Physical server specialist HP and virtual server counterpart VMWare have introduced management tools that the companies claim will make it easier to manage both types of computing environment.
Announced on Tuesday at VMworld 2009 in San Francisco, HP Insight Control for VMware vCenter Server is designed to provide greater integration between physical and virtual environments, the companies said. The companies have a longstanding technology relationship that has resulted in VMware's virtualisation products being tailored to HP's ProLiant and BladeSystem servers.
"HP Insight Control for VMware vCenter Server combines two industry-leading management solutions to offer customers the best of both worlds through 'single-pane-of-glass' infrastructure management.," said Raghu Raghuram, general manager of the server business unit at VMware in a statement. The partners have a longstanding relationship on technology collaboration, he noted.
The combined management console promises to provide benefits such as cutting downtime by up to 77 percent, thanks to integration between the two systems. "If HP tools detect a potential failure, an alarm is passed to the VMware vCenter console, placing the server in maintenance mode while VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler, a component of VMware vSphere 4, automatically relocates the virtualised workload to a different host," the companies said.
As the tools simplify the management of virtual systems and their physical counterparts, HP and VMware maintain that businesses should be able to reassign staff from focusing on day-to-day monitoring of server systems. "Customers will be able to improve operational efficiencies by spending less time on maintenance issues and more time building out solutions,” Raghuram said.
The HP Insight Control console is expected to go on sale in the first quarter of next year.
VMware competitors such as Microsoft have cited the issue of complex management as one of the chief problems with products from virtualisation specialists to date. Speaking late last year, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said that until his company entered the market with its Hyper-V hypervisor offering, virtualisation software had been expensive and difficult to manage. Earlier this week, Microsoft released the latest version of Hyper-V, which the company said includes new functionality for the live migration of servers.
Microsoft and VMware are not the only companies tackling the complexity of managing virtual environments. Open-source specialist Red Hat is developing its own Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager for Servers, which it has said will allow management across servers, desktops and other devices. In June, software firm Tripwire launched vWire, a VMware management tool which it said was designed to reduce downtime in virtualised environments by allowing administrators to monitor configurations and correlate data.
Despite the availability of a wide range of virtualisation management tools, analysts believe that enterprises will not be able to have all their needs met by one vendor. "There is a growing number of management providers, which represents an opportunity for end-user pricing leverage, but no vendor offers a complete set of server virtualisation management functionality," said Phil Dawson, research vice president at analyst firm Gartner, in a statement earlier this year. "IT organisations will have to undertake — or outsource — their own virtualisation management system integration efforts or wait for better-integrated and robust toolsets."
According to Gartner, worldwide virtualisation software revenue will increase 43 per cent from $1.9bn (£1.17bn) in 2008 to $2.7bn in 2009, driven by companies seeking to cut back on the total cost of ownership of their IT systems amid the downturn, as well as to potentially cut carbon emissions by using less energy-hungry physical infrastructure.