As virtualization becomes more mainstream in corporate data centers, businesses are looking for better and easier ways to manage these environments.
Adoption of the technology continues to grow as users see benefits ranging from greater hardware utilization to server consolidation, reduced system costs and greater energy efficiency. "We know how to virtualize," said Ed Baldwin, senior network engineer for Enbridge Energy and a longtime user of VMware products. "Now its How can we manage it?"
VMware and IBM are rolling out products to make it easier to manage and monitor virtualized environments.
VMware on June 5 is expected to unveil its VMware Infrastructure 3, a suite of products that virtualizes data center resources and dynamically allocates those re-sources. It also can automatically migrate applications to available hardware resources, provision workloads and scale higher than current VMware products.
The idea behind the new offering is to create a single pool of virtualized server, storage and networking resources that can be dynamically and easily allocated based on need, said Raghu Raghuram, vice president of data center and desktop platform products for VMware, in Palo Alto, Calif. VMware Infrastructure 3 includes VM-wares ESX Server and VirtualCenter management software but also offers new technologies designed to make virtualized environments more automated.
DRS (Distributed Resource Scheduler), in conjunction with VMotion, aggregates the hardware into a virtual pool and allocates the resources to applications running in virtual machines. If the workload needs more resources, DRS automatically allocates whats needed. VMware High Availability dynamically relocates and restarts VMs if there is a failure, and VMware Consolidated Backup offloads backup data to a centralized server—a function that frees up ESX Server and enables it to run more VMs, Raghuram said.
The suite includes greater scalability: ESX Server now can handle applications that require up to four CPUs and 16GB of memory. Previously, the limit was two CPUs and 4GB. In addition, VirtualCenter 2 can now manage three times the number of host machines and VMs.
New storage capabilities include native support for iSCSI and NAS (network-attached storage), and—with a new distributed file system—users can pool their storage arrays into virtualized environments.
Enbridge Energys Baldwin has been beta testing VMware Infrastructure 3 since October. Automated management is the key enhancement, he said. "Before, we could do some of this, but we had to use third-party products," said Baldwin in Houston. "There is better performance, with less of me having to go in there."
IBM on June 1 launched software that enables users to track the use of resources within a virtualized environment. The Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager also eases the task of billing for the use of those resources, said Pete McCaffrey, program director of virtualization strategy for IBMs Systems Group, in Armonk, N.Y.
In a shared environment, monitoring how people or groups use resources—and billing them accordingly—is a key issue, McCaffrey said. The software offers a Web-based interface that meters and bills for resource use.
The editions of the software for x86 and mainframe environments are available now; an IBM System p server edition will come in September.
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