B-hive is a privately held company founded in 2005 and based in San Mateo, Calif., and Herzliya, Israel. Acquiring the firm will allow VMware to keep the B-hive engineering team in place and open a development facility in Israel, "giving us a foothold to access Israeli software development talent," said Bogomil Balkansky, VMware's senior director.
B-hive's flagship product, B-hive Conductor, monitors an application from the network, measuring the response time between a user action and an application response. Such monitoring watches the application from an end-user point of view instead of a systems management point of view, with emphasis on responsiveness. Monitoring from the network requires no agent to be placed on the application, minimizing the overhead of the performance measurement process.
B-hive's monitoring can be applied to unvirtualized or virtualized applications, but VMware is clearly interested in what the product brings to a virtualized infrastructure. Balkansky said a B-hive can not only sense when an application is slowing down but, in VMware's Virtual Infrastructure 3 setting, can take action to remedy it.
The B-hive alert that an application run by a particular virtual machine is slowing down will trigger a reaction from VMware Infrastructure 3's Distributed Resource Scheduler. It may decide to move the virtual machine to a less-trafficked server, or it may decide to allocate more of the resources on the existing server to the virtual machine. It could also decide to clone additional virtual machines with the same application to start handling some of the incoming traffic.
"We're talking about a groundbreaking capability in managing data center servers. It's only possible if you've got a virtualized infrastructure," Balkansky said in an interview.
B-hive not only watches application responses times between users and virtual machines on a given server but also response times among the application and related databases, Web servers, and other interdependent software parts operating in virtual machines under VMware's ESX hypervisor. If the problem lies with one of them, it can pinpoint it, Balkansky said.
It's too early to say whether VMware will keep B-hive as a separate product after the acquisition is completed or integrate it into its Virtual Center and Virtual Infrastructure 3 management tools. But Balkansky claimed B-hive will one day represent "the power of virtualization to enable new management capabilities in the data center."