VMware adds Linux, iPhone to virtualisation mix

Forthcoming updates to VirtualCenter Server and Infrastructure Client will give Linux and iPhone a role in managing virtual machines

The next version of VMware's flagship virtualisation management software, VirtualCenter Server, will work with Linux and the iPhone, the company's chief technology officer announced to applause at the VMworld conference on Wednesday.

The VMware VirtualCenter Server update will run on Linux and will be supplied as a virtual appliance, which is a ready-to-run virtual machine that has been preconfigured with all the necessary software, Stephen Herrod said in a keynote speech at the Las Vegas conference.

Herrod also said that a future version of VMware Infrastructure (VI) Client, which is the software used to access VirtualCenter Server, would be made available for the Apple iPhone and other mobile devices. This means companies should be able to use those devices to manage VirtualCenter Server, which in turn is managing virtual machines.

Taken together, the two announcements mark a shift away from having to rely on Microsoft Windows to host the software used to manage servers with VMware installed. VirtualCenter Server is currently only available as Windows software. Both announcements were greeted with much applause by the audience of VMware customers at the conference.

In his speech, Herrod also introduced VMware Fault Tolerance, which is an add-on for VirtualCenter that will maintain a replica of a virtual machine, hosted on a second ESX Server system. VirtualCenter will automatically failover to the replica if the primary system becomes unavailable. "Users connected to the [virtual machine] would not notice the switchover," Herrod said.

VirtualCenter would then automatically create an additional replica, so the fault tolerance of the original virtual machine is maintained, he said. The failover relies on VMware's VMotion technology, which migrates a virtual machine to a different host server without any interruption of the virtual machine's services.