As virtualization and cloud computing have risen to prominence, so has the need to reduce the costs and complexities of virtual machine management. Vendors are starting to address the issue with user portals that offer services like virtual desktops and ERP and CRM applications, which may require several back-end processes to be set up.
Embotics has joined the fray with this week's release of the latest version of Embotics V-Commander, which delivers IT as a Service using both private and public clouds. The approach allows managers to choose new services from a catalog, automate billing and chargeback for what's selected, and provision the virtual and physical assets required.
"The biggest challenge is the technologies are too complex to build private cloud storefronts," says Jay Litkey, CEO of Embotics. "We have made that easier for the average company to do. Previously, you would throw millions of dollars at this and spend years focusing on your private cloud."
All of the major VM providers do provide some minimal management out of the box. Additional management features are available in high-end tools like VMware vCloud Director, which are aimed at larger service providers and enterprises, says Litkey. These products support only a single VM architecture. V-Commander makes similar capabilities available for midsize organizations for VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V VMs, and the Amazon cloud infrastructure.
"We are seeing a lot of customer wins at the department level of the enterprise. They all want a fast, easy-to-use and affordable way to get to a private cloud," explains Litkey. "We are providing the tools for our customers to create and manage VMs in their own data centers and also on Amazon, and provide that consolidated management in one single interface."
The platform also allows companies to set up a storefront service catalog for users to make requests and do metering and costing. The catalog is tailored for different categories of users--power users like software developers and testers can power cycle VMs and troubleshoot the performance of VMs through the interface. Managers would see a more practical view of services, like virtual desktops and CRM instances. They can also order physical tools like new laptops and cell phones through the same portal. "They want a consolidated storefront, where a client can request business services and physical devices from one place," says Litkey.
Embotics is seeing the biggest initial interest in the testing department of companies due to the high rate at which new VMs are configured and deployed. Once the value proposition and the ROI are proven, then companies consider using it outside the test lab.
Robert Cook, windows engineer at the University of California, says that V-Commander has helped to automate the management and reporting of the infrastructure for about 500 VMs. The tool allows about 25 different developers and IT managers to run their own servers and troubleshoot their own performance issues. "Instead of doing mundane tasks of logging in and remembering to add things to a calendar, we get reports automatically generated and it is easier to clean up VMs or follow up with users," he says.
V-Commander is available now.