Quoting from the VMware official announcement:
VMware, Inc., the global leader in virtual infrastructure software for industry-standard systems, today unveiled major new releases of its data center products: VMware ESX Server 3, virtual infrastructure software for partitioning hardware and consolidating application workloads in mission-critical environments, and VMware VirtualCenter 2, software for managing virtual infrastructure.
With the next generation releases of VMware ESX Server and VMware VirtualCenter, VMware offers a powerful enterprise virtualization platform that is providing the foundation for the industry’s next wave of innovative data center management technologies. VMware and its partner community are now delivering a comprehensive set of management technologies based on virtual infrastructure designed to substantially reduce the cost and complexity of data center environments.
“In the last several years since we first introduced virtual infrastructure with our ESX Server and VirtualCenter products and enabled the vast selection of partner solutions built on that platform which have followed, thousands of customers have been able to substantially improve how they build and manage their distributed systems through virtualization,” said Karthik Rau, director of product management at VMware. “With the introduction of ESX Server 3 and VirtualCenter 2, VMware continues to raise the bar by providing customers with the ability to drive even higher availability and better flexibility and to apply the benefits of virtualization throughout the enterprise.”
Building on the success of VMotion technology for live migration of running virtual machines with zero-downtime, VMware is now introducing new transformative virtual infrastructure management technologies:
- Distributed Availability Services
Infrastructure-wide high availability services for critical applications without the cost and complexity of clustering. Distributed availability services detect failed virtual machines and automatically restart them on alternate ESX Server hosts. Distributed availability services select a failover host that can honor the virtual machine’s resource allocations so that service level guarantees remain intact.
- Distributed Resource Scheduling
Infrastructure-wide resource optimization enabling a self-managing, highly efficient compute cluster with built-in resource and load balancing. Built on top of VMotion technology and VirtualCenter, distributed resource scheduling intelligently and continuously balances virtual machine workloads across ESX Server hosts so users can safely operate at 80% utilization or higher. Distributed availability services detect when increasing virtual machine activity saturates an ESX Server host and triggers automated VMotion live migrations to move running virtual machines to other ESX Server nodes so that all resource commitments are met.
VMware ESX Server 3 and VMware VirtualCenter 2 provide customers with the option to deploy virtualization in any environment – from the smallest branch office to the largest data center. ESX Server 3 has broader x86 support that unlocks the power of newer dual-core processor hardware and added NAS and iSCSI networked storage compatibility. Expanded virtual machine memory limits and new 4-way Virtual SMP further enable the most memory and processor-intensive server applications to run in virtual machines.
VirtualCenter 2 scales up to control the biggest infrastructures with hundreds of hosts and thousands of virtual machines and it provides enhanced usage reporting and security auditing features to meet enterprise requirements. In addition, VirtualCenter 2 simplifies management with a richer unified client and centralized host configuration tools.
“The new features in VMware ESX Server 3 and VMware VirtualCenter 2 support our plans to further expand our virtual infrastructure,” said Paul Poppleton, senior staff engineer for QUALCOMM. “Using ESX Server 3 and VirtualCenter 2 will allow us to optimize efficiency and resource use across the infrastructure, while driving down hardware and operational costs. With distributed availability services, we can bring complete high availability coverage to many of our production applications at minimal cost. Also with 4-way Virtual SMP and the increased 16GB virtual machine memory limits, we can migrate more of our physical servers to virtual machines. We are also looking forward to VirtualCenter’s sophisticated control features, including finer grained access controls and audit trails, as well as the inventory model and interactive topology views. We’ll have an easier time managing our data center with more servers virtualized.”
Pricing and Availability
VMware ESX Server 3 and VMware VirtualCenter 2 are currently in limited beta testing. A public beta program will begin later this year and general release will follow in Q1, 2006.
The current Virtual Infrastructure Node (VIN) for ESX Server combines ESX Server with Virtual SMP and a VirtualCenter Agent with VMotion technology and starts at $5,000. Current ESX Server, Virtual SMP, VirtualCenter and VMotion customers with active Support and Subscription contracts are entitled to the new upgrades for those products at no cost when the new upgrades are generally available. The distributed availability services and distributed resource scheduling will be available as add-on modules when they are generally available.