New IBM Tool Manages Multiple Virtualization Platforms

Virtual Manager is an extension to the company's Systems Director management suite.

IBM is offering a software tool that will enable users to manage a wide range of virtual and physical data center resources through a single, common console.

The Armonk, N.Y., company on Nov. 2 introduced the Virtual Manager dashboard, which uses a Web-based interface that lets IT administrators manage multiple virtualization platforms, including VMware, Microsofts Virtual Server, the open-source Xen hypervisor, and the virtualization capabilities in IBMs own Systems p and i servers.

Customers also will be able to take advantage of the capabilities in VMwares VirtualCenter management suite by integrating it into IBMs Systems Director. Virtual Manager, which is available for free download, is an extension of Systems Director.

"The next phase of virtualization is about systems management, and how to simplify those environments," said Kevin Leahy, director of virtualization for IBM. "Were seeing more and more customers saying, We want one set of tools."

Virtualization is following through on its promise of higher system utilization rates and lower hardware costs, but it has done little to solve the management complexity in data centers, Leahy said. Where IT administrators once had 200 physical servers to manage, they now have many times more virtual systems, and many are running a variety of virtualization technology.

"Customers have hit the wall, with the number of resources they need to manage going up even while the number of physical resources are going down," Leahy said.

The industry is looking for single support of heterogeneous environments, and tools that will work with both physical and virtual resources, Leahy said. The new IBM technology offers that, he said.

"Customers are continually asking for capabilities to manage all those environments," he said.

Virtual Manager offers users a graphical view of the relationship between physical and virtual resources, and the capability to manage both from a single console. Also, it accomplishes the cross-platform management capabilities through the use of Tivoli software tools that create a service management platform.

IBM Systems Director offers features such as configuration and power management. However, the Virtual Manager extension adds deeper capabilities, such as usage, accounting and chargeback, workload management, and virtual management, Leahy said.

Better management will remain a key need in a segment of the industry that is growing quickly. Research company IDC predicts that the market will reach $15 billion by 2010.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read more about how vendors are addressing customer demand for greater manageability and flexibility of their virtualized environments.

A report issued in August by Enterprise Management Associates found that almost 75 percent of enterprises it surveyed had already deployed virtualization technology in one form or another, and that the virtualization market is growing by about 26 percent. Some 74 percent of respondents had deployed virtualization in test and development environments, while another 64 percent were also using it in production environments.

/zimages/4/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.