Open-Source virtualization management coming for KVM, Xen and VMware

If your company runs multiple hypervisors than Convirture's beta of its open-source virtualization management program, ConVirt Enterprise Cloud, which will add VMware to its KVM and Xen capabilities may be just what you need.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor
Convirt 3.2
ConVirt Enterprise Cloud 3.2 promises to let you manage KVM, Xen, and VMware virtual machine hypervisors from one interface.

I like using the right tool for the right problem, but when it comes to running multiple virtualization hypervisors I don't want to run individual management management programs for each one. I want one tool to rule them all. That tool may prove to be Convirture's next version of its open-source ConVirt Enterprise Cloud 3.2 program.

ConVirt Enterprise Cloud is currently used to manage virtual and cloud infrastructures based on the open-source hypervisors KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) and Xen. VMware remains popular on on August 28th, Convirture will release a beta of the program that can manage VMware as well.

Jay Lyman, an analyst for 451 Research, describes ConVirt Enterprise Cloud as a “single management tool for virtualized, private and hybrid cloud infrastructure (Subscription Required) so enterprises and service providers can consolidate the management of their varied resources. With current support for SLES 11 SP2, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and the latest versions of Amazon, Eucalyptus and OpenStack clouds, Convirture plans to add support for CloudStack by the end of 2012. ConVirt Enterprise To further expand beyond open source hypervisors, Convirture is also adding support for VMware vSphere in its products. The company claims that this places it more in a systems management category and while we would still consider it primarily a virtualization and cloud provider, its vSphere support does expand its market to include those relying on VMware and others for systems management.”

Conviture argues—and I don't think anyone could disagree with them—that, “the heterogeneous datacenter is real and is not going away. IT managers are deploying whatever tools they need to get the job done. In the world of virtualization and cloud computing, that means multiple hypervisors--open and proprietary--are being deployed side by side.” That being the case, having a tool that can let you manage all of them from a single interface would be a real time-saver for administrators.

“As datacenters increasingly deploy a mix of technologies, IT managers are looking for a ‘single pane of glass’ to manage all of them, which is what this version of ConVirt Enterprise Cloud offers,” said Arsalan Farooq, founder and CEO of Convirture in a statement. “From our perspective, the hypervisor and cloud wars are meaningless. Whether it’s VMware, KVM, Xen and any of the clouds, organizations just want the best tool for the job.”

Specifically, the ConVirt Enterprise Cloud beta is designed to let system operators manage VMware-based datacenters that employ both ESXi, VMware's bare-iron hypervisor, and vCenter. VMware's own virtualization management program For ESXi users, ConVirt promises central management capabilities that were only previously available with vSphere.

The company claims that besides unified virtual machine management, the new ConVirt Enterprise Cloud will have the following features:

* Centralized Management of ESXi environment: With this release, users can manage their ESXi servers from a central console. ISO-based templates can be used to easily provision multiple virtual machines. Common virtual machine operations like start, stop and connect to VM console are provided within ConVirt.

* Day-to-day management of vCenter environment from ConVirt: Users can discover and manage vCenter deployments.

* Unified virtualization and cloud management: VMware users can centrally manage their virtual servers and cloud platforms, such as Eucalyptus, OpenStack, and Amazon, from a single console.

Besides being able to manage multiple virtualization hypervisors, Conviture is also playing the cost card. In a statement, Farooq also said that “ESXi is a powerful platform but until now the only way to manage it to its full potential was by paying VMware for its management layer. With ConVirt, we can provide users with a management layer that also brings in Xen, KVM and all cloud platforms. It will deliver the everyday needs for their ongoing, day-to-day management of virtual environments.”

At the same time, Convirture admits “For organizations that are already using vCenter, ConVirt Enterprise Cloud works in concert with it. VCenter is still there for the more granular management needs, but ConVirt can handle many of the most commonly executed tasks.”

Will that be enough to make it worth buying? Well you will be able to download a beta of ConVirt Enterprise Cloud from a link on the company's main Web site later this month to see for yourself.

The finished program will be available in the fourth quarter of 2012, at which time pricing will be announced. Today, ConVirt Enterprise Cloud is sold on a yearly subscription basis, and the price is keyed to the number of sockets used in an organization's on-premises infrastructure. The price starts at over $400 per socket for up to 20 sockets, with discounts for larger numbers.

The freely , open-source version currently lacks the high availability, backup, storage and networking automation, and cloud management functionality. These features are included in the Enterprise editions of the product.

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