HP introduces VirtualSystem for VMware vSphere 5

Tom Joyce, vice president of marketing, strategy and operations at HP StorageWorks

HP is extending the Microsoft– and Citrix-based VirtualSystems announced at HP Discover to VMware’s upcoming vSphere 5, the company announced at VMworld in Las Vegas.

VirtualSystem for vSphere 5 is shipping in three versions, one aimed at mid-sized businesses that will be mostly sold through the channel, a higher tier product for businesses with a need for more virtual machines, and a large enterprise version that likely be of greatest interest to HP’s service provider partners. The three solutions tie in HP servers, storage, networks and software into a single solution that is ordered as one SKU. The three versions are simply named VS1, VS2 and VS3.

“I think that we expect to see a tremendous amount of volume going through our distribution on the VS1,” said Tom Joyce, vice president of marketing, strategy and operations for HP StorageWorks. “We have folks that specialize in certain kinds of solutions like BladeSystem solutions and VDI solutions that will focus on the VS2.”

Designed for mid-sized businesses, the VS1 has ProLiant servers, LeftHand storage, Insight Control management software and HP Networking technology. Available in Microsoft and VMware versions (the Microsoft version was announced at HP Discover), it can support up to 750 virtual machines on one system.

For customers that have a greater need for virtual machines, there’s the VS2, which is built on BladeSystem, but then has many of the same storage, server and networking components as the VS1. It can scale up to 2,500 virtual machines or virtual desktops. It is available in the previously announced Microsoft and Citrix flavours, as well as the new VMware vSphere 5 version.

At the top end of the VirtualSystem line is the VS3, which is also built on BladeSystem, but includes Virtual Connect, TippingPoint, Insight Control and 3PAR backend storage. Unlike the other two versions, which are limited to a single rack deployment, VS3 can be deployed across multiple racks and basically has all the hardware found in HP’s CloudSystem private cloud platform. It can support up to 6,000 virtual machines in a standard configuration, but with customized configurations, the sky’s the limit.

VirtualSystem is being positioned directly against VCE‘s vBlock, and according to the Joyce, the edge HP’s solution has over vBlock is all of the hardware comes from one vendor rather than different ones. In the battle for cloud infrastructure, HP is also sending out the message that VirtualSystem is cloud-ready, suggesting that the vBlock isn’t. The vBlock has been positioned as a foundation for private cloud deployments since launch, though.

HP channel partners will find their opportunities mostly in the mid-sized business market with the VS1, but Joyce noted that all three versions of VirtualSystem are available through its distributors.

“It’s a great entry point for all of these new technologies for a channel partner,” Joyce said.