As I mentioned in my post, Overview of Novell's views on virtualization and again in my post, Conversations with Cassatt and Marathon, Thoughts on Novell and Red Hat, Novell appears to be focusing a great deal of attention on managing virtualized environments not just the tools of virtualization themselves. Along those lines, I had an opportunity to view a demo of Novell ZENworks Orchestrator presented by Richard Whitehead and Alan Murray of Novell the other day. Thanks guys for the interesting and informative session!
ZENWorks Orchestrator is a Java application that uses Python for the job definition language (JDL) to create built-in components and extensions. It can operate inside of management frameworks or as a separate tool for management of heterogeneous virtual machines. It appears that Novell has big plans for this technology and appears to be laying a foundation for a more comprehensive set of solutions in the future.
Novell is making an attempt to address one of the issues that is raised by the use of virtual machine software, the replacing of physical machine sprawl with an even more difficult to manage virtual machine sprawl.
Novell ZENworks Orchestrator takes an inventory of both the physical and virtual machines on the local network and then applies a rules-based/policy based approach to managing and scheduling tasks on this network. An interesting wrinkle is that Novell has made provisions for reporting on this use and for billing for this use.
I was impressed with the simplicity of this tool and could easily envision IT administrators putting this tool to work. I was also impressed with the fact that Novell realized that large organizations and some medium sized organizations have already deployed a management framework and has designed Orchestrator to fit into those frameworks.