New IBM VMControl Eases Management of Virtualized Environments

IBM's VMControl software for enterprises is aimed at giving businesses greater control of their data centers. The software, combined with IBM's Tivoli products, brings together physical and virtualized resources-from servers to storage to networking devices-into a single pool, which can then be easily allocated depending on the workload demands. The resource pool can be managed from a single point, and can include virtualized systems from other vendors.

IBM is unveiling software designed to give IT administrators a single point through which to manage their data center infrastructure, from servers to storage systems to networking devices.

IBM's VMControl product for enterprises, announced Oct. 20, can be used in conjunction with the vendor's Tivoli management software to give businesses a way to more easily manage not only their IBM physical and virtual hardware, but also that of other vendors.

Such capabilities are needed in today's highly heterogeneous data centers, according to Jim Porell, distinguished engineer at IBM.

"You have the element of consolidation going on in data centers today," Porell said in an interview. "Then there's virtualization."

Most facilities have a collection of x86, Unix and mainframe systems running different instances of virtualization technology, all of which makes management difficult, he said. Those management headaches are increased when adding in the disparate storage and networking products included in the data center.

VMControl-formally named IBM Systems Director VMControl Enterprise Edition-is essentially a dashboard that can be used to manage the data center resources as a single entity, Porell said. The resources can be viewed as a single pool that can be applied to workloads as needed. Such capabilities not only let businesses save money by increasing the utilization of their resources, but also give them greater flexibility in how those resources are used.

VMControl is delivered in an IBM server, Porell said. It will first be available on IBM's Power systems running its AIX operating system starting in December, with additional platform support being added next year.

Once in the data center, the software can take any system that's been virtualized-including those of other vendors-and bring them into the pool of resources. The software will support IBM's PowerVM and z/VM virtualization technologies, as well as x86 virtualization products from VMware and Microsoft, and open x86 virtualization solutions.

The combination of VMControl and Tivoli software helps businesses reduce the time for deploying workloads from weeks to minutes, enables more efficient uses of IT resources and lets businesses more easily monitor and manage those resources, Porell said.

VMControl also lets IT administrators dynamically move workloads and adjust IBM systems for greater utilization and better energy efficiency.

In conjunction with the VMControl announcement, IBM also announced a new version of its Tivoli Provisioning Manager to further automate manual provisioning and configuring tasks around servers, operating systems, middleware, applications, storage and networking devices.

IBM earlier this year released Express and Standard editions of VMControl, which brought IBM in this direction but do not have the level of management capabilities that the Enterprise Edition offers, according to Porell.