VMware Adds Virtual Chargebacks, App Monitoring

VMware may be making a lot of noise about the cloud lately, but that doesn't mean it's forgotten that much of its core business is still on the ground.

Virtually Speaking: As businesses-critical workloads get moved to virtual servers, VMware looks to manage a new set of pain points.

Nevertheless, its customer needs are changing, and VMware is striving to meet those needs as well.

As Nicolas Jacques, product line manager at VMware told ServerWatch, "Now that virtualization has the attention of senior management, deployments are no longer siloed and small." They are now taking place at the enterprise level, not just the department level. And along with this desire to scale out comes a desire to speed up processes.

In addition, the types of deployments are changing. Jacques noted that virtualized environments are no longer limited to infrastructure workloads and have expanded to include business-critical workloads.

These transitions bring with them both increased complexity and a greater need for reliability. It's one thing for your back-end database to go down; it's quite another when your customer-facing applications aren't accessible.

To that end, on Monday, VMware unveiled two new modules for its management tools suite, vCenter -- AppSpeed and Chargeback -- and refreshed its now fourth-generation Lab Manager to simplify and automate IT processes around application performance monitoring, chargeback, and management of dev and test environments, respectively.

All three products are available for immediate purchase.

vCenter AppSpeed provides service-level reporting and proactive performance management for multi-tier applications running in virtual machines. AppSpeed discovers, monitors and reports on what each layer is doing, enabling admins to see what is going on within each tier of the virtual and physical infrastructure. AppSpeed's chief value proposition is its ability to troubleshoot and resolve performance issues more quickly thus reducing the administrative burden.

AppSpeed is priced at $1,250 per processor.

While Appspeed is designed to be used by admins and its value is constrained to the server room, vCenter Chargeback may well find itself in use through the organization. As more business-critical functions are moved the virtual servers, the thorny issue of charging back resources (i.e., allocating and reporting on costs associated with the use of IT resources) will rear its head with increased frequency. vCenter Chargeback aims to streamline this process.

Chargeback uses an algorithm that takes into account multiple factors, such as cost-based models and fixed costs, and maps them to data center resources, which it then applies across cost centers. It can be set to then automatically create detailed billing reports for internal billing purposes. For organizations not ready to go full bore into a chargeback model, the module offers a "showback" mode that provides a view into resources consumed and their associated costs, without charging back to the business units.

Jacques said showback is one way for organizations to get started with the product, as it demonstrates some level of virtualization's progress off the bat, which senior management is typically very interested in.

Chargeback is priced at $750 per processor.

Lab Manager is by no means a new product, but this is a significant new release. The fourth-generation test and dev tool is being merged with VMware Stage Manager to combine their complementary functionality into a single solution that streamlines application delivery from dev to production and simplifies release management. Other new features include network fencing capabilities to better support teams working on multiple instances of large-scale application environments and support for both ESX and ESXi.

Lab Manager 4.0 is priced at $1,495 per processor.

Amy Newman is the managing editor of ServerWatch. She has been covering virtualization since 2001, and is coauthoring a book about virtualization that is scheduled for publication in October 2009.

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This article was originally published on Jul 15, 2009
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