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1/14/2008
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Startup Fortisphere Launches Virtual Machine Management Suite

Virtual Essentials is designed to provide cradle-to-grave identification, tracking, reporting, and management of both online and offline VMs.

One-year-old Fortisphere is among several startups trying to take advantage of the rush to virtualization. On Monday, it launched a virtual machine management suite, Virtual Essentials, for VM life-cycle management.

Virtual Essentials is designed to provide cradle-to-grave identification, tracking, reporting, and management of both online and offline virtual machines. One differentiator among management tools is whether a tool can query a virtualized server and discover what VMs are stored on it, regardless of whether they are running.

The suite consists of two products, Virtual Insight and Virtual Foresight. Virtual Insight allows a manager to tag, track, inspect, and report on VMs as they are created and moved into production. Its inspection capability includes the ability to see all aspects of its configuration, including applications, patches, and network settings. It obtains a VM "fingerprint" that indicates its owner, functional group, and trust level. Fortisphere CEO Michael Harper says it also captures its relationship to other virtual machines: Does it derive from a particular parent that sets the model for a group of VMs? What are its siblings?

Virtual Foresight is a life-cycle management product that provides best practices on VM creation. It requires policies to migrate with the VM when it's moved to a new physical server, such as when VMware's VMotion capability is invoked for a running VM.

Virtual Foresight also provides a centralized repository for VM policy. It provides a policy inheritance enforcer for clones of an existing VM. Administrators can define a wide range of responses from a running VMs, setting notifications of various events. And a correlative policy engine analyzes and correlates policies that are or should be in force for both a hypervisor and its particular VMs, Harper said in a statement.

The management suite provides "real-time control and visibility from within the actual virtual machine regardless of where it resides," Harper said.

The Chantilly, Va., startup was founded October 2006 and landed $10 million in first-round funding from venture capital firms Fairhaven Capital Partners and Globespan Capital Partners.

It joins a rapidly growing list of VM management contenders, including VMware with its market leadership position; open source XenSource, now part of Citrix; and Microsoft. The startups include Embotics, Veeam, PlateSpin, Virtugo Software, and Dunes, acquired by VMware in September.

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