A short while ago, VMware and Neverfail inked an agreement in which VMware would deliver Neverfail's availablilty and application server management framework software as part of the new vCenter Server Heartbeat software. VMware's vCenter is a single point of control of many of the capabilities VMware offers that extend their virtual server environment. Some would point out that vCenter is also a single point of failure as well. Eliminating this issue was the goal of this partnership.
I'd like to point out that this agreement does not extend as far as the relationship between Citrix and Marathon Technologies. The VMware/Neverfail agreement focuses on eliminating the possibility that vCenter would fail. Citrix's agreement with Marathon Technology focuses on preventing virtual machine failure.
Here's what the two companies have to say about the announcement
VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat can provide proactive protection against planned and unplanned downtime for VMware vCenter Server, protecting customers' investments in their VMware Infrastructure deployments and ensuring that key capabilities such as VMware VMotionTM and VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) are continuously available.
With this OEM agreement, VMware extends its ability to protect VMware vCenter Server against a broad range of downtime risks by replicating the server configuration and data to a passive standby server. It monitors VMware vCenter Server connectivity and components, including the license server and VMware Update Manager, and can restart the entire VMware vCenter Server instance on the passive server. This helps ensure the consistent, reliable operation of VMware vCenter Server if it is threatened by unplanned or planned downtime, and it provides the broadest range of protection against operator errors, operating system or hardware failure, or external events.
As virtualized environments based upon VMware's virtual processing software are increasingly used for business and mission critical tasks, it became clear that vCenter could become a single point of failure in some scenarios. Addressing this issue was important if VMware was going to become part of the IT infrastructure.
It would seem obvious that having one database and one management server would introduce a single point of failure. One could ask why VMware's design team didn't introduce a greater level of redundancy into the design from the beginning. It is good, however, that once this issue came to their attention, they saught out a solution.
Neverfail has been offering a product, Neverfail for VMware VirtualCenter since January 2008 and as seen a strong uptake of the product in larger organizations.
It is clear that VMware chose to partner with Neverfail to deliver this capability to its customer base rather than go to the extended effort to develop its own technology in this area.