ToutVirtual Touts Server Management

Startup unveils free monitoring product for VMware software

February 10, 2006

3 Min Read
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Startup ToutVirtual today unveiled a free monitoring product for users running VMware software, just days after the virtualization giant overhauled its own pricing models in an attempt to woo users. (See ToutVirtual Manages VMWare and VMware's Virtual Appetizer.)

ToutVirtual unwrapped the beta version of its ShieldIQ Standard Edition middleware, which monitors VMwares Player, Workstation, and GSX Server offerings. ShieldIQ gives users a bird’s eye view of complex virtual environments that often share CPU, memory, and disk resources across a slew of applications.

According to ToutVirtual, a problem on a single application can quickly spread to other applications. This could be, for example, when one virtual machine suddenly starts to consume a large amount of CPU or memory, starving other virtual machines of resources. Vipul Pabari, ToutVirtual’s CTO, told Byte and Switch that the startup’s middleware can automatically reallocate these resources.

But Pabari thinks ToutVirtual’s selling point will be its flexibility. The exec plans to extend support to Microsoft’s Virtual Server in the next couple of quarters, followed by VMware’s other rival, Virtual Iron, and possibly Xen.

Stephen Elliot, research director at analyst firm IDC, has found that users are certainly struggling with virtualization. “Where the complications happen are with management, the staff impact, and the process changes that take place. There’s definitely an addressable need that these guys are trying to fill.”But ToutVirtual’s largesse only extends so far. Although the beta version of ShieldIQ Standard Edition can be downloaded for free, users upgrading to the full version, ShieldIQ, will have to pay support and software licenses. Pabari, however, will not reveal pricing prior to ShieldIQ’s March launch.

With users facing such virtual challenges, other vendors are expected to get in on this act. Big names such as HP, IBM, and CA already offer some virtual server management in their OpenView, Tivoli, and Unicenter platforms. “It’s going to get crowded very quickly,” quips Elliot.

One vendor that's already drilled down into this space is BladeLogic. Its Operations Manager uses a software-based agent to configure servers. Vick Vaishnavi, the firm’s director of product management, told Byte and Switch that the software can also handle VMware virtual machines.

Vaishnavi isn't as cagey about pricing as Pabari -- each agent costs around $1500. Vaishnavi mentioned that the firm is planning enhancements to the product next month, including better access control and workflow handling.

According to Pabari, ToutVirtual will eventually go after the storage market. But for the time being, he's focused on the “low-hanging fruit,” of virtual servers. “There’s definitely a hole there,” says IDC's Elliot.Vendors have their work cut out for them. In a recent IT spending survey buyers rated virtualization a low priority. A recent Goldman Sachs survey of 100 IT managers at Fortune 1000 firms shows only 29 percent are considering implementing storage virtualization over the next 12 months, tracking closely with other recent studies. (See Virtually Nowhere.)

— James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • BladeLogic Inc.

  • CA Inc. (NYSE: CA)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Goldman Sachs & Co.

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

  • ToutVirtual Inc.

  • Virtual Iron Software Inc.

  • VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW)

  • XenSource Inc.

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