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VMware unveils vSphere cloud management plan

vCenter Operations trio named

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VMware is planning products and services it says will help you manage clouds anchored on its virtualization layer.

On Tuesday, the company announced vCenter Operations, a set of planned products and – warning: marketing buzzword alert – "solutions". vCenter Operations will help manage the performance, capacity, and configuration management of virtualized environments built on its products.

The vCenter Operations concept is designed specifically to help VMware customers manage products that the virtualization giant has built and acquired in the last few years.

The lynchpin is vSphere. vCenter Operations will be "tightly integrated" with VMware's vSphere server hypervisor and stack to understand storage, network, and VM performance, the company said.

vCenter Operation will: "Collect data from its underlying physical components (servers, storage, network) as well as other management tools within the enterprise," according to VMware.

Product and service features are scarce, with VMware talking "capabilities", dates, and pricing instead.

VMware's promised vCenter Operations will come in three editions: Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise. Standard will provide performance-management with what it called capacity and change awareness for vSphere environments. Advanced will include "advanced" capacity-analytics and planning, and Enterprise will offer performance with capacity and configuration-management for virtual and physical environments, and include customizable dashboards.

The first editions will be available later this quarter with prices starting at $50 per VM.

As for "capabilities", the giant's promised vCenter Operations will combine management and analytics with information presented through real-time dashboards so you can monitor and tune the health of your virtualized environments in order to meet compliance and service-level requirements.

It's tempting to see VMware's cloud-management play as competition with system-management frameworks from enterprise giants such as IBM, Computer Associates, HP, and BMC.

VMware is certainly bigging-up vCenter Operations with its talk about how it'll help you meet service-level agreements and compliance requirements, and tune your environment using smart alerts and customizable dashboards.

But these are potted concepts and phrases that big vendors like to dip into when making what they've decided is a major strategic decision of significant importance to the enterprise.

By talking products and suitably vague "solutions", VMware is clearly in the same ballpark as IBM and the rest when it comes to wanting to build a franchise for which customers need consultants and partners to help them configure the product, or from whom they buy related services. Also, vCenter Operations helps VMware when it tells CIO and CFO types that it has a management strategy for a lot of the software it has built or bought.

Unlike the others, though, VMware is tailoring vCenter Operations to one environment: its own vSphere. VMware's shtick right now is to turn the hypervisor into an operating environment for the cloud, and to build apps on top of that tuned to vSphere.

Before VMware can really claim to be in the same field as frameworks such as IBM's Tivoli, though, it'll need to deliver a lot of matching functionality on the management and analytics side, and VMware will have to think about how it works with non-virtualized software,

If it doesn't, vCenter Operations will become another management island tuned to its owner's software stack rather than the kind of broad framework for managing whole IT environments that VMware clearly wants. ®

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