VMware ships long-awaited capacity planning tool

VMware Inc. has finally released VMware vCenter CapacityIQ, a long-anticipated forecasting and capacity management tool which will give IT administrators the ability to optimize and predict capacity needs in virtual environments.

In addition to being able to view and analyze historical data and graphs, CapacityIQ will actively track resource usage patterns and automatically generate a list of VMs that are being overworked. Administrators will be able use this data to determine the size and allotment capacity of each VM and accurately predict where they can shift future workloads, instead of purchasing new compute capacity.

Nicolas Jacques, group manager of product marketing at VMware, said that because many IT shops have virtualized a significant amount of their environments, administrators want tools that give them a more “scientific look” at capacity management.

“You can easily do a forecast with 30 VMs, but it won’t be so easy with 300 machines,” he said.

Jacques also hyped the tool’s risk assessment capabilities, which he said will model how certain applications are growing and the effect they will have on capacity needs. This will allow organizations to better plan for the future and avoid potential service disruptions when acting on their CapacityIQ data.

James Staten, a principal analyst with Forrester Research Inc., said that VMware customers will be glad to know CapacityIQ is finally being shipped as the company has been hyping the product for over a year.

“It’s a necessary addition to their suite of management tools as third parties have been providing capacity planning tools for the VMware environment for some time,” he said, singling out VKernel as a leader in the space, with HP Co., Novell Inc.’s Platespin and DynamicOps also providing capacity planning tools.

As for CapacityIQ’s comparison to other tools in the market, which many VMware customers have had to turn to while waiting for CapacityIQ, Staten said the release will be typical of a 1.0 product.

Underscoring the fact that this is a first release, VMware noted that CapacityIQ does not support VMware vSphere 4.0 or vCenter 4.0 environments. The tool will only be supported for VirtualCenter 2.5 users managing VMs running on ESX Server 3.0.2 through 2.5.

“It does a fine job of basic capacity planning, but not some of the advanced features you will see in other tools,” Staten said. “Enterprises will want to wait until this tool has more of a track record behind it before adopting.”

According to Jacques, while there are other tools on the market, the vast majority of virtualization shops are not taking advantage of any capacity management products. The fact that CapacityIQ will only continue to be further integrated with the rest of VMware’s family of products should also help differentiate it from the competition, he added.

The CapacityIQ tool is available now to Canadian customers at a cost of US $995 per computer.

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