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SAN FRANCISCO: VMware kicked off its sixth annual VMworld with a flurry of announcements including new products, partnerships and performance data. The virtualization event, which runs until Thursday, is expected to draw more than 10,000 attendees and over 200 sponsors and exhibitors. This year’s theme is ‘Hello Freedom’, and ‘goodbye to the limitations of the traditional ways of computing’.

VMware started the four-day event off by unveiling the VMware vCenter Product Family, ‘a new management model for IT’. They build on the vSphere virtualization platform to provide policy-based, service-driven management. "With the VMware vCenter family of products, customers will be able to dramatically simplify infrastructure management, service delivery, and application management eliminating tedious manual tasks, achieving greater visibility into datacenter operations, and ultimately guaranteeing service levels through set-and-forget policy-based control," said Raghu Raghuram, VP and GM, server business unit, VMware. vCenter solutions are sold a la carte on a per processor basis. All products are generally available with the exception of VMware vCenter CapacityIQ, which is planned to ship in Q4 2009, and VMware vCenter ConfigControl, coming in 2010. For more information, visit

The company also unveiled a beta version of VMware Go, a web-based service that will make it even easier for customers to get started with virtualization. "Nearly every SMB stands to benefit tremendously from virtualization," said Dan Chu, VP, emerging products and markets. "VMware Go will simplify virtualization for SMBs to a few easy online steps and was designed with SMBs in mind. We want SMBs who may be sitting on the fence to realize all the benefits of virtualization without burdening their limited IT resources." Available as a beta offering (, VMware Go is expected to become generally available as a free service in 2010.

VMware also announced that its vSphere 4 product offers the highest consolidation ratios in the industry which could translate into hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings, according to a report released by industry analyst firm, Taneja Group. "VMware’s technological superiority with its release of VMware vSphere 4 continues to be very clear," said Jeff Boles, senior analyst and director of technology validation services at Taneja Group. "We’ve validated in a number of tests that VMware vSphere 4 virtualized servers can not only run twice as many applications than other hypervisors at equal or even greater performance levels, but also deliver much more predictable performance. Just as we’ve validated in the past, this VM Density metric has a tremendous impact on cost of acquisition, and can make VMware as much as 30 percent less expensive on a per application basis than other solutions. Based on our most recent testing, VMware vSphere 4 clearly represents a better choice even for the most heavily tasked infrastructure facing unpredictable loads, while offering a lower total upfront solution cost even when compared to so-called ‘free’ offerings."

As part of its opening-day outpouring, VMware announced that more than 200 management and infrastructure partners now support its vCenter family of virtualization management products. The company also announced expanded participation in its VMware Ready Management program which extends the virtualization management capabilities of the VMware vCenter product family to enable integrated system management.

The company also announced an expanded relationship with Intel, which will sell vSphere with Intel board and system products starting in the fourth quarter of 2009. This enhanced relationship expands on the Intel Enabled Server Acceleration Alliance (ESAA) certification agreement previously signed by the companies and strengthens the companies’ longstanding strategic relationship.

"We are pleased to be able to deliver VMware software benefits in conjunction with our server boards and system building blocks to our worldwide reseller channel," said Lisa Graff, general manager of Intel’s Enterprise Platforms and Services Division. "Our ongoing technology collaboration has resulted in excellent performance of VMware vSphere 4 running on Intel Xeon processor-based platforms. This agreement will enable the channel to meet the growing demand by SMBs for the improved efficiency, greater control and increased flexibility that virtualization offers."

Finally, there was good news about — if not for — VMware’s channel. The company announced a significant increase in the number of partners investing in their virtualization practices through enhanced accreditation and certification programs. More than 16,000 individuals from more than 1,200 partner companies have been trained on vSphere 4 since the product became available in May. Since the launch of VMware Partner Network in April, more than 60 percent of all Premier-level partners in the program have begun taking the necessary training to achieve their first solution competency. And, the number of partners achieving VMware Technical Sales Professional (VTSP) accreditations has grown more than 500 percent year over year.

"Since introducing the VMware Partner Network, we have seen thousands of professionals working toward their VMware accreditations and certifications, with hundreds of new companies developing competencies in specific VMware solutions," said Doug Smith, senior director, global channels. "This is validation that partners want to put their efforts and money toward key training on VMware virtualization because they believe in the long-term value of virtualized IT environments based on the industry-leading VMware platform."

The company also announced a new organizational structure of its global channel executive team. Smith, who sets global channel strategies, channel revenue goals and global programs, reports to Carl Eschenbach, executive VP of worldwide field operations; Brandon Sweeney, VP of Americas channels and ‘Americas Channel Chief’, reports to Rich Geraffo, VP and GM of the Americas.

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