Software maker Novell has introduced Novell Cloud Manager to help businesses create and then manage private cloud environments in their own data centers. Novell officials stress that their software is ideal for heterogeneous data centers populated by multiple brands of hypervisors, operating systems, application software and hardware, and that Cloud Manager will help private clouds serve as a stepping stone to adoption of public cloud computing down the road.
Cloud Manager enables companies and other enterprises to create a menu of pre-configured applications to serve specific technology needs. It also provides a way to measure the cost of providing IT to various departments or business units in their organization. When virtualization made it possible to increase server utilization, individuals within these organizations created multiple virtual machines (VM) at no cost to them, replacing server sprawl with VM sprawl. Now, cloud computing tools like Cloud Manager can show the true cost of providing IT to a particular unit, Novell claims.
Companies can either present these costs as chargebacks to departments, which would have to pay IT for them out of their own budget, or as "showbacks," to illustrate what the cost would be if they were billed. Using private cloud management software like Novell's in heterogeneous environments is in line with Forrester Research's advice to companies, said James Staten, principal Forrester analyst. "We recommend to clients that they standardize on a management tool that is heterogeneous because otherwise they are going to get stuck with one hypervisor, one management stack and that is going to limit their ability to modify in the future," said Staten.
Other vendors of private cloud management software include, HP, Microsoft and CA. While HP is a hardware vendor, its cloud management software is considered heterogeneous because it supports multiple types of hypervisors. While Microsoft is a hypervisor vendor with its Hyper-V product, Microsoft is heterogeneous because it runs on all sorts of hardware.
Features of Novell Cloud Manager also include automated, on-demand workload provisioning, support for internal regulatory compliance and tight control over system security.
At the VMworld industry conference last week in San Francisco, VMware CEO Paul Maritz predicted that most companies are going to move to a private cloud computing model first, and that a large migration to public cloud computing is probably three-to-five years off. Novell concurs, noting that users have concerns about security and multi-tenancy in a public cloud environment.