VMware's forthcoming ESX Server 4.0 hypervisor update will allow users to change the amount of RAM allocated to virtual machines without rebooting them, VMworld 2008 attendees heard this week in the US.
In addition, the new hypervisor will enable businesses to configure virtual machines with eight virtual CPUs and a maximum of 256GB RAM, VMware product manager Carter Shanklin said in a technical briefing at the conference in Las Vegas. The current version of ESX Server supports a maximum of 64GB RAM and four CPUs per virtual machine.
Although there have been several rumours about ESX 4.0 published by bloggers, until now VMware has been tight-lipped about new features in the hypervisor update, which is expected to be launched next year. The ability to 'hot-add' RAM to virtual machines should help companies avoid disruption or downtime when they have to make a memory switch.
Shanklin revealed the ESX 4.0 features during a demonstration of VMware's free VMware Infrastructure (VI) Toolkit 1.5, in which he showed how its integrated Microsoft's PowerShell command-line interface could be used to adjust the configuration of a virtual machine running Microsoft Exchange.
In the demonstration, the Exchange server virtual machine was upgraded from 1GB to 4GB of RAM without a reboot. "Microsoft PowerShell is designed for automating the management of Windows applications. All Microsoft server products must support PowerShell to some degree, so time spent learning PowerShell will be time well spent," Shanklin said.
Hot-add memory support is a feature of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition.
The VI Toolkit runs on top of Microsoft PowerShell and includes 125 command-line tools for managing servers running VMware ESX 3.5 and ESX3i. It is available free of charge as a download from the VMware website.
Fusion 2.0 ready
The virtualisation company announced the general availability of VMware Fusion 2.0, software for running the Windows operating system on the Mac.
Besides touting new features and enhancements from version 1.x, VMware stressed that Fusion 2.0 "makes Windows even safer on the Mac" through its use of automatic virtual machine snapshots and a free, 12-month subscription to McAfee VirusScan Plus.
Fusion 2.0, the company's rival to the Parallels software for running Windows on the Mac, also lets users add up to four virtual CPUs to a virtual machine, as well as adding support for Mac OS X Leopard Server.
The suggested retail price for the software, available online now, is US$79.99. VMware also announced its vClient Initiative, which is intended to foster "universal clients" that would let users access their set of desktop applications, hosted in a datacentre, from any device, anywhere. VMware is kicking off the initiative with a set of products called VMware View, including Composer for managing desktop images.
News of the moves dovetails with VMware's Monday announcements, including the launch of its Virtual Datacenter Operating System technology, in which the company staked its claim to the enterprise end of cloud computing.
Jonathan Skillings reported about Fusion 2.0 for CNET News.com.