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vKernel Boosts Virtualization Data Management Capabilities

vKernel, which makes management software for virtualized server systems, has announced a developer program, as well as adding an application programming interface to its Capacity Analytics Engine family of software, which allows developers, vendors, and users to write programs that take advantage of the data that is provided by the software. The vOPS API was announced at the recent Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference and is available now. Examples of data available via the API and how it could be used, include resource usage for automated billing, capacity bottlenecks to application performance monitoring, or providing capacity trending and utilization information to technology dashboards.

“At the operating level, we are always mindful of identifying problems before they affect performance, and we are looking to vKernel’s monitoring and alerting APIs to assist us with that,” says Frank Shepherd, senior infrastructure engineer for Peak 10 Inc., a Charlotte, N.C.-based managed services and cloud provider. The company has been using vKernel for about three months as a resource to help it manage capacity, reclaim wasted resources, and troubleshoot performance, he says.

While there are several vendors that offer virtualization management software, as well as VMware itself, other competing vendors are not offering an API that exposes all the data, says Bryan Semple, chief marketing officer for the Andover, Mass., vKernel. And while VMware’s chargeback application does offer an API, it is more complicated and it is not clear what VMware’s long-term strategy is for the product, he says. The company does not yet have any partners it can announce that are taking advantage of the new API but expects to soon, he says. The API is based on representational state transfer technology, and is fairly simple to integrate, he says, noting that vKernel expects that some enterprise organizations are likely to write their own applications – adding that some of the company’s customers are already starting to do that.

Deep integration with the existing management stack is the key to fully exploit the potential of capacity management, which can become extremely important and extremely complex in virtual and cloud infrastructures, says Alessandro Perilli, a research director for Gartner Inc. With its API, vKernel is offering a way to put such integration in place, he says, which helps determine how configuring new virtual machines would affect virtual machines already in place. Having such an API doesn’t solve all problems, he cautions, noting that someone has to leverage the API to integrate with third-party management tools such as provisioning portals, chargeback systems, and reporting tools, and that is not a trivial task. However, it’s a good option to have, because APIs offer the flexibility to integrate with third-party tools that might not be supported out of the box, he says.

The API is available now as part of the vKernel vOPS Suite. Users who download the suite or who receive updates to the software will have access to the API., the company’s developer program, also offers support such as documentation and more formalized access to the API.

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