Cradle To Grave, Baby - InformationWeek

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3/31/2008
08:46 AM
Joe Hernick
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Cradle To Grave, Baby

Virtual Center can support 200 hosts and 2,000 VMs. VMware's new Lifecycle Manager offers hope to automate and track those thousands of containers...

Virtual Center can support 200 hosts and 2,000 VMs. VMware's new Lifecycle Manager offers hope to automate and track those thousands of containers.Virtualization Sprawl is a hassle. (Remember when unmanaged physical server sprawl was the big complaint?) Losing track of a running server instance shouldn't happen.

But it does. Not that any self-respecting ops manager would admit it.

In my opinion, any ESX shop running more than four hosts should be using Virtual Center. Any ESX shop with more than four hosts has probably been complaining about lack of automation in the management toolbox. Startups like Cirba, Embotics, Configuresoft, and Hyperic have sprung up to address different needs in VMware's product line.

Lifecycle Manager is VMware's answer to "implement a consistent and automated process for requesting, approving, deploying, updating, and retiring virtual machines."

From today's announcement, LCM shows "who owns a virtual machine, when it was requested, who approved it, where it is deployed, how long it has been in operation and when it is scheduled to be decommissioned."

Data center automation tools are nothing new; Altiris, Opsware,Tivoli and others came to market for a reason. Old-guard product lines are working to incorporate VM management and automation into existing solutions. Startups are addressing automation needs for large VMware customers. Some companies are working to develop cross-hypervisor automation for heterogeneous shops. You know customers are going to want to manage ESX and Hyper-V (at a minimum) from one console. If it was me, I'd want to manage all my virtual and physical servers from the same console. I don't think I'm alone.

When I spoke with Erik Wrobel of VMware last week, we kept coming back to the concept of a "data center OS." Life cycle management (from any vendor) is key to that model. Offering LCM as an add-on should help VMware further differentiate ESX from the Xen-ers, Microsoft, and other VM platforms hoping to get a toehold in the enterprise. I wouldn't write off strenghtening relationships between third-party VM management vendors, OEMs, and other virtualization alternatives just yet. The road ahead is still long ...

Shops running ESX 3.5 with Virtual Center can jump in now and download the eval of Lifecycle Manager here.

Pricing wasn't announced in the release and my early-morning chat with a rep from VMware's toll free number was not fruitful. She didn't have an updated product list yet; I'll update this post when I get numbers.Virtual Center can support 200 hosts and 2,000 VMs. VMware's new Lifecycle Manager offers hope to automate and track those thousands of containers...

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