EMC to resell VMware management software

EMC will resell virtualization management software from VMware alongside its own Ionix management platform in an expanded partnership aimed at helping enterprises build private clouds.

The combination of Ionix and VMware vCenter AppSpeed will allow IT departments to both measure the performance of applications running in VMware vSphere 4 virtual environments and pinpoint the cause of any performance problems, according to Bob Quillin, senior director of marketing for the EMC Ionix Software Group.

EMC is set to announce on Monday that it is now a fully authorized reseller of AppSpeed, which is already resold by VMware channel partners. The deal, announced as the VMworld conference begins in San Francisco, expands the partnership between EMC and VMware, which was spun off from EMC in 2007, but is still majority owned by the storage giant.

The two companies acted to boost IT departments' confidence in virtualization and help them sell other corporate stakeholders on the idea of a virtualized data center, Quillin said. Managers responsible for mission-critical applications may not agree to have their software moved from physical servers to virtual machines without a guarantee that they'll get the same level of performance, Quillin said. If there are problems along the way, the virtualization team may be blamed for something that was actually caused by another component, such as the network or storage infrastructure.

Trust in virtualization is growing, but there is still a ways to go, according to Burton Group analyst Chris Wolf. It's important for IT departments to establish that trust so they can move toward hosting all the enterprise's applications in a private cloud, he said. It's a matter of survival against third-party cloud providers, who will soon come around to sell computing services directly to business unit managers, according to Wolf.

"You're the mom-and-pop shop that's being threatened by Wal-Mart moving into your neighborhood," Wolf said. A private cloud "is going to take a number of years to complete, but you have to start treading down that path," he said.

Both AppSpeed and Ionix were introduced earlier this year. While AppSpeed provides visibility into the performance of applications on VMware virtual machines, Ionix is a broad suite of tools designed to manage every aspect of the physical and virtual data center, including servers, applications, networks and storage systems.

Along with EMC selling the two management products together, EMC and VMware plan to offer a set of services to help IT departments decide which applications to virtualize next. The services will utilize tools including VMware Capacity Planner and Ionix Application Discovery Manager as well as AppSpeed.

IT departments will need help moving toward private clouds, but they won't necessarily turn to VMware and its partner despite the broad adoption of VMware for virtualization, Burton Group's Wolf said. Many will turn to the traditional providers of enterprise IT management, such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard and CA, he said. However, VMware and EMC are joining up at an inflection point in the industry created by the historic migration toward cloud computing, he said.

"There is some opportunity for innovative companies in the management space to step in and pick up some traction," Wolf said.

EMC said it is the first vendor to resell the software as part of an integrated management suite. AppSpeed costs about US$1,250 per managed CPU. Ionix is priced starting around $25,000, based on the number of servers, number of network elements and amount of storage, EMC's Quillin said.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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