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HP adds ProLiant virtualization offerings

Hewlett-Packard has added software from Virtual Iron and SWsoft to the stable of virtualization offerings available for its x86 servers.

Hewlett-Packard Co. will begin selling virtualization offerings for its ProLiant servers from vendors other than VMware Inc. and Microsoft.

Massachusetts-based Virtual Iron Software Inc. announced Monday that it is now one of two charter members of a new invitation-only HP ProLiant Partner Program and HP's BladeSystem Solution Builder Program.

The ProLiant Partner Program is a specialized program for independent software vendors to provide technical, marketing and sales services with HP. The BladeSystem Solution Builder Program, meanwhile, enables independent hardware and software vendors, system integrators and resellers to develop software for the HP BladeSystem.

In addition to Virtual Iron, the virtualization firm SWsoft, headquartered in Washington, D.C., announced earlier this month that it is also a member of the HP ProLiant Partner Program.

SWsoft's Virtuozzo virtualization software is available for multiple Linux distributions and Microsoft Windows Server 2003. It operates on HP ProLiant and Integrity platforms based on x86, x86-64 and Itanium processors.

SWsoft was invited to join the ProLiant Partner Program because of the market the company targets -- production servers for enterprises, SMBs and hosting companies, said an SWsoft spokesperson.

This partner program gives SWsoft an avenue to develop a joint marketing and sales agenda with HP and a platform to further develop, test and integrate Virtuozzo with HP hardware and software, said the spokesperson.

HP already supports virtualization software from VMware on its ProLiant servers, as well as Microsoft Virtual Server and Xen for open source systems.

Looking beyond x86, HP also has the HP Virtual Server Environment (VSE) for its Integrity servers, so adding more virtualization options for its lower priced server products makes sense as the company broadens its reach in the virtualization market, Illuminata Inc. analyst Gordon Haff said.

Mike Grandinetti, chief marketing officer at Virtual Iron, said the relatively high price of VMware products when there were no competitors to keep pricing low has slowed the uptake of virtualization, since only about 6% of servers in the world are virtualized.

"HP has jumped in front of other vendors in its virtualization offerings, and picking up Virtual Iron shows there is room for more than one player," Grandinetti said. "The midmarket and high midmarket is an area of growth for HP, and they are able to offer more to that market with us. We give equivalent performance at one-fifth the price of VMware, so more consumers can virtualize."

Virtual Iron 3.5 costs $499 per socket, comparable to competitor VMware's Enterprise Edition, priced at $5,750 per dual processors, plus support and subscription. VMware's Starter Edition is priced at $1,000 per two processors.

Virtuozzo is also less expensive than VMware on a licensing basis, retailing at $1,250 per socket, plus a small management tools cost. In comparison, VMware ESX bundle averages at least twice as much, and Virtuozzo is less expensive when looking at total cost of ownership, said the SWsoft spokesperson.

Virtual Iron and HP are currently working together to virtualize servers for companies including, a major Web-based travel service. uses hundreds of HP ProLiant servers and will eventually cut the number of servers they require by one-third through virtualization, Virtual Iron's Grandinetti said.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Bridget Botelho, News Writer

For more on this and other virtualization topics, check out our Server Virtualization blog.

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