Virtual Management, Front and Center


It's getting funny how major new systems seem to get launched right after I do a roundup on that particular segment. Who know I had such clout?


This time we have a rush of virtualization-management tools from HP, BMC and Fortisphere. But while my posts on such fast-moving technology may be out-of-date before my keyboard gets cold, the fact remains that management in the virtual world is just as important as management of the physical one.


HP got the ball rolling this week with a slew of new management tools designed to get enterprises to see virtualization as a front-edge business asset, rather than a mere technology enabler. The package consists of new hypervisor-management tools designed to work across heterogeneous infrastructures, as well as a new i-series network node manager to keep tabs on network capacity. An asset manager helps keep track of inventory and licensing issues.


ZDnet's Dana Gardner scored a good interview here with John Bennet, director of HP's Technology Solutions Group, that captures the company's thinking on virtualization management. In it, he says the enterprise is quickly opening up to the real possibilities of virtualization -- namely, that it's much more than a cost-reduction/consolidation tool because it can kick the enterprise into high gear through things like dynamic provisioning and capacity allocation, but only if you have a robust management system.


BMC is making largely the same argument, but says it has a better approach than the typical hardware-centric offerings. It released a set of tools aimed at managing both virtual and physical environments. The new package is based on the company's Closed-Loop Change and Configuration Management (CLCCM) process workflows designed to improve the pace and cut the cost of change management.


The package includes modules for capacity management and planning, performance management, availability, containing server sprawl, as well as security and compliance. The company has also reached integration agreements with Microsoft, Sun and VMware


BMC CTO Kia Behnia said that as a software company, BMC can offer more than the reactive monitoring of individual virtual machines of existing solutions. Instead, the company sought more proactive management with an eye toward preventing disruptive events.


For Fortisphere, the game is all about policy management. The company's new Virtual Essentials 2.0 offers features such as agentless VM inspection, extended configuration intelligence and a new policy framework designed to increase visibility and control across heterogeneous environments.


The system also features a simplified user interface, an expanded data-collection module that delves deeper into system, security, software and user information, and the ability to import and export policies across environments.


Despite all the press it's been getting, virtualization is just a trickle at most enterprises today. That's why it's important to start a management program now, so you'll be better able to contain the raging flood it's bound to become.