VMware aims to simplify management with new suites

A mixture of new and upgraded products will help enterprises virtualize more

VMware hopes to simplify management and help enterprises virtualize more of their infrastructure, with new and updated software suites announced at VMworld Europe in Copenhagen.

The company announced an upgraded version of vCenter Operations Management Suite and new the packages, vFabric Application Management Suite and VMware IT Business Management Suite.

"Our strategy is very clear: we want to reduce the complexity and simplify the challenges that you all face," said Ramin Sayar, vice president of virtualization and cloud management at VMware, speaking at the conference Tuesday.

Many enterprises have virtualized 20 percent to 50 percent of the software suites they use, which isn't enough for VMware, according to Sayar.

"We want you to get to 80, 90 percent virtualized ... and the burden falls on us to provide the tools to do so," said Sayar.

The improvements are to a large extent about making it possible for IT departments to run more efficiently by automating more tasks because doing the same thing over and over again is simply not acceptable, according to Sayar.

The first suite to help VMware realize that strategy is a mixture of new and upgraded tools to handle both configuration and operational tasks backed up by analytics functionality. It's called vCenter Operations Management Suite, and includes Operations Manager 5.0, Infrastructure Navigator 1.0, Chargeback 2.0, Configuration Manager 5.4.1 and a tech preview of Operations for View.

Operations Manager 5.0 has a new user interface that give an overview of how the environment is performing using so-called badges. The primary badges are health, efficiency and risk. The first two give administrators an overall view of how the environment is performing and how efficiently the infrastructure is used. The risk badge gives users a view of what can cause problems and when trouble is expected to start.

The vCenter Infrastructure Navigator 1.0 tool is a new addition to the VMware management suite, available the vCenter Operations Management Suite. The agentless tool will help the IT department to better understand what is running in their environment and what dependencies there are between applications, according to Sayar. That will in turn make troubleshooting easier, he said.

Operations for View is still very much under development and doesn't have a shipping date. However, the tool will have an important role to play as VMware tries to expand the usage of virtual desktops, according to Sayar. The product will give IT the confidence to roll out more desktops, by allowing them to, for example, keep track of performance, compliance and patch levels, he said.

The second management package is vFabric Application Management Suite, which is comprised of two new products: AppDirector 1.0 and Application Performance Manager1.0.

The mission with that package is to streamline and automate how the application development, release, and operations and support teams collaborate in order to improve their effectiveness, according to Sayar. It has been optimized for Spring-based Java applications running on vCloud Director-based cloud infrastructures, but "existing legacy applications that enterprises are looking to modernize and provision on to new virtual workloads" are also a good fit, Sayar said.

The third management suite is the IT Business Management Suite, which is based on technologies from VMware's June 2011 acquisition of Digital Fuel.

The suite will include three modules, IT Finance Manager, IT Service Level Manager and IT Vendor Manager, and the aim is to give CIOs more control over the costs of running their infrastructure.

The updated vCenter Operations Management Suite will be offered in four editions, and is expected to be available in early 2012 with prices starting at US$50 per virtual machine.

The two tools in vFabric Application Management Suite will not arrive at the same time. Application Performance Manager will be available in the fourth quarter 2011 with prices starting at $360 per virtual machine, while the AppDirector is expected to be available in the beginning of next year.

The IT Business Management Suite is also expected to be available this quarter and will be licensed per user, VMware said without detailing the pricing.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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