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Convirture revs up cloudy control freak

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Convirture is revving up its ConVirt family of server virtualization and cloud management tools to the 3.0.1 level, supporting more operating systems and public clouds, and also including a free trial of its Enterprise Cloud edition.

Convirtue is among a legion of virtualization and cloud control freaks that have been coming out of the woodwork in the past several years. It was founded in 2006 by Arsalan Farooq, currently chief executive officer of Convirture, and Jaydeep Marfatia, executive vice president at the company.

The company kept a low profile until this year, when its Convirt 2.0 Enterprise edition, which has an open core but closed source extensions, was announced back in July.

Convirtue debuted a Enterprise Cloud edition back in August. The latter is a superset of the former – and in either case, ConVirt is used to manage operating system guests atop Xen or KVM hypervisors.

Convirture also distributes an Open Source edition, which provides basic administration of a Xen or KVM hypervisor using a web interface that front-ends a repository, and has an agentless architecture for managing hypervisors and VMs. It allows multiple administrators to share responsibility for a pool of servers and has a templating system for provisioning VM images so they all do things the same way – iIn theory, at least.

The Open Source edition also has an application appliance browser, does thin storage provisioning for VMs, provides historical usage data and configuration information for VMs, and does drag-and-drop live migration of VMs. You have to rely on community support for the open source version of the control freak, but you can get incident support from Convirture for $2,495 per year for an unlimited number of servers and incidents if you only want to use this tool.

The Enterprise edition of the ConVirt control freak is neither free nor open source, and it has timetable-based provisioning and decommissioning of VMs, much like a job scheduler for a supercomputer cluster that has to juggle many jobs at once. It also has role-based access control for admins and multi-tenant security, a command line interface, access to programmable APIs, and high availability and disaster recovery overlays for the Xen and KVM hypervisors, resource limiting, a virtual appliance catalog for self-service VM deployment, and alerting and notification for admins when something goes haywire.

The Enterprise edition also does scheduled and online backups of VM snapshots, and can restore images when something goes awry. ConVirt Enterprise costs $1,495 per host for up to ten hosts, with volume discounts beyond that.

With the ConVirt 3.0.1 release, which came out on Monday, the Enterprise edition is certified to manage Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 and CentOS 6.0, as well as Canonical's Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS and SUSE Linux's SLES 11 SP1. Earlier versions of the Convirture control freak supported earlier releases of CentOS, RHEL, SLES, and Ubuntu on either Xen or KVM hypervisors (sometimes both). Debian 5.0 is also supported on KVM.

The Enterprise Cloud Edition can control VMs running on Amazon's EC2 public cloud or public or private clouds that are based on the OpenStack 1.0 or Eucalyptus 2.0.2 cloud fabrics. Starting with the 3.0.1 release, Convirture is giving away a free trial version of the Enterprise Cloud edition, which you can download here to take it for a spin. Pricing has not been divulged for the Enterprise Cloud tool. ®

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