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GaleForce control freak paints clouds KVM red

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Gale Technologies, one of the many companies that wants to manage your private and public clouds, has revved up its GaleForce cloud control freak to 6.0, and is improving its support for XenServer-based clouds and adding KVM to the mix.

While many cloud control tool vendors are coming at the market for a heritage in systems management, or expanding out from their basic hypervisor functions to add control freakery layers above them, Gale Technologies is a little different in that it is coming at clouds from the network-provisioning space to encompass servers and storage.

Gale Technologies, as El Reg discussed when GaleForce 5.3 was launched last March, was created in June 2008 from the assets of lab management and network tool providers Edentree Technologies and QuickCycle. These two companies had expertise in spinning up and tearing down development and test environments so networks could be stressed, and so the idea was to apply this in production to allow any physical or virtual server, as well as any other device on the network, to be provisioned and managed from a central tool.

Unlike many cloud controllers, GaleForce works on physical servers as well as virtual ones, so if you have a mix of boxes you don't have to use two different sets of tools.

With last year's GaleForce 5.3 release, the cloudy control freak had 130 resource adapters, agents that allow GaleForce to interface with the management features of a particular server, storage, or network device.

The adapters covered the usual suspects of popular physical and virtual iron: servers from HP, Dell, IBM, and Oracle; storage arrays from NetApp and EMC; network switches from Cisco Systems, Juniper, HP, Dell, F5 Networks, Redback; storage area networking switches from Cisco and Brocade Communications; ESXi and XenServer hypervisors from VMware and Citrix; power controllers for the data center from Avocent, APC, MRV. WTI, and others; and public clouds such as Amazon's EC2 and Rackspace Hosting's eponymous Cloud.

With GaleForce 6.0, as you can see in the release notes (PDF), there are 15 new resource adapters, including ones for Red Hat's KVM hypervisor, VMware's vCloud Director, and Cisco Systems' Unified Computing System blade and rack servers as well as the networking giant's Nexus 5000 and 7000 converged Ethernet switches, the Nexus 1000v virtual switch, and the MDS multilayer fabric switches.

Additional HP ProLiant servers can now take their marching orders from GaleForce, as can additional switchery from Juniper. Gale Technologies has also enhanced its integration with the XenServer hypervisor from Citrix.

The update also includes the ability to provision bare-metal servers with VMware's ESXi 4 and 5 hypervisors, not just take control of existing machines that have been virtualized by VMware's hypervisor. And GaleForce 6.0 has tighter integration with the vCenter management console for ESXi so it can discover, manage, suspend, resume, snapshot, relocate, access, and report on utilization for VMs running atop ESXi.

Gale Technologies is a management tool and is perfectly happy for monitoring tools from VMware (vCenter Operations Manager mainly) and Zenoss (there's a slew of different tools for network and systems monitoring) to plug into GaleForce.

With the 6.0 release, GaleForce is also integrating with fellow startup Cloud Cruiser's Cloud Optimizer, which is used for chargeback and showback so that divisions, departments, and users can be charged for the IT resources in this cloudy world we all live in.

The GaleForce cloud control freak – technically, the controller server – is sold in a base package that spans 15 physical devices with licenses for up to 60 virtual machines. It costs $50,000, including two days of professional services for setting it up, and training for admins and users. That price also includes one year of support. This controller server can span thousands of different resources on your network, from VMs to switches.

No word yet on when GaleForce will support Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor and hook into its Systems Center management tools, or when other flavors of KVM and Xen might be supported. Integration with OpenStack clouds and maybe even Eucalyptus clouds might be on the to-do list as well. ®

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