IBM releases virtualisation dashboard

New product works with different types of virtualisation software

IBM has introduced a new tool to manage virtualised datacentres even if the centre is running different types of virtualisation software.

IBM’s Virtualisation Manager uses a web-based dashboard for managing different portions of a datacentre as one whole system.

It will simultaneously run virtualisation software from vendors such as VMware, Microsoft and XenSource as well as for IBM’s System p and System i servers and storage devices.

VMware products specialise in virtualisation on x86-standard servers, while Microsoft Virtual Server manages servers running Windows, and XenSource virtualises open source systems.

Virtualisation Manager will give those who run datacentres better control of systems from those different vendors, says Peter McCaffrey, director of virtualisation strategy for IBM.

“You need to better manage the environment if you’re going to get the full advantage of virtualisation,” McCaffrey says.

Virtualisation is a method of improving the performance of datacentres by running several software applications, even if they are based on different operating systems, on the same physical server. Because some servers deployed today operate at as little as 10-20% of capacity, virtualisation reduces the need to buy more servers.

Because Virtualisation Manager is web-based, the datacentre can be managed from wherever ICT staff have web access and the easy-to-navigate user interface helps reduces operating as well as capital expenses, McCaffrey says.

Virtualisation Manager is a free software download for customers who already operate IBM servers on their networks, even if they also run other brands.

Such virtualisation management products can help reduce labour expenses, one of the major cost areas for datacentres, says Joe Clabby, president of Clabby Analytics, an information technology research and analysis firm.

“Management of systems is a very expensive operation,” says Clabby, adding that if a simpler management system is available, organisations can use lower-skilled and lower-paid people to manage a virtualised environment.

“That savings on their SGA, sales, and general and administrative expenses goes right to the bottom line.”

IBM boasts the advantages its product has over those from other tech companies but a VMware executive says the whole industry is moving in the direction of simplified management of virtualisation technology.

“All these management vendors are looking at how virtualisation is deployed in the datacentre,” says Steve Harrod, vice president of technology deployment at VMware, adding that, over time, “you will get basic management capability in a standard form”.

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