Valovic on Virtualization

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VMM 2008 Released

As expected, Microsoft has released System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 (Otherwise and far more succinctly known as VMM 2008.) more or less on schedule. VMM 2008 will compete head to head with VMware’s own management offering, VirtualCenter, rebranded as vCenter at this year’s VMworld. As Editor Keith Ward blogged about previously, this is a very important product for Microsoft as it works to establish its credibility and the richness of its virtualization portfolio.

Microsoft’s secret sauce for VMM 2008 is a simple but powerful feature: it manages physical as well as virtual machines, a major element in the so-called “single pane of glass” value proposition. In addition, Microsoft is taking a more “open” road to management since the product can also manage VMware ESX. In this path towards openness, Microsoft is working closely with Citrix to push the DMTF’s OVF standard for VM metadata which is likely to have a major impact on the creating more management interoperability. By contrast, VMware’s idea of openess is to continue to pull partners into its orbit by exposing APIs for the development of virtual appliances.

While management is the next battleground for the “big-three” virtualization vendors (VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix), Citrix does not have a strong management offering but can, as it is in other ways, enjoy the coattail effect of working with Microsoft. Practically speaking, the real competition is between VMware and Microsoft. 

But that’s not the whole picture in management by any means. In the meantime, the big four vendors in IT management, namely CA, IBM, HP, and BMC, are not sitting on their hands. CA, for example, recently announced its Data Center Automation Manager that, like VMM 2008, manages both virtual and physical environments.

Add to the mix some interesting startup companies such as Fortisphere and Hyper 9 and the landscape gets even more intriguing. Hyper 9, for example, brings the element of search into the management mix; and Fortisphere is pushing the envelope for things like configuration management using automated policies with a kind of innovation that they claim the 800 pound gorillas won’t be able to match.

Posted by Tom Valovic on 10/21/2008 at 12:49 PM


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