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Virtual Iron supports iSCSI with virtualization suite

VMware competitor Virtual Iron revved up its platform to version 3.5, adding support for iSCSI storage and LDAP directory services along the way.

Virtual Iron Software Inc. bills itself as a VMware alternative and has released version 3.5 of Virtual Iron virtualization software.

New in 3.5 are support for iSCSI -- a less expensive form of networked storage than traditional Fibre Channel -- and LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) directory services, in addition to Microsoft Active Directory support.

For more cost-conscious customers, the company has also removed restrictions about how its management software can be deployed. In the past, the company required that it be installed on a separate server. Now, Virtual Iron supports what it calls "single-server installations," whereby the management station can be installed as a virtual machine.

Virtual Iron also announced its latest customer, PGA TOUR Superstore (PGATSS), a large-footprint retailer focused on golf and tennis. The Atlanta, Georgia-based firm recently deployed Virtual Iron software across four Hewlett-Packard c-Class BladeSystem blades for about one-fifth the cost of purchasing VMware ESX, said Gentry Ganote, PGATSS CIO.

Cost aside, the other benefit Ganote identified is server provisioning. "It used to take me at least a week to get a new server up and running," he said. Now, he can deploy a new application in under thirty minutes, he said, by creating a virtual machine on a pre-existing Virtual Iron node.

Ganote also said that virtualizing his systems has also given him better visibility into system performance. "It's easier to monitor what's going on with the virtualization tools -- you can watch the disk I/O, CPU utilization and network throughout all in one place. It's really amazing."

Virtual Iron prices its virtualization software at $499 per socket. It also offers a free single-server version that allows consolidation of up to 80 Windows or Linux guests.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Alex Barrett, News Director

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