Novell Launches Cross Hypervisor Cloud Manager

System declutters private cloud resources and generates workloads on virtual machines from multiple vendors.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

September 15, 2010

3 Min Read

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Novell has launched Cloud Manager, a system for managing private cloud resources that can use more than one brand of hypervisor to organize clustered resources.

Novell Cloud Manager can be used to generate workloads to be run in virtual machines that are managed by Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor, VMware's ESX Server and vSphere, or the open source Xen hypervisor. Many cloud environments, public or private, require adherence to the use of one hypervisor. For example, Amazon's EC2 uses Amazon Machine Images or AMIs, a proprietary form of Xen-based virtual machines.

Most IT shops will have VMware virtual machines as a data center server technology, but lines of business often adopt Hyper-V as a readily available form of virtualization built into the Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 operating system. In some cases, an open source hypervisor might be used by developers to hold down the cost of a software project. Many enterprises will end up with a mix of hypervisors, whether the IT staff plans to do so or not, said Richard Whitehead, director of intelligent workload management products at Novell.

Nevertheless, cloud initiatives from virtualization vendors, such as VMware's vCloud Express, are inevitably based on implementations of their own hypervisor.

Novell will stay hypervisor agnostic, Whitehead said. "We're not a hypervisor vendor. We partner with VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix," he said. Novell Cloud Manager doesn't yet support Citrix Systems' XenServer, but it is the next hypervisor targeted for support, he said in an interview.

In addition, Novell Cloud Manager supports different operating systems in the creation of workloads. It will support Novell's own SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Windows Server.

Novell Cloud Manager "sits on top of existing virtualized infrastructure and adds a service catalog of preferred server templates, metering, self provisioning," and other management features for virtualized resources, said Whitehead.

By relying on the templates instead of building a large variety of virtual servers to order, the time it takes to provision a workload is shortened, said Ben Grubin, data center solution marketing manager, in an interview.

Cloud manager can have an impact on costs by giving users graded options to choose from, then exposing the cost of those options. If a user feels it's vital to have continuous availability and wants a standby system maintained for instant failover, the cost of that can be aired through the management interface and help restrict users to just the resources they need, Grubin said. The cost of virtual network connections and virtual machine disk space are included in the cost accounting, as well as server CPU and memory.

A virtual infrastructure manager is given the flexibility to apply different pricing options to different user groups, he said. Scientific researchers in some organizations might be encouraged to use more computing through lower prices, while line-of-business users might be more strictly charged for attempting to implement the same resources.

Cloud Manager can enforce internal approval processes and best practices cited by the information technology infrastructure library (ITIL). Security profiles can be applied by user, group, workload, or business service levels, he said.

Whitehead agreed that Microsoft was building many management features into its combination of Virtual Machine Manager, a component of Systems Center, and Hyper-V. But he claimed that "Microsoft will always give a lot of preference to its own platform. It won't manage across multiple hypervisors as well as a pure play, management vendor will," he said.

Novell is competing with Nimbula, Eucalyptus Systems, and with its private cloud management system.

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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