With virtualization pushing beyond data center consolidation and moving into other areas such as high availability and disaster recovery, IT managers have to consider a new set of issues: how to manage all those virtual machines.
Its a question that will grow in importance in the coming years as the technology continues to go mainstream, according to virtualization technology vendors and analysts.
Several top-tier OEMs have already begun developing software management suites that keep an eye on the proliferation of virtual environments inside a single physical server.
On June 21, IBM introduced additional virtualization management tools for its System z mainframe servers. In addition, in a series of announcements that started June 18, IBM launched its Systems Director Virtualization Manager, which offers capabilities ranging from identifying outage problems to shifting computing resources and can be used across several platforms.
For its part, Hewlett-Packard June 6 unveiled management tools that take advantage of virtualization capabilities in its HP-UX operating system. Moreover, VMware offers several management features in its namesake software suite, including the Vmotion live migration tool.
Gordon Haff, an analyst at Illuminata, said traditional systems management vendors such as CA have not been aggressive in producing management tools for virtual environments. Doing most of the work, Haff said, are virtualization companies that are building the technology from the ground up. "I think what a lot of people are looking for is better management of heterogeneous environments, but if you dig down past the marketing material, a lot of the management tools out there now cant manage all the different platforms," Haff said.
Mike Grandinetti, vice president and chief marketing officer at Virtual Iron, said his customers are looking for management tools that help with both application migration and high availability. "Both IDC and Gartner came out with reports that said x86 server shipments were down due to the spread of virtualization, but you have more virtual servers out there and customers want to know how they will handle that sprawl that comes with a virtual environment," said Grandinetti, in Lowell, Mass.