Virtualization Pro

Jan 22 2009   10:07PM GMT

Manage virtual machines with an iPhone

HannahDrake Hannah Drake Profile: HannahDrake

Tired of running back to your desk to solve the “Help! This virtual machine is acting funny” emails you read on your iPhone or BlackBerry?

Andrew Kutz, developer of the Storage VMotion graphical user interface (GUI) plug-in, recently launched Virtualization Manager Mobile (VMM), another convenience tool to ease virtual machine (VM) management tasks. But this time, there’s a catch: If you want the convenience, you’ll have to pay for it.

The Storage VMotion plug-in, which Kutz gave away for free as an open source tool, has been out for 12 months. As the plug-in boasts 60,000 downloads to date, Kutz thought he’d try to capitalize on his idea this time around.

But will people buy it?

“We’ll see,” Kutz said. Storage VMotion has 60,000 downloads to date, and VMM is off to a good start with 422 downloads to date, 317 since this morning’s beta update and 105 since last Friday’s debut, according to Kutz.

VMM can manage VMware and Citrix virtual machines from their phones. Kutz said that with the beta 2 release, Hyper-V support will come, which will be the final release before the first commercial release.

The idea wasn’t entirely his. Kutz said he got the idea from Slicehost, a company that offers virtual private servers (VPSes). One of the management tools Slicehost offers is an application for that lets customers manage their VPSes via mobile phones. “I thought I’d create it for VMware, and after working with it for a week I realized I could make it work for any hypervisor,” Kutz said.

VMM shows CPU and Memory stats for each VM, and allows you to stop, start, pause and reset.

The first commercially available version should be released by the end of February at the latest, according to Kutz, with beta 2 being the final beta before first full release.

Here are a few quick facts about VMM:

  • VMM is a Web application that is optimized for mobile devices.
  • VMM runs on any mobile device, not just a smartphone or an iPhone. After receiving feedback, Kutz created a “lite” version that is supported by phones that don’t have fully functioning browsers, like BlackBerrys and Windows Mobile devices.
  • The cost for a licensed version: $50 for 25 virtual machines, $100 for 100 virtual machines, $200 for 300 VMs.
  • The latest beta feature is Accidental Touch Protection, which prevents you from accidentally shutting down a VM.
  • VMM will install on any OS.
  • The beta versions will expire on March 3, 2333, and allow you to manage an unlimited number of servers with an unlimited number of VMs.
  • The final version will include a snapshot manager.

So now you don’t only have to worry about losing your laptop. Better keep tabs on your cell phone, too. (Even though VMM requires you to log-in again after a certain amount of time.)

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