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VMware Stakes Out Data Center Cloud Leadership

Not everybody may be ready for the virtual data center, but VMware keeps filling holes in the product line as if one day they will be.

VMware keeps expanding its claim to be the manager of the private cloud, the part of the data center that's been virtualized. Its virtualization management software provides a new control point for the data center, one that can be used to create different profiles of data center resource sets for different users.

These profiles are called "virtual data centers," or groupings of servers, network bandwidth, and storage resources, said Ramin Sayar, VMware VP of products, last week, just prior to the opening of VMworld Europe. One set might be oriented toward supporting web servers, another toward Microsoft Exchange, or even an Oracle database.

Not everybody may be ready for the virtual data center, but VMware keeps filling holes in the product line as if one day they will be. VMware launched a set of private cloud offerings at its VMworld show in August. It added several refinements at VMworld Europe in Copenhagen on Oct. 12.

It previously enabled end user self-service out of a catalogue of IT services through vCloud Director. But user self-service without IT governance is something like turning over the asylum to the inmates. On Oct. 12, it added pre-defined workflows and approvals to that process through vCloud Request Manager. Once an end user seeks a virtual server, Request Manager kicks in to seek the required approvals, check the software licenses being used against the inventory of those licenses, and make sure the new virtual machine (VM) accesses only the resources that its requestor's privilege level allows.

Request Manager and other new controls also "allow chargeback to also come into play," giving IT the means, for the first time, to illustrate to lines of business what computer resources they're consuming and what they cost. By grouping the types of virtual machines being created and the resources they can access, IT now has tools to put a price tag on various levels of services and manage the "virtual data centers" in more directed, policy-driven ways, Sayar pointed out.

Request Manager will be available in the fourth quarter at a price of $100 per VM. VMware has shifted pricing off of per-server or server-CPU-based accounting to per-VM on most of its recent products.

In a similar vein, VMware has updated its vCenter CapacityIQ, launched late last year, to its 1.5 release in order to add a view of storage resources, previously a blind spot of VMware's vCenter management console. CapacityIQ can now look at the disk space available, develop a trend line on how fast it is being used, and suggest ways to optimize the resource in reports that capture the trends and aid in capacity planning.

CapacityIQ 1.5 will be available in the fourth quarter at a price of $75 per VM.

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