Ottawa firm brings VM monitoring to end users

Ottawa-based Embotics Corp. hasadded a slew of new features to its flagship virtualization management software,including a self-service portal that will let non-IT staff receive real-timereports on their virtual machines.

Released on Tuesday, the latestversion of V-Commander aims to give both IT administrators and selectstakeholders a complete view into their virtual environments. The tool letsusers run analysis reports, request and manage virtual machines, set automaticpolicy alerts, and if granted permission, power VMs on and off.

David Lynch, vice president ofmarketing for Embotics, said that with many IT shops stretched thin onresources and virtualization expertise, letting end users access their own VMreports can save an administrator a lot of time and energy. The self-serviceportal will show these users which VMs fall under their authorization and allowthem to generate reports without the assistance of IT staff, he said.

“They can see all the VMs, getthe ability to run reports on those VMs, request a new VM, organize themdifferently, and sort them by level of service,” Lynch said. “All the informationis in real-time, so if you request a new VM, it goes to the administrator andthe moment it goes into the environment you see it in the portal.”

He added that the end users onlysee the VMs and not the infrastructure or hosts the machines are running on.

Lynch said the first customersusing the new V-Commander have rolled it out to their security teams, line ofbusiness managers, and budget allocation committees. These departmentstypically want to keep tabs on the status of their VMs, any changes being made,what the cost is, and how their environment is growing, he said.

Another significant addition toV-Commander, according to Lynch, is the new capacity management features. Thisupdate will let users generate reports regarding their current workload on aparticular host or cluster, determine how many more VMs they can run in theirenvironment, and predict when they’re going to run out of resources.

Other updates include morescheduled reporting options, external VM data importing features, and aconfigurable dashboard.

With the external data importingfeature, Lynch said, IT staff will now easily be able to take VM attributesstored in tracking spreadsheets and input them into the V-Commander software.

The last major update toV-Commander came last year when the company broke up the software into threemodules (inventory management, resource management, and risk management) inorder to sell V-Commander to companies at various stages of virtualizationdeployment.

At that time, Gary Chen, researchmanager of enterprise virtualization software for IDC Corp., was impressed withEmbotics moved to offer modules because it would give Embotics the ability tosell V-Commander to less advanced deployments.

“Their products were mainly foradvanced enterprises that had achieved a certain level of virtualization scaleand complexity which compounds the (virtual sprawl) problems,” he said. “Nowthey can hit the shops that are just beginning or have more basic deploymentswith a smaller starting price and let them add on as they grow. And hopefullyprevent some of these problems in the first place.”

Chen added that despite Embotics’historical focus on large shops, VM management is important for any enterpriseutilizing virtualization.

VM management tools have seensuch a rise in popularity over the last year that some management apps haveeven moved to tablet PCs. In April, Wyse’s PocketCloud and Citrix’s Receiverapp were released to iPad users looking to reboot VMs from the road.

Embotics will demonstrate the newestV-Commander product in VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V environments at next week’sVMworld 2010 conference in SanFrancisco. The solution is generally available now forVMware users, with heterogeneous virtualization platform support commerciallyavailable in the fourth quarter of 2010.

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