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Virtual Meets Physical

Novell also said that it has converged, integrated, and expanded its ZENworks systems management tools and its PlateSpin virtualization management tools. Novell, you will recall, acquired PlateSpin in February for $205m to give it a cross-platform play in the burgeoning server virtualization space, with a specific emphasis on the management of virtual machines. The ZENworks products were for managing physical servers.

Now, according to Richard Whitehead, Novell's director of marketing for data center solutions, these two toolsets are being combined to do both physical and virtual servers and to cover the complete lineup of operating systems and hypervisors while at the same time being rebranded as the PlateSpin Workload Management suite.

The suite has four components, which can be used to manage 32-bit and 64-bit variants of Linux and Windows and which support VMware's ESX Server and ESX 3i, Microsoft's Hyper-V and Virtual Server, Novell's implementation of Xen (inside SLES 10), and Citrix Systems' XenServer hypervisors. Many of the four components in the stack only supported some of these before Novell acquired PlateSpin and got to work.

The first component of the integrated stack is PlateSpin Migrate, which is a rev of the PowerConvert tool that PlateSpin sold for converting physical servers to virtual machines, virtual machines to physical ones, or changing from one VM to another. PlateSpin was big on VMware, but the tool now supports the other hypervisors above.

PlateSpin Protect is another part of the PowerConvert tool, which is a VM backup and recovery tool that can take a snapshot of a running VM and its software stack and use that snapshot for recovery purposes. PlateSpin Recon is a rev of the workload profiling and planning tool that has been updated to support the new hypervisors, too. And finally, there is PlateSpin Orchestrate, which is the core ZENworks tool which is used to manage physical and virtual server and storage resources and their allocation in a network of machines.

The first three bits of the PlateSpin suite are available now, and Novell is putting the finishing touches on the updated Orchestrate tool for delivery in the first quarter of 2009.

The key PlateSpin products are priced based on a workload, which means an operating system and its software stack, and you can move it around, virtualizing, or not, as you see fit and not pay any extra money for it. Platform Migrate costs $275 per workload, while the Protect backup and recovery tool costs $795 for a standard edition and $1,495 for an enterprise edition with more bells and whistles.

PlateSpin Recon costs $299 per server (since it runs on a single machine) and with an extra planning module, it costs $399. Pricing for the updated Orchestrate, due early next year, have not been announced yet. ®

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