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IBM Offers Management Tool For Virtual And Physical Servers

While it won't do everything, IBM says its new tool can manage and virtualize about 80% of a heterogeneous data center.

Charles Babcock

November 2, 2006

2 Min Read

Virtualization users say they wish they could manage virtual machines with the same tools they use to manage physical servers. Some are looking to their virtualization vendors for help. But IBM is offering an approach that pairs up its traditional systems management technology with cross-platform virtualization management.

The announcement stops short of proclaiming one management console for both physical and virtual assets. But IBM says its road map is taking it in that direction. "Today IBM would claim we can manage and virtualize about 80% of a heterogeneous data center," says Rich Lechner, VP of virtualization.

IBM on Thursday introduced Virtualization Manager, a Web-based browser dashboard that can view and manage IBM Virtualization Engine's virtual machines across IBM's line of servers, including the zSeries mainframe and System i and System p servers running IBM's Power chip. The Virtualization Manager's reach can also extend into the x86 instruction set world of AMD and Intel servers, with support for managing virtual machines generated by VMware, open source Xen, and Microsoft Virtual Server.

For users of market leader VMware's Virtual Center management tools, IBM will integrate feedback from Virtual Center into its existing IBM Director Release 5.2, its physical systems management software. By incorporating Virtual Center's view of virtual machines, Director 5.2 can offer a browser-based dashboard that becomes a single point of management for the two sets of assets.

"The cost of administering increasingly complex systems is growing faster than the cost of new hardware. System management is the next frontier of virtualization," says Lechner.

Director 5.2 will also work with the major systems management consoles, such as IBM's own Tivoli, Computer Associates' CA-Unicenter, HP's OpenView, and BMC Software's Patrol.

IBM said it's investing heavily in virtualization management tools because its customer base is adopting virtualization at an accelerating pace. Over 55% of its customers have implemented virtualization in one form or another, or plan to do so over the coming year, Lechner says.

They don't want to learn a specialized virtualization toolset for managing virtual machines. "They're looking for integrated tools rather than taking on another toolset," he says.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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