The Virtualization Room

Oct 29 2008   10:02AM GMT

Free virtualization tools for tough economic times

Eric Siebert Eric Siebert Profile: Eric Siebert

Many IT departments feel the squeeze from the current economic crisis and have seen their budgets slashed. When times are tough you must get creative, and the best way to do that is to utilize products that won’t cost you a dime. Can’t afford new ESX licenses right now? Why not recycle some of that older hardware with one of the free hypervisors? Or better yet, take one of your big servers that only runs one application and install ESXi so you can run other applications concurrently. Let’s go over some free products that you can download and use in your VMware environment.

Free hypervisors:
VMware Server – Version 2.0 has lots of new features and can be installed on several versions of Windows, Linux and almost any hardware.

VMware ESXi – The entry-level edition of VMware’s enterprise-class hypervisor; the installable version installs bare metal on a variety of supported and unsupported hardware.

VMware Player – A great tool for starting up virtual machines without installing a full hypervisor on your system.

Free appliances:
The VMware appliance marketplace has hundreds of free appliances that span a variety of categories. Appliances range from simple firewalls to enterprise monitoring systems to full-blown Web and database packages (LAMP). You can run these appliances with VMware Player or import them into ESX/Server/Workstation and run them there.

Free management and reporting tools:
Embotics v-Scout – A free, agentless tool for tracking and reporting on virtual machines in VMware VirtualCenter-enabled environments.

Hyper-9 – This soon-to-be-released free search-based reporting tool is a great addition to every administrator’s toolbox. Watch for its release around the end of the year. If you are interested in participating in a beta version of this tool, drop me an email. Not all beta requests will be approved and the company is looking for feedback if you do participate.

RVTools – A handy little tool that displays a multitude of information about your virtual machines.

Solarwinds VM Monitor – A free management tool that monitors ESX hosts and virtual machines.

Snaphunter and Snapalert – Utilities that can report all running snapshots on ESX hosts, including name, size and date. They can also automatically email reports and optionally commit snapshots.

Visio Stencils – Some free Visio stencils from Veeam, VMGuru and the Visio Café to help you document your environment.

VMotion Info – A free utility that gathers system and CPU information from your hosts and puts it in a single overview to check for VMotion compatibility.

VM ExplorerA management tool that eases management, backup and disaster recovery tasks in your VMware ESX Server environment.

MCS StorageView – A utility that displays all of the logical partitions, operating systems, capacity, free space and percent free of all virtual machines on ESX 3.x or Virtual Center 2.x .

ESX HealthCheck – A script that collects configuration information and other data for ESX hosts and generates a report in HTML format.

Free administration tools:
Putty – A must-have utility for every administrator to remotely SSH into their ESX hosts.

Veeam FastSCP – A great SSH file transfer utility application.

WinSCP – Another speedy SSH file transfer utility application.

KS QuickConfig – Designed to reduce the time needed to deploy and configure VMware ESX servers as well as eliminate inconsistencies that can arise with manual operations.

VP Snapper – A free utility that lets you revert to multiple VM snapshots at once rather than one-by-one.

VMware Converter – VMware’s free application that lets you perform physical-to-virtual and virtual-to-virtual operations.

vmCDconnected – A handy utility that scans all virtual machines in your infrastructure and shows if they have a CD connected to any of them. After scanning you can disconnect all of the CDs with a click of a button.

CPU Identification Utility – VMware’s free utility that displays CPU features for VMotion compatibility, EVC and 64-bit VMware support.

VMTS Patch Manager – A great ESX host-patching application for those who don’t have Update Manager.

Free backup utilities:
VISBU – A free backup utility that runs from the Service Console and provides VMDK-level backups of any VM in storage that is accessible by the host.

VM Backup Script – A backup script to perform hot backups of your virtual machines.

Free storage utilities:
Openfiler – A free, open source, browser-based storage appliance that supports NFS and iSCSI. It can be downloaded as an ISO file to install on a server or as a VMware appliance to import to an ESX host. A great way to get more shared disk in your environment by turning physical servers into network-attached storage servers or turning the local disk on your ESX hosts into shared disk when using the appliance.

Xtravirt Virtual SAN – A free solution that turns local disk space on your ESX hosts into shared VMFS volumes to avoid purchasing costly storage area network disk space.

Free security tools:
Tripwire ConfigCheck – A free utility that rapidly assesses the security of VMware ESX 3.0 and 3.5 hypervisor configurations compared to the VMware Infrastructure 3 Security Hardening guidelines.

Configuresoft Compliance Checker – A free tool that provides a real-time compliance check that can analyze multiple VMware ESX host servers at a time. Also provides detailed compliance checks against both the VMware Hardening Guidelines and the CIS benchmarks for ESX.

If you know of any other free tools that you use in your VMware environment, feel free to list them in the comments section of this post.

7  Comments on this Post

 
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  • AJ
    Also a few nice tools are available at mightycare.de Thanks, great post!
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  • AJ
    and yes, what about things like UDA and EDA?
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  • Eric Siebert
    Hi, My name is Dan Shappir and I work at Ericom Software We also provide free virtualization tools: Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect for Oracle VM - free VDI connection broker for the free Oracle hypervisor http://www.ericom.com/oracleVM.asp Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect for Windows Server 2008 - free add-on for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services http://www.ericom.com/WS08.asp
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  • Eric Siebert
    Great post, Eric! I have also recently created a list of free security and compliance utilities for VMware, created by our partners. Check it out at http://www.vmware.com/technology/security/utilities.html
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  • Eric Siebert
    Hyperic HQ is also an open source web application performance monitoring software package that monitors virtual and non-virtualized software across Citrix XenServer and VMware. The latest release for 4.0, in public beta and due out later this month actually supports the latest versions of VMware including 3.5 & 3i. http://www.hyperic.com
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  • Ricom1
    Computer Buyback and Recycling Programs aid in reducing the amount of electronics in landfills by refurbishing for reuse or by safely recycling it. Offering recycling, trade in, and buyback programs offer customers a simple way to receive cash for their unwanted technology equipment or, if there is no value, recycle it. Making solutions that make it easy for customers to go green. Computer Buyback and Recycling programs reduce environmental impact by providing a convenient way for customers to responsibly recycle data center equipment. Environmentally, RICOM is committed to offering products and services that are environmentally practical throughout their life cycles. Remanufacture and reuse is only one component of the environmental lifecycle. A complete approach to the environment considers all aspects of a product's lifecycle and footprint of a product. Systems that can be upgraded using refurbished components extend the end date of their use. RICOM offers refurbished components in new products and packaging as an alternative of cost savings. Hardware asset recovery has value with used equipment Trade-in/trade-up, donation and off lease programs. With 20 years experience in IT sales, refurbishing and recycling operations, green is good business. Our vast portfolio of blade, virtualized configurations as well as energy star certified products cuts power costs, and consolidates data center real estate. Recycling computers rather than depositing them in landfills or shipping them off for other nations has risk of sensitive data. RICOM’s partnered with company’s assisting in such disk data sanitation services. RICOM extends environmental technology solutions saving customers money. Electronic products make up the fastest growing segment of our landfill waste. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2007, more than 63 million computers in the United States were traded in for replacements, or simply thrown out. Discarded computers don't just take up space in a landfill. Careless computer disposal spread toxic wastes of more than 100 chemicals leaching in the soil. Be responsible, reuse certified refurbished equipment, and recycle your aging data center equipment that is cost effective both business and environmentally. Green Asset Recovery Solutions, contact RICOM http://www.shopricom.com/
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  • Ricom1
    Computer Buyback and Recycling Programs aid in reducing the amount of electronics in landfills by refurbishing for reuse or by safely recycling it. Offering recycling, trade in, and buyback programs offer customers a simple way to receive cash for their unwanted technology equipment or, if there is no value, recycle it. Making solutions that make it easy for customers to go green. Computer Buyback and Recycling programs reduce environmental impact by providing a convenient way for customers to responsibly recycle data center equipment. Environmentally, RICOM is committed to offering products and services that are environmentally practical throughout their life cycles. Remanufacture and reuse is only one component of the environmental lifecycle. A complete approach to the environment considers all aspects of a product's lifecycle and footprint of a product. Systems that can be upgraded using refurbished components extend the end date of their use. RICOM offers refurbished components in new products and packaging as an alternative of cost savings. Hardware asset recovery has value with used equipment Trade-in/trade-up, donation and off lease programs. With 20 years experience in IT sales, refurbishing and recycling operations, green is good business. Our vast portfolio of blade, virtualized configurations as well as energy star certified products cuts power costs, and consolidates data center real estate. Recycling computers rather than depositing them in landfills or shipping them off for other nations has risk of sensitive data. RICOM’s partnered with company’s assisting in such disk data sanitation services. RICOM extends environmental technology solutions saving customers money. Electronic products make up the fastest growing segment of our landfill waste. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2007, more than 63 million computers in the United States were traded in for replacements, or simply thrown out. Discarded computers don't just take up space in a landfill. Careless computer disposal spread toxic wastes of more than 100 chemicals leaching in the soil. Be responsible, reuse certified refurbished equipment, and recycle your aging data center equipment that is cost effective both business and environmentally. Green Asset Recovery Solutions, contact RICOM [A href="http://www.shopricom.com/"]
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