The latest version of ConVirt Enterprise incorporates features for building pools of managed hosts and private clouds.
With its ConVirt
Enterprise 3, Convirture helps IT organizations put to work the virtualization
capabilities present in all modern Linux-based server operating systems. The
product, which I reviewed in its version 2 form last year, plays a role similar
to what VMware's vCenter plays for its ESX hypervisor hosts, but at a lower
New in version
3 is a set of capabilities, called ConVirt Enterprise Cloud, for building pools
of ConVirt-managed hosts into private clouds. IT departments can divvy their
virtualization resources into virtual data centers, each with its own set of
available virtual machine templates, resource quotas and segregated networks.
Administrators can create accounts on these separate clouds and give users access
to the resources through ConVirt's Web-based console.
administrators can yoke their ConVirt management environment up to third-party
clouds based on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), OpenStack or Eucalyptus,
and apply the same resource and access controls to these clouds as to those
running on their ConVirt-managed hosts.
ConVirt Enterprise 3 and ConVirt Enterprise Cloud with CentOS-based
virtualization hosts running the Kernal-based VM (KVM) hypervisor (the product
also supports Xen hosts), with Amazon's public EC2 cloud and with a private
cloud based on the OpenStack project.
As a lower-cost
alternative to vSphere, ConVirt is certainly worth IT consideration. Pricing
for ConVirt Enterprise 3 starts at $1,495 per host for up to 10 hosts, with
volume discounts available. Factoring in the license costs for an enterprise
Linux distribution, a ConVirt solution comes with a significant cost-savings.
ConVirt supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS, with support for Ubuntu
and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on the way.
Enterprise is definitely rougher around the edges than vSphere; for one thing,
support for multiple-host operating systems and hypervisors results in a less
tightly integrated system, with more under-the-hood tweaks required than a
vSphere plus vCenter match-up.
functionality in ConVirt Enterprise Cloud is simpler to configure, particularly
with third-party clouds, which requires little more than entering one's cloud
service credentials to get up and running. With that said, my tests of the
cloud features weren't without snags, either. For instance, I hit an issue (a
known bug, according to Convirture) getting OpenStack templates I created after
configuring my OpenStack cloud to show up in the ConVirt VM templates list.
Enterprise Cloud is sold on a yearly subscription basis, and the price is keyed
to the number of sockets used in an organization's on-premises infrastructure.
The price starts at $487 per socket for up to 20 sockets, with discounts for
larger numbers of sockets. At this point, use of EC2 in the Enterprise Cloud
product does not carry any additional costs.
In addition to
its Enterprise editions, ConVirt 3.0 is available in a freely downloadable,
open-source version, which lacks the high availability, backup, storage and
networking automation, and cloud management functionality included in the
Enterprise editions of the product.