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VKernel Enhances Virtualization Management For Cloud Environments

VKernel has enhanced its vOperations Suite server virtualization management product. Version 3.5 now includes features such as new capacity reservations, enhanced modeling, customer reporting and performance measurements--improvements that are particularly intended to help cloud environments.

For example, network administrators can reserve capacity for VMs they expect to install in the future, although the application programing interface that would enable users to do this through an enterprise provisioning system is not yet available. In addition, network administrators can perform “what if” scenarios to determine how different levels of virtual machine demand will affect performance, and then convert those models into reservations.

Chris DiGanci, the Atlanta, Ga., information technology manager for Peer1 Hosting, a Vancouver, B.C.-based hosting company, has been using vKernel v3.0 since February and has seen an early release of the 4.0 version. The organization has more than 350 employees in 13 cites, and more than 10,000 customers and 20,000 dedicated servers among 17 data centers and nine co-location facilities. He says he was particularly interested in the features that were improvements in business use from a management perspective, such as visibility in storage, finding out what’s affecting performance, the bottlenecks he’s running into, enhanced reporting tools, and what the business is costing the IT department, he says. In addition, he likes the ability to kick off multiple changes and recommendations, such as finding out that a server’s performance would be improved by having 2.1 GBytes of memory, whereas he might default to 2 GBytes or 2.5 GBytes, he says.

VKernel has waited until now to implement cloud support because it wanted to understand the use case and not simply slap on a “now with cloud” label to the product, says Alex Rosemblat, product marketing manager for the Andover, Mass., company. Bryan Semple, vKernel’s chief marketing officer, says the company competes primarily with VMWare, and that the company competes primarily on innovation, such as by having a release every three or four months.

The relationship between performance and capacity is the first thing people have to address when they push virtualization beyond the simple, low-hanging fruit, says Bernd Harzog, analyst for performance and capacity management at The Virtualization Practice. Once users move beyond the easy projects, they need to make sure capacity constraints and contention for resources don’t affect performance and that, over time, the organization is appropriately allocating resources, such as CPU and memory. VKernel has been a leader in capacity management for several years, and what the organization is doing now is adding performance management features in an integrated way, he says.

The software is available now. It consists of four applications--vOPS Performance Analyzer, vOPS Capacity Manager, vOPS Optimizer and vOPS Reporting & Chargeback--and is priced at $299 per application per socket or, for a limited time, all four applications at $649 per socket. Other new features include resolution integration into ticketing systems, guest-level performance analysis, automated resolutions triggered by third-party systems and support for Microsoft’s Hyper-V hypervisor, Rosemblat says.

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