Novell extends workload management to Linux

Novell Inc. announced Tuesday new versions of three of its PlateSpin virtualization workload management offerings with new capabilities like extended support for Linux environments and Windows clusters protection. The news is part of Novell’s Intelligent Workload Management strategy that one analyst said still contains several unknowns at this point.


The new versions are available for PlateSpin Migrate, PlateSpin Protect and PlateSpin Forge. Novell acquired Toronto-based data centre management technology vendor PlateSpin Ltd. in 2008.


PlateSpin Migrate version 9 can now perform live workload migrations in Linux environments. Prior to this, PlateSpin Migrate could only do offline migrations for Linux, meaning the IT admin would have to first bring down the workload in order to move or copy it, said Jan Kotowski, technical product manager. “There are great benefits for those who don’t want to interrupt business operations,” said Kotowski.


Also, version 9 now supports Windows clusters migrations, which are typically mission critical workloads, said Kotowski.


PlateSpin Migrate can perform migrations across various operating systems including Windows, Linux and Solaris from physical to virtual, virtual to physical, and physical to physical.


PlateSpin Protect version 10, which replicates and recovers whole server workloads, now offers support for Linux workloads, whereas it was only for Windows workloads before. “It’s a very cost-effective way to protect clusters … if the whole site goes down where all the nodes of the cluster go down, how do you protect that cluster?” said Kotowski.


PlateSpin Forge version 3, a hardware appliance based on PlateSpin Protect as the engine and otherwise known as “disaster recovery in a box,” can also protect Linux workloads. Also, version 3 comes with some enhanced specifications: the base model has 32 gigs of RAM compared to 16 for the same price, and the internal storage capacity is now 3.5 terabytes compared to 2.5, and include remote access card, and iSCSI SAN initiator, and base configuration for the same price.


PlateSpin Forge also now has support for Windows clusters protection.


Such workload management offerings are particularly relevant given organizations are increasingly moving towards cloud computing, said Kotowski.


Cloud computing is part of a strategy, Intelligent Workload Management, announced by Novell last December that’s about helping IT departments manage, secure, build and migrate workloads across different flavours of IT environments.


“Virtualization is a stepping stone to the cloud because when a workload is stuck on a physical server you can’t do anything with that,” said Kotowski.


Novell’s Intelligent Workload Management initiative will likely garner interest from the company’s existing customers who are virtualizing servers and also the catch the eye of non-Novell customers, said James Staten, principal analyst at Framingham, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc.


“Today, the workload is moving around,” said Staten. “You might shift it to New York, for instance, if your main usage is there, and traditional firewalling and identity management aren’t enough anymore.”


Staten said it’s not entirely clear how Novell’s initiative will play out exactly, but it does present a strong argument for workload management in a virtualized environment.


–With files from Ellen Messmer, NetworkWorld U.S.


Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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