IBM is introducing new software to create virtual server images in minutes and to automate the management of virtual environments and hybrid cloud systems. The software is also designed to help better protect data in the cloud. The software giant says this management software will become critical for enterprises, citing an industry forecast that the number of virtual machines under management is expected to grow tenfold between 2008 and 2012.
The product launches coincided with IBM's PULSE 2011 conference that drew 7,000 IBM clients and partners to Las Vegas this week. IBM's virtual deployment software, available as an open beta program, makes it possible for businesses to create a cloud environment by virtualizing servers and deploying the virtual image instantly, deploying a single virtual server in seconds, dozens in a few minutes and hundreds or even thousands in under an hour.
The software also provides ongoing "image management" of the virtual environment to scale up and down the number of virtual machines as computing needs change. IBM notes that the typical virtual image ranges from five to 20Gbytes in size, indicating the scalability potential.
IBM is also introducing Tivoli Provisioning Manager that automates best practices for virtual data center provisioning, including image federation and deployment across heterogeneous environments composed of different brands of hardware. Virtualization was created to control server sprawl, but, ironically, it has created "virtual sprawl," which the Tivoli software also works to contain to reduce costs and make best use of computer resources.
At PULSE 2011, IBM also demonstrated a centralized management platform for hybrid cloud environments that combines both on-premise and public clouds, as well as traditional data center equipment. The platform extends service management capabilities such as governance, monitoring and security.