The Rise of Virtual Server Management Vendors

By Amy Newman (Send Email)
Posted Aug 4, 2010


More on virtual server management

It's getting to the time of year where virtualization management announcements are a dime a dozen. Two particularly of interest surfaced in the past two weeks.

As VMworld draws closer, ISVs selling virtual server management tools are showcasing their goods.

Last week, ConVirture announced a new version of ConVirt, virtualization management software it claims puts Xen and KVM on par with VMware. The three-year-old open source management tool lacks the brand recognition of VMware, but its reach is quite long. ConVirt1.x is included in many of the major Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, Open SUSE and Debian, and it has been downloaded more than 30,000 times.

While version 1 was a pure open source play, and was available free of charge to anyone who wished to download it, version 2 is available as the "first paid release of enterprise product," Arsalan Farooq, CEO of Convirture, told ServerWatch.

Much of the new functionality can be found in both the free-of-charge open source edition and the enterprise edition. These include the following: server pool-based management, templates-based provisioning, monitoring and configuration management, and comprehensive virtual machine administration.

Like every new product release these days, ConVirt 2.0 Enterprise looks to the cloud. In this case, it aims to be the tool of choice for organization moving their virtualized infrastructure management to a hosted or private cloud environment. Cloud-enabling functionality includes multi-tenant security, delegated control, scheduled provisioning and resource limiting.

Other functionality unique to ConVirt 2.0 Enterprise is a high-availability feature set that includes virtual and physical machine failover; a backup and recovery feature set for planned and unplanned outages; storage and network automation; and enterprise integration that includes an open repository, command-line interface and programmatic APIs.

With these capabilities in place and the hypervisor and the host -- not the virtual machine, Farooq said he believes ConVirt 2.0 is the Linux world's equivalent of VirtualCenter.

Pancetera's Virtual Storage Offering

Pancetera, meanwhile has opted to partner with VMware and Tuesday unveiled Pancetera Unite, a virtual appliance that aims to simplify much of the pain associated with storage when it comes to virtualization. It is designed to streamline common storage tasks that must take place in virtual environments, such as backup, replication, security scanning and WAN mobility.

Key features in Pancetera Unite include, SmartView technology, which provides a single, unified view of all virtual storage –- across hypervisors and data stores, and SmartRead, technology to reduces storage I/O, leading to more efficient storage usage.

Pancetera claims a reduction in I/O load of as much as 80 percent when backup streams are run through it.

It's not surprising that management tools are becoming ever-present. Virtualization is complicated. It is interesting, however, that despite all predictions of heterogeneous hypervisor environments being the norm for many data centers, management tools vendors are developing products that are far from hypervisor agnostic. Whether the cart steers the horse in this case remains to be seen.

Amy Newman is the senior managing editor of ServerWatch and Enterprise IT Planet. She has been covering virtualization since 2001, and is the coauthor of Practical Virtualization Solutions, published by Pearson in October 2009.

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