By Francis Chu  |  Posted 2005-06-13 Print this article Print

PlateSpin Ltd.s PowerP2V and PowerRecon software can team up to handle most of the chores associated with automating and managing large virtual infrastructures in large-scale enterprises. In eWEEK Labs tests, PowerP2Vs server auto-discovery and drag-and-drop migration capabilities significantly cut the time necessary to build out or migrate physical servers to virtual infrastructures. In addition, we found the PowerRecon system discovery and resource measurement software a capable assistant to PowerP2V, helping assess resource usage and design effective P2V (physical-to-virtual) migration scenarios.

PowerP2V is a worthwhile investment for data center server consolidation, testing and development environments, and application service providers because it will boost P2V migration efficiency and therefore generate savings in IT staff hours. However, the cost of PowerP2V might be prohibitive for smaller virtual networks.

Although PowerRecon worked well with PowerP2V in tests, this first version doesnt support subnets, nor does it function over VLANs (virtual LANs) and firewalls. This can be a problem in distributed infrastructures.

Licensing packages for PowerP2V 4.1, which shipped in January, range in price depending on the number of machines being migrated. An entry-level Proof of Concept package is priced at $2,995 per month and includes a one-month PowerRecon license for 25 machines, a six-month PowerP2V license for 25 conversions and two support incidents. Large enterprises can buy an annual PowerP2V-only site license for unlimited conversions on an unlimited number of machines for up to $26,000 for a single site. Discounts are available for governmental and educational organizations.

PowerRecon 1.0, which shipped in April, is priced at $40 per month for one server and $995 per month for 25 servers. A free seven-day evaluation download is available at PlateSpins Web site.

PowerRecon supports Windows XP Professional, Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003 servers. Support for Linux servers is planned for later this year, PlateSpin officials said.

PowerP2V automates P2V and V2V (virtual-to-virtual) migrations of Windows and Linux servers. We used it to effortlessly migrate operating systems, applications and data from a physical server to either virtual machines or PlateSpin virtual images.

PowerP2V supports conversions to platforms that run VMware Inc.s VMware ESX Server and GSX Server and Microsoft Corp.s Virtual Server 2005 virtualization software. PowerP2V does not support client-system virtualization software, such as VMware Workstation 5 or Microsofts Virtual PC 2004. On the Linux side, PowerP2V supports Red Hat Inc.s Red Hat Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. PowerP2Vs Linux support sets it apart from comparably priced enterprise-class P2V migration tools such as Leostream Corp.s P>V Direct and VMwares P2V Assistant.

PowerP2V collects system information using WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) services—a nonintrusive way to manage physical servers that enables Version 4.1 to discover physical and virtual systems on a network without the need to install agents. PowerP2V relies on Microsofts Windows IIS (Internet Information Services) for hosting Web services, and all Windows servers in the network must have WMI service installed and running.

We installed PowerP2V and PowerRecon separately on a test server running Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1. PowerP2V requires IIS and Microsofts .Net Framework to be installed as well. We had to tweak some services on the PowerP2V server and ensure that the source servers had the proper Windows services configured. Customers can check the Knowledge Base on PlateSpins Web site for more information on Windows requirements.

Once our servers were properly configured, actual P2V conversion tasks were simple to complete. We designated our PowerP2V server as the image server for storing converted virtual images. In larger networks, IT managers can create stand-alone servers for image storage.

PowerP2Vs drag-and-drop user interface was impressive in tests, allowing us to quickly launch jobs .

PowerRecon impressed us with its easy-to-use interface. We quickly deployed this agentless tool to monitor our servers, and we configured it to measure CPU, memory, I/O and networking usage. After PowerRecon collected usage data—which can take a while, depending on the size of the network and how many systems are being tallied—we ran system-ranking reports that provided normalized data for identifying usage trends.

Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.


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