VMware moves vCenter to Linux

All future versions of the company's flagship virtualisation-management software, formerly known as Virtual Center Server, will appear in Linux versions
Written by Roger Howorth, Contributor

VMware will release future versions of vCenter, its flagship virtualisation-management software, in Linux versions as well as for Windows, the company's chief technology officer said on Wednesday.

Chief technology officer Stephen Herrod announced the move for vCenter, formerly called Virtual Center Server, in a keynote speech at the VMworld 2009 conference in Cannes.

"We have enabled vCenter Server to be installed directly on Linux," he said. VMware first said it would release a Linux version of the management software at its last VMworld conference, in September.

"We have also released a [Linux] version of vCenter Server that runs as a virtual appliance," Herrod said in his speech. A beta version of the virtual appliance is now available for download from the VMware Communities website, under the VMware vCenter Server 2.5 for Linux Technology Program.

Patrick Lin, VMware vice president of product management, said the Linux move would help customers who wanted vCenter Server systems to run for years, rather than months, between rebooting.

Sixty percent of users have deployed Virtual Center Server (VCS) on physical servers, Herrod said. VMware's move could deliver license cost savings to the other 40 percent of its customers that run virtual servers, as they could avoid using a fee-bearing proprietary operating system. They might also see an operational benefit from reduced downtime associated with Linux, compared with Windows server systems.

One reason for customers choosing to run Virtual Center Server on physical servers rather than virtual ones could be the risk of being unable to manage their virtual servers, or the virtual machines they are hosting, if the Virtual Center Server system becomes unavailable.

The number of customers running the management software inside a virtual machine may increase following the announcement on Tuesday of VMware's vCenter Server Heartbeat. The suite, based on a previous product from high-availability specialist Neverfail, is designed to montior and manage automatic failover for vCenter Server. It maintains a passive clone of the software, so that if the main vCenter system fails, the passive clone can immediately take over.

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