VMware upgrades management tools for virtualized apps

VMware on Monday announced three products for managing applications in virtual machines, including software to provide service-level reporting and performance management; enable chargeback for virtual workloads; and improve development and test environments.

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One product, vCenter AppSpeed, is the result of VMware's acquisition of application performance vendor B-hive Networks. VMware says that AppSpeed provides service-level reporting and performance management for multitier applications that run in VMs, giving "IT administrators visibility across all tiers of an application, providing views of application performance, usage and dependencies, across both physical and virtual infrastructure."

The idea is to increase application performance and uptime and troubleshoot performance problems. While many customers have targeted low-hanging fruit by virtualizing print and file servers, there is some trepidation about virtualizing business critical applications such as Exchange, CRM and ERP, says Bogomil Balkansky, VMware's vice president of product marketing. That's why performance monitoring is necessary.

"For these types of applications, there is a higher burden of proof on whether it will perform. Is it going to scale, is my application going to be OK if I put it in a virtual machine?" he notes.

AppSpeed measures latency, showing how much delay is contributed from each source, for example Web servers or data base servers.

"It measures the latency experienced by end users of the application and it can really map or split this latency into the different tiers of the infrastructure," Balkansky says.

While the tool is designed to monitor virtualized workloads, AppSpeed can also measure performance of applications in physical servers to determine whether a physical-to-virtual migration will be successful.

This is VMware's "first management product that transcends the virtual," Bogomil says. But the software primary's primary purpose is monitoring virtualized workloads, particularly those using the VMware hypervisor. AppSpeed has some ability to monitor applications virtualized with competing hypervisors, but it is mostly limited to single-tier applications, according to VMware. The company has long resisted managing applications that run on competing hypervisors such as Microsoft Hyper-V or Citrix XenServer.

VMware also introduced vCenter Chargeback, which details resources consumed by each business unit and their associated costs, and automatically creates billing reports that can be submitted to the business unit.

Even if a business isn't using chargeback, the "product is still useful for helping IT and the business get on the same page," Balkansky says. "Customers find it helpful to show the business what it costs the company to support an application or initiative."

The third product announced by VMware Monday is Version 4 of vCenter Lab Manager, a self-service portal for developers to test, stage and deploy multi-tier applications. The new version integrates with VMware Stage Manager, letting customers develop and deploy virtualized applications from the same platform.

Pricing for the products is as follows: $1,250 per CPU for vCenter AppSpeed; $750 per CPU for vCenter Chargeback; and $1,495 per CPU for vCenter Lab Manager 4.

This story, "VMware upgrades management tools for virtualized apps" was originally published by Network World.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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