Vizioncore Lets Virtual Machine Users Provision Themselves

VControl could speed IT operations by allowing end users to configure and initiate their VM of choice without requiring assistance from IT managers.
Vizioncore is moving its virtual machine management tool set beyond generating, monitoring, and optimizing virtual machines into allowing end users to provision themselves.

Vizioncore is a unit of Quest Software; it's one of the few virtual toolmakers that bases its products on a multihypervisor approach. Its vControl product, released Tuesday, can allow end users of VMware ESX Server, Citrix Systems XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, or Sun Microsystems Solaris Zones to configure and initiate their own virtual machine of choice.

Self-provisioning has been a concept associated with cloud computing, where end users in the enterprise turn to Amazon EC2 or other external sources to commission a virtual machine and send it their workloads.

The same concept would speed IT operations if IT managers didn't have to take requests from end users to provision a new server according to their specifications, although most IT managers will keep firm control over the process. "There's nothing an administrator needs to do if he wants to work with the configurations that come out of the box," said Tyler Jewell, senior director of virtualization strategy.

VControl offers an end user a set of options that can be selected, such as one or two virtual CPUs and 4 GB of memory. The user selects an operating system, a storage volume, and a date when the virtual machine is scheduled to go inactive. IT managers can revise the options available as they see fit, said Jewell.

VControl includes a browser-based interface that allows an administrator to perform an action on a single virtual machine or set of VMs, such as a command to decommission all Hyper-V VMs that were initiated on a given date.

VControl also gives the IT manager the chance to build automated workflows to perform scripted tasks for designated sets of virtual machines. The tool has a visual workflow editor that allows an out-of-the-box workflow to be modified with in-house scripts. The workflows can be modified with additional scripts created in PowerShell, Microsoft's scripting language. IT staff can add PowerShell syntax that requires an additional level of management approval before an action is undertaken, for example, Jewell said.

"In order to get virtualization's next gains in efficiency, we have to think about automation," Jewell said.

VControl can perform virtual infrastructure discovery, locating both VMs and their hosts and reporting on virtual assets.

Vizioncore said its vControl is priced at $399 per server socket.

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