments will be received and seriously considered by our developers and product managers.

Beta Support:
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You will be entitled to basic Beta support as a part of this program. Beta support does not guarantee responses to SRs, but all requests are directed to the Development and Product Management teams for consideration.

To file an SR, please visit:
http://www.vmware.com/support/.

You may need to register for entitlement using the beta Serial Keys provided to you when you request the beta.

Thank you for your participation, we hope you have a positive experience using the ESX 2.5 and VirtualCenter 1.2 beta release.

Best Regards,
The VMware Team