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Saturday, April 30, 2011, 11:00 am PT (02:00 pm ET)

VMware vSphere 5 to add cloud virtualization support for Mac OS X Server

The upcoming release of VMware's vSphere 5 virtualization platform is reported to include guest OS support for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, indicating new options for enterprise use of Apple's server platform without the now discontinued Xserve.

VMware's plans for the next release of vSphere, as discussed in February at the company's Partner Exchnge conference, have been detailed in a posting by Virtualization.info, including mention of support for Mac OS X Server.

The vSphere product allows companies to build a private of public cloud of pooled infrastructure, offering enterprise planners more flexible capacity management than if they were required to allocate dedicated hardware to every server instance.

The product also helps data center managers to automate disaster recovery plans and monitor and manage performance while accurately reporting the costs needed to provide IT services.

By pooling server hardware, VMware says businesses can reduce their requirements of power, cooling and server storage, cutting energy cost by as much as 80 percent.

Formerly named VMware Infrastructure 4, the cloud-enabled vSphere platform is built upon the company's core virtualization hypervisor called ESXi, which runs as a low level microkernel OS on actual server hardware, and facilitates flexible, virtual deployment of guest OS virtual machines on top, moving around virtual images to use available hardware as necessary.

The product currently supports Microsoft Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Oracle Solaris 10, as well as enterprise versions of Linux from RedHat, SUSE and Ubuntu. By adding support for Mac OS X Server, VMware will give its enterprise customers an option for virtualizing the deployment of Apple's server features without having to dedicate rack space to Mac hardware.

While Apple has backed out of the dedicated server hardware market, first by discontinuing the Xserve RAID and then by terminating its Xserve rack mounted server, it continues to develop its Mac OS X Server product, with the next major version adding the formerly premium server features to the standard edition.

Mac OS X Server includes WebDAV-based calendar and contact management, easy to use wiki services for building group collaboration tools, and under Mac OS X Lion Server 10.7, will incorporate expanded support for iOS mobile devices, including WebDAV file sharing for iPhone and iPads, expanded Push Notifications for messaging services, and a new Profile Manager that provides setup and management features for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac OS Lion computers.