IBM to Ship Software to Manage Virtualized Data Centers

IBM is introducing new software for managing data centers, which, according to the company, has the potential to cut the cost of operations while speeding the deployment of new applications from weeks to minutes. IBM's VMControl is intended to help companies that have turned to virtualization to reduce infrastructure costs, but have actually wound up with new challenges as they try to manage enterprises made up of disparate platforms, each with their own virtualization technology.

The new VMControl product for enterprises, combined with IBM Tivoli software, gives businesses a single point of control across multiple types of virtualization technologies and IT systems, including Unix/Linux, mainframe, x86 and storage systems and networks. The new software enables combinations of physical and virtual IBM servers to be managed as a single entity. This approach-known as system pooling-expands the benefits of virtualization by helping corporate data centers simplify complex management functions and better share and prioritize use of critical resources such as processing power, memory and storage.

"VMControl is a plug-in to IBM Systems Director and Systems Director is systems management software that IBM clients can use to manage the complete range of IBM systems including System x, Power Systems and System z mainframes," Ian Robinson, PowerVM offering manager at IBM, tells 5 Minute Briefing. "What makes VMControl unique is that it actually lets you manage virtualization across all three of those platforms. Most other virtualization management software allows you to only manage virtual machines on a single platform, such as x86."

The majority of IBM clients have multiple hardware types and more than half of them have all three hardware types-mainframes, Power Systems and x86, observes Robinson. "This gives them the ability with one graphic management tool to manage their virtualized resources across all of their hardware platforms and it is the only product in the market that offers that."

Centralizing control of virtualized environments brings new intelligence to data center operations, enabling companies to manage their pools of information and processing resources and parcel them out to applications when and where they're needed. This capability not only increases the overall capacity utilization of the IT infrastructure to lower capital, operational and energy costs, and improves application availability, but also gives IT managers the flexibility to adapt to new demands being prompted by the surge of data from internet-connected devices.

According to IBM, VMControl will also accelerate the deployment of new IT delivery models, like cloud computing, which allows information and processing resources to be tapped from afar. Additionally, the new product, together with IBM Tivoli software, helps companies address and improve service and reduce cost and risk. IBM also announced a new version of Tivoli Provisioning Manager that provides enhanced automation of the manual tasks of provisioning and configuring servers, operating systems, middleware, software applications, storage and network devices.

The new product, IBM Systems Director VMControl Enterprise Edition, supports IBM's PowerVM and z/VM as well as x86 virtualization technologies such as VMware, Hyper-V and open x86 virtualization solutions. VMControl Enterprise Edition will be available on IBM Power Systems running AIX in December, 2009. Additional support for other platforms is planned for next year.

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