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Free Discovery Tool Unveiled

Everybody likes free, right? Especially in a struggling economy. The problem with free in the IT world, though, is that free products are often unstable, unreliable and not what one would call feature-packed.

Virtualization start-up vendor Embotics, makers of lifecycle management product V-Commander, have released a subset of that product, called V-Scout. Embotics is positioning V-Scout as an entry-level discovery product, capable of telling you what's on your VMware network. It goes beyond that, though, doing more than most free products.

Marketing VP David Lynch (not the Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks David Lynch) calls V-Scout "The industry's first free insight tool to allow users to see what's going on in their environment.(V-Scout presents) trending information, costing trends" and more. V-Scout connects to VirtualCenter, VMware's management tool, self-populating and self-discovering VMs.

(Aside: Embotics' executives page is unlike any I've seen. Of course, it'll be harder to do once the company has more than a handful of executives, but in its current state, it's way cool.)

Developing and releasing a free product like V-Scout is risky. For one, the company has spent significant time and money developing V-Scout, with no immediate return of any kind (other than the goodwill that comes from giving admins a really helpful tool) on the horizon. But the bigger danger is that customers will use the product, like it, and rather than deciding to upgrade to the full-featured V-Commander, decide that it does the job and stay with it.

Lynch says he understands the risks. "There could be a section of the market that may say 'Hey thanks, it's good enough.' But I don't think that segment would have been a good market for V-Commander anyway."

From the pre-briefing I had on the product, it looks like it could be a winner (we'll have a review for you before too much longer.) In any event, it's certainly worth checking out if you run a VMware shop (it will be available tomorrow).

Posted by Keith Ward on 09/02/2008 at 12:48 PM


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