Quoting from official announcement:
VMware, Inc., the global leader in virtual infrastructure software for industry-standard systems, today announced the general availability of the latest versions of VMware ESX Server, VMware VirtualCenter and VMware Virtual Infrastructure SDK. The new features of ESX Server 2.5 and VirtualCenter 1.2 extend the role of virtual infrastructure in the enterprise to integrate more fully with storage and other computing resources, as well as provide additional disaster recovery and blade server support. VirtualCenter 1.2 includes the latest release of the VMware Virtual Infrastructure SDK, which provides a rich standards-based Web Services API for close integration with third-party management software.
Virtual infrastructure is the basis for flexible, scalable and low cost enterprise IT. It decouples application workloads completely from underlying physical hardware. This allows hardware-independent applications to be deployed across a pool of physical servers to improve hardware utilization and management flexibility. The key building block of virtual infrastructure is a platform that abstracts the physical resources of an industry-standard server to provide a set of virtual resources to an application. VMware ESX Server provides that virtualization platform and VMware VirtualCenter manages farms of ESX Servers. VMware VMotion permits the migration of running applications across this pool of virtual resources without service interruption.
“Virtual infrastructure innovation has moved far beyond simple server consolidation to a new level of technological sophistication. For customers, these new releases translate to streamlined, optimized enterprise IT and a powerful way to connect IT to business needs,” said Michael Mullany, vice president of marketing at VMware. “By continuing to deliver features such as SAN transparency which allows customers to adopt virtual infrastructure while leveraging existing SAN management capabilities, VMware continues to raise the bar for enterprise-class virtualization.”
Industry Leading Virtual Infrastructure Platform for the Enterprise
Adopted by thousands of IT organizations worldwide over the last three years, VMware ESX Server is the industry leading virtual infrastructure platform for the enterprise. ESX Server speeds service deployments and adds management flexibility by partitioning industry-standard servers into a pool of secure, portable and hardware-independent virtual machines. Customers using ESX Server reduce total cost of ownership by increasing server utilization and simplifying system administration. The unique bare-metal architecture of ESX Server offers market leading reliability, performance, Virtual SMP support and scalability.
New features in VMware ESX Server 2.5 include:
– Boot from SAN. ESX Server runs virtual machines on diskless servers and blades by booting the ESX Server kernel directly from a SAN.
– SAN transparency. ESX Server enables native SAN access from within virtual machines. Guest operating systems can now directly access extended SAN functionality as if they were running directly on the physical hardware. Users can run SAN backup and replication software that depends on native access inside virtual machines or offload file-level backups to SAN-based utilities.
– Automated ESX Server installation. Users can use scripts to speed deployment of multi-server installations and integrate with third-party provisioning products from Altiris, HP, IBM and LANDesk.
– Expanded ESX Server hardware support. ESX Server has been tested with and fully supports industry leading rack and blade servers from Dell, HP and IBM, using AMD and Intel processors.
– Expanded ESX Server guest operating system support. ESX Server adds full support for FreeBSD 4.9, Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 and SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server 9.
– Common Information Model (CIM) API and object model. The VMware CIM SDK enables monitoring of ESX Server host and virtual machine storage resources from any CIM-aware client or management tool.
“Our VMware virtual infrastructure deployment has been a real success,” said Doug Baer, systems engineer at Desert Schools Federal Credit Union. “We already have most of our corporate intranet, messaging and management servers running in ESX Server virtual machines and we look forward to using the new features in ESX Server 2.5. The beta versions of ESX Server 2.5 and VirtualCenter 1.2 have performed exceptionally. The new scripted installs are a piece of cake and we’ll be using them to streamline deployment of new ESX Server hosts. We’re already planning to make use of the SAN transparency in ESX Server 2.5 to facilitate migration of SAN-attached hosts from physical to virtual hardware. The ability to present a raw SAN device to a virtual machine will prove invaluable in this effort.”
Virtual Infrastructure Management Software for the Responsive Enterprise
VMware VirtualCenter is virtual infrastructure management software that provides a central and secure point of control for virtual computing resources. VirtualCenter creates a more responsive data center, enabling faster reconfiguration and reallocation of applications and services. VirtualCenter allows for instant provisioning of servers and decreases user-downtime while optimizing the data center.
VirtualCenter is a powerful way to connect IT to business needs. With VirtualCenter, IT infrastructure becomes more flexible, efficient and responsive. VirtualCenter uniquely leverages virtual computing, storage and networking to improve data center management and reduce cost. With VMotion, virtual machines can be migrated while running for dynamic load balancing and zero-downtime maintenance.
New features in VMware VirtualCenter 1.2 and VMware Virtual Infrastructure SDK 1.2 include:
– Support for ESX Server 2.5. Users can manage the latest VMware ESX Server release.
– Support for ESX Server SAN transparency. VirtualCenter and the Virtual Infrastructure SDK offer full management of virtual machines using SAN transparency and simplify the management of clustered virtual machines.
– Exportable performance and host summary data. Users can export virtual machine performance statistics in HTML and Excel formats for offline analysis and reporting.
– Enhanced VMware GSX Server support. Users can migrate and clone virtual machines between ESX Server and GSX Server hosts and use the Virtual Infrastructure SDK to automate management of GSX Server hosts.
“Virtual infrastructure has become one of the hottest IT topics around and our experiences with the technology have been very positive,” said Matthew Legg, ITDS technical consultant at UK-based Norwich Union. “It’s good to see VMware continuing to innovate to include features that customers are demanding for improved flexibility and data center management.”
Pricing and Availability
VMware ESX Server 2.5 and VMware VirtualCenter 1.2 are available today. Pricing for ESX Server starts at $3,750 for a 2 CPU machine; pricing for VirtualCenter starts at $5,000. ESX Server and VirtualCenter are available from Dell, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, HP, IBM, NEC and the VMware VIP network. VMware Sales can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 1-877-4VMWARE. For customers who have purchased earlier versions of ESX Server and VirtualCenter and have current support and subscription contracts, ESX Server 2.5 and VirtualCenter 1.2 are provided as free updates.