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VKernel Boosts VM Management With Version 4 Of Its vOperations Suite

Virtualization management software vendor VKernel has announced version 4 of its vOperations Suite software, which adds support for the Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor, a visualization engine called vSCOPE and a virtualization cost index called vCI to help IT administrators get more information about virtual machine (VM) performance, capacity and cost across data centers, resources and hypervisors. The software now also includes Smart Business Views, which lets IT administrators build collections of VMs, based on up to 10 attributes, to segment and group workloads. Other new features include configurable dashboards, an enhanced user interface, enhanced scalability and performance, and advanced chargeback support.

Two features caught the eye of Curtis Gunderson, a senior infrastructure engineer for Unum, a Chatanooga, Tenn., insurance and financial services company. The 75% virtualized organization, which has about 8,000 employees and 2,000 VMs in three locations in the United States and one in England, has been using VKernel for about a year. The first feature is vSCOPE, which he says provides him with a single view to look at all the VMs in the enterprise and how they’re performing from a cost and availability perspective. "It’s a gap in all the tools," he says. The second feature is the ability to dive deeper into performance indicators. "You can see problems in the infrastructure, but you can’t see the options to fix them," he says. "We will be able to dive down into how they’re configured, how much they cost, and how much a configuration change will cost or benefit me." While he’s seen it to some extent in products other than VKernel, it isn’t available to the degree it is in Vscope, he says.

In addition to supporting Microsoft’s Hyper-V hypervisor now, the company expects to support Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization in the fourth quarter, says Alex Rosemblat, product marketing manager for the Andover, Mass., company. VKernel is considering supporting other hypervisors and cloud providers in the future, he adds. The software is "hypervisor-agnostic," meaning that all hypervisors offer the same features and that the software supports the integration of multiple hypervisors, including the ability to group them together for reporting and operations, the company says.

The purpose of vSCOPE is to make it easier for users to find individual VMs that don’t fit their purpose or are way too expensive for what is needed to perform their function, Rosemblat says. However, the company does not yet have figures on how much money a typical user organization might be able to save using the new feature, he says. This is cost optimization, rather than chargeback, in that it helps organizations determine the relative measure of actual IT cost to deliver a given service compared to that of other VMs, whereas chargeback determines the cost to the user.

The software is available now for $299 per product per socket, or $649 for a bundle of products. "We are philosophically opposed to per-VM pricing," because it’s difficult for companies to get a good return on investment that way, Rosemblat says.

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