New Novell software manages multiple hypervisors

Novell Inc. on Monday launched new software that will let IT administrators manage virtual workloads running on multiple hypervisors from one management tool.

The company’s Cloud Manager software aims to help organizations that are using or plan to use multiple hypervisors to run their private cloud environment. Using one management console, Novell said IT staff can control virtual resources on VMware, Microsoft and Citrix virtualization technologies.

In addition to managing multiple hypervisors, Cloud Manager also includes a feature that will let IT package up virtualization services into service catalogs which can be easily provisioned by end users.

Ross Chevalier, president of Novell Canada, said rather than have IT departments uniquely package services upon a user request, the service catalog feature will let administrators put together service packages ahead of time to substantially reduce provisioning times.

“So I can offer the following operating systems, the following levels of CPU performance, the following levels of memory availability, and so on,” Chevalier said.

“Cloud Manager provides the interface for the business units to select the components they need and allows them to build it in real-time,” he added.

Chevalier said that instead of taking six months to a year, IT will be able to deploy services in the amount of time it takes for end users to get through their approval process. The self-service process will also allow business units to better manage their costs as they will only pay for the resources they use.

Along with multiple hypervisor support, Cloud Manager also supports multiple operating systems, including SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Microsoft Windows Server and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Novell’s target market, according to Chevalier, will not be limited to IT shops that are deep into server virtualization. The company will also be targeted organizations that are new to virtualization, he said, because the software can help them avoid some of the “pitfalls” that early virtualization adopters are now experiencing, including virtual sprawl.

Novell is also working with cloud service firms such as Amazon EC2 to enable Cloud Manager integration with external cloud services. In the future, Novell hopes Cloud Manager will support any public cloud service a customer wishes to use.

Chris Wolf, a research vice-president with Gartner Inc., said he likes the Cloud Manager product and sees it as a “more complete” offering than many of the other cloud automation tools already on the market.

“The provisioning engine is nice, and the service level management and enforcement capabilities are solid as well,” he said. “It’s clear to me that Novell put a lot of thought into Cloud Manager. The technology is solid.”

Wolf said the biggest challenge for Novell is getting the technology in front of customers. The only way to do this is to get aggressive with their key hardware and software partners and strengthen their relationships with cloud providers.

“A great platform is nice, but it’s often the ecosystem around the platform that wins over customers,” he said. “How well Novell crafts that ecosystem will likely determine the success of what is a very good product in my opinion.”

Novell’s management software should sound similar to IT administrators following VMworld 2010, which was held earlier this month in San Francisco. VMware’s big news from the show was the introduction of vCloud Director, a piece of software that runs on vSphere and gives IT managers a single platform for running apps in a hybrid cloud environment.

The virtualization giant said the software will let IT package virtual computing pools together as an infrastructure service comprised of power, storage and networking resources. VMware also shares a similar vision to Novell, in that it wants IT managers to bring together and simplify the way organizations manage in-house and hosted apps.

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