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Update: 4 More Free Tools for vSphere
Not the same ol' "Free Tools" session; we cover new tools that have come out since VMworld.
At the last couple of VMworld conferences, Kendrick Coleman and I presented the best free tools for vSphere. At VMworld 2011, we had overwhelming turnout and spoke to about a thousand people. To accommodate everyone's interest in free tools, Coleman and I will be presenting two webinars highlighting some of the newer free tools in the coming weeks (check out the link at the end of this article for registration and details).
While some of you might be assuming that our webinars will revisit familiar ground, I should point out that there are a number of changes to the free tools landscape every month. Each time we give this session, the list of tools is updated with a new crop of free tools; in fact, one of the best things about this session is that we always have new tools to talk about. Already since our VMworld presentation we have a few new additions to talk about:
Thinware vBackup -- I found out about this free vSphere backup tool at VMworld 2011. The current version is effectively a GUI for the older VMware Consolidated Backup (which you have to install separately). The developers plan to take advantage of the vCenter API for Data Protection, which is used by all enterprise-grade virtualization backup tools today, in a future release. Still, if you just need a simple vSphere backup tool, vBackup is the only completely free option I'm aware of.
Figure 1. vBackup offers a simple, clean GUI interface for VMware Consolidated Backup. (Click image to view larger version.)
vKernel vSCOPE -- This tool is deployed as a virtual appliance and can quickly tell you where there is contention across one or more virtual infrastructures. It does this in terms of performance, capacity and efficiency. Fig. 2 shows my two vSphere 5 lab servers; vSCOPE tells me that I will soon run out of memory. Okay, this tool isn't in general release yet, but the developers said it will be out on Oct. 26th.
Figure 2. vSCOPE keeps tabs on my vSphere lab servers so I don't have to. (Click image to view larger version.)
New tools from VMware Labs -- VMware continues to offer more and more free tools via Labs.VMware.com. Additions include a new vSphere iPad Client that offers vMotion support; Perspectives Plugin for vCenter Orchestrator; PXE Manager for vCenter; Ruby vSphere Client; and VMware Permissions Tool.
Finally, here's an inexpensive (but not quite 100-percent free) tool that I just found out about last week at TechMentor 2011: Quest Distributed Monkey Engine. It's a new software as a service vSphere management option where you can get started monitoring performance and capacity of your virtual infrastructure. It allows you to anonymously and securely compare your virtual infrastructure performance with others using DME. There's a free trial version (that's the free part), and then if you want to continue using it, you pay as low as $49 per month to monitor up to 75 virtual machines.
Besides new tools like these, our webinar will cover the latest features and updates to our long-time favorite free tools like Xangati for vSphere, VMturbo Community Edition, and Veeam Monitor (free edition, of course).
Unfortunately, due to the smaller format of VMworld Europe, VMworld's planning committee opted to pass on our session at VMworld Europe this year. Instead, we will be giving two of our free tools webinars to accommodate U.S. and European timezones next week at this link. If you haven't seen Kendrick and I speak, I can tell you that it is a lot of fun. Just ask anyone who's been to our sessions!
About the Author
David Davis is a well-known virtualization and cloud computing expert, author, speaker, and analyst. David’s library of popular video training courses can be found at Pluralsight.com. To contact David about his speaking schedule and his latest project, go to VirtualizationSoftware.com.