Hewlett-Packard is introducing a raft of products for virtualisation in a bid to simplify the management of virtual IT environments.
The products cover virtualisation software for HP-UX, OpenVMS and its Proliant and Integrity server families and were due to be unveiled this week at the company's show in New Orleans, which has been cancelled.
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HP's goal is to make virtualisation technology easier to deploy as part of the company's Adaptive Enterprise strategy for utility-based computing.
Phil McLean, server product marketing manager at HP, said, "We want to simplify our virtualisation family and focus on the adaptive enterprise."
Users that are able to make their servers run more efficiently, through greater server utilisation, are less likely to need frequent upgrades.
HP user group deputy chairman Colin Butcher said the development would be welcomed by users. "Problems [with IT systems] I see are mainly due to peak load and latency issues. Virtualisation allows you to spread the workload." He said the technology could help users tackle maintenance and IT costs.
In a recent paper on servers, Forrester analyst Brad Day wrote that server utilisation among Forrester's clients was relatively low. For the Wintel-based server environments he found server utilisation was typically 8% to 15%, while it was 28% to 45% for Unix/Risc-based systems, such as HP-UX, Sun Solaris and IBM AIX-based servers. Capacity utilisation for mainframes like IBM zSeries was found to be 65% to 75%.
Day said, "Consolidating OS and application workloads onto fewer, larger servers through the proper use of partitioning and virtualisation technologies is a core approach to gaining higher utilisation."
Virtualisation helps in the consolidation of OS images and mixed applications types, Day said.
Dan Kusnetzky, vice president of system software research at IDC, said, "There is a large and growing demand for virtualisation technology as users look for ways to lower costs and optimise existing IT equipment."
IDC estimates that users will spend as much as £10.6bn on virtualisation technology, growing 15% year-on-year through to 2008.
Improvements to the HP Virtual Server Environment include one of the industry's first integrated software products for planning, managing and automating virtual servers, the company said. Using HP's Virtual Server Environment enables utilisation of all available server capacity while providing the highest-priority applications with additional resources during peak times and letting customers pay for what they use.