Mainframe Propeller Head

Oct 20 2009   7:47PM GMT

IBM’s VMControl and the single pane of glass

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

IBM today announced VMControl Enterprise Edition, a plug-in to its Tivoli Systems Director software that allows end users to view all their physical and virtual servers under one pane of glass including, eventually, mainframe assets.

The software can provide systems management on the IBM mainframe and Power systems, as well as IBM- and non-IBM x86 hardware. On the x86 hardware, it will be able to handle VMware, Hyper-V, Xen and Linux KVM virtualization software. The initial enterprise version, to ship in December, will support only Power-based systems running AIX, with later versions next year adding support for z/VM on the mainframe and x86 servers.

Prices will start at around $2,500 for lower-end Power blades up to more than $20,000 for the bigger Power Systems.

Server virtualization certainly has had its benefits, but the explosion in virtual machines has led to VM sprawl and management issues, said Gordon Haff, an analyst at Illuminata:

Virtualization is no longer just about server consolidation. It does that, sure, and thereby reduces the number of physical servers that an organization needs to purchase. But, especially in enterprises, it’s increasingly as much about resource pools and services (such as disaster recovery) enabled by virtualization as it is about consolidation. And that makes the need for management more rather than less.

There are also Express and Standard versions that will be cheaper and made available as well. According to Ian Robinson, IBM’s PowerVM platform manager, the enterprise edition is geared toward those businesses that are “close to 100% virtualized and want help in managing their infrastructure.”

“You can define a collection of physical resources as a pool,” he said. “You are managing physical and virtual aspects as if you were managing a single virtual machine. That is the key point of the enterprise edition.”

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