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10/18/2011
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VMware Unveils Cloud Management Tools

Virtualization specialist wants to automate many of the tasks demanded by SaaS environments.

VMware Pricing Controversy: Exclusive User Research
VMware Pricing Controversy: Exclusive User Research
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VMware introduced Tuesday a number of new tools at its VMworld conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, that are designed to help IT organizations establish and administer private clouds while making it easier for them to integrate some aspects of their infrastructure with the public cloud.

Included in the new offerings are enhancements to the existing VMware vCenter Operations suite, and the debut of the vFabric Application Management and VMware IT Business Management suites.

"There are some fundamental differences to how you manage in the cloud," said Rob Smoot, director of product marketing for VMware's management group, in an interview. "The traditional tools and techniques need to evolve to fit this model. The velocity at which change happens in the cloud is pretty dramatic."

[For more on the future of virtualized data center operations, see VMware's Next Act.]

The vCenter Operations suite has been enhanced with what VMware calls "application awareness" capabilities that it said automatically discover and map relationships and dependencies between apps and the supporting infrastructure. "It's an analytics-based approach," said Smoot. "We want to figure out for IT if there's a situation that's abnormal or unhealthy. It's somewhat predictive in nature."

The new vFabric Application Management suite offers two new tools designed to help IT organizations deal with the increasing velocity of application demand that is driven by the move to cloud environments.

vFabric AppDirector is meant to automate and standardize the release and deployment of applications to the cloud through the use of blueprints that offer standardized templates, component libraries, and deployment workflows. vFabric Application Performance Manager, meanwhile, is designed to aid in the proactive management of applications in cloud and virtualized environments. The suite is optimized for vFabric, but is extensible to other frameworks, said Smoot.

VMware also rolled out the IT Business Management Suite, which is designed to give CIOs and others in IT management the tools they need to gain greater visibility into costs, service levels, and vendor operations, which Smoot said are increasingly necessary as IT extends its traditional role of managing in-house operations to encompass third-party cloud and service providers.

"You can no longer assume that IT owns the full stack. Organizations are outsourcing and renting layers of the technology. You need a management approach that is built for that," said Smoot.

The IT Business Management Suite includes three modules: IT Finance Manager, IT Service Level Manager, and IT Vendor Management. The modules work in concert to aggregate financial data and use analytics and modeling algorithms to give decisionmakers a unified view into IT capital, operating, and services expenses.

Analysts said VMware's new offerings could give IT organizations a leg up as they struggle to meet shifting demands brought about by the move to virtualized environments and the cloud, and the increasing tendency to source services from multiple vendors.

"Cloud computing requires a new way of thinking about the delivery of IT services," said Gartner research VP Cameron Haight. "Automation is key not only to enable scale, but to keep pace with the rate of change in dynamic environments. As the infrastructure itself becomes programmable, management tools and processes must be updated to support an integrated, agile approach that spans across the IT divide."

VMware said the updated vCenter Operations Management suite will be available in early 2012, with prices starting at $50 per VM. The updates will also be offered to existing vCenter Operations customers at no charge. The vFabric Application Performance Manager should be available in the current quarter, starting at $360 per VM. vFabric App Director will be available in early 2012. VMware did not disclose pricing.

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