Options and Capabilities

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print

With the December release of Virtual Iron’s Version 4.2, has the product matured enough to challenge VMware’s dominance in the virtualization market?

Of course, there are some basic hardware requirements, but as with any virtualization product, the more powerful the hardware, the better the overall experience. For single server installations, users will want to make sure that they have at least an AMD or Intel VT capable processor, 2Gbytes of RAM, 36Gbytes of available storage. Enterprise version of the product will, of course, need multiple systems that meet the basic requirements.

Single server and Enterprise versions of Virtual Server have different install procedures, but both are equally well documented. Once installed, all of the real action takes place from the Virtual Iron Management Server. The management server is responsible for not only "managing" the virtual infrastructure, but also runs the Virtualization Manager, which is used to discover and deploy virtual servers, and the Administration Manager, which is used to manage licenses, backups, policies and so on. Both are browser-based applications, which can be run remotely over the network.  

From the administration console, installers can launch wizards to create virtual servers, configure network parameters and so-on, all capabilities are well defined and documented. The administration console also offers the ability to monitor, reboot and reconfigure active virtual servers. After working with the Virtualization Manager, most solution providers will quickly come to realize that Virtual Iron 4.2 is very much about ease of use and ease of administration.

Volumes could be written about the product's options and capabilities and most solution providers would be best off to download and experiment with a trial version of the product to make sure the feature mix will meet their needs. That aside, solution providers will find the product stable and should not come across any significant bugs.

For the channel, Virtual Iron offers its Channel One program, which extols education and marketing support. One of the major elements of the program is the focus on building comprehensive solutions, which educates partners on how to extend virtualization technology to build up revenue. That helps VARs avoid becoming just "box" pushers into the enterprise and make the leap over to true virtualization solution providers. Channel partners will find that Virtual Iron’s software capabilities create a number of consulting and professional services opportunities, which include data center assessment, physical to virtual migration, capacity planning and utilization, implementa­tion and deployment, policy-based automation development and various managed services.

Virtual Iron's combination of technology and a friendly channel program bodes well for the company. With version 4.2, Virtual Iron has become a mainstream choice for channel partners looking to leverage the virtualization market. While companies such as VMware may still hold the upper hand when it comes to large enterprise deployments, Virtual Iron 4.2 should readily challenge the giants out there in the SMB market. The product’s low cost and ease of use should also bolster its viability in the large enterprise and at the very least make adopters think twice before putting all of their eggs in the VMware basket.


Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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