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Easing management is target of latest Citrix, VMware releases

Citrix and VMware are both focusing on updates and technology developments that help make their virtualization platforms easier to configure, deploy and manage.

During its VMworld Europe conference last week, VMware introduced three new virtualization management offerings: a vCenter Operations update and new vFabric Application Management and IT Business Management suites. Here’s what is new:

vCenter Operations

  • New licensing options, including one squarely focused on SMB and small vSphere deployment that includes just the vCenter Operations Manager for a price of $50 per virtual machine (VM)
  • Application discovery and mapping, which shows which applications are running on which hosts; this is seen as an advance for backup and security policies

vFabric Application Management Suite

  • Includes vFabric Application Director and vFabric Application Performance Manager; the latter offers insights about the performance of virtualized applications
  • In the future, this suite will be integrated more tightly into AppInsight (a new product); VMware is offering promotions for users of its Hyperic technology, so there is a migration opportunity for IT solution providers

IT Business Management Suite

  • This is the repackaged version of the Digital Fuel technology acquired by VMware earlier this year
  • Offered as a service, the application allows non-IT business managers to look at the labor and technical costs associated with specific applications

Probably the biggest drawback for these new releases, due in late 2011 and early 2012, is that they don’t support heterogeneous hypervisors other than VMware’s own technology.

Several new technologies being announced this week by Citrix also are intended to ease management, although the focus on the desktop rather than the server.

At the center of the releases is an update to VDI-in-a-Box, which is a set of technologies for setting up virtual desktops. The release supports all three of the major hypervisors, including Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, and VMware’s vSphere, ESX and ESXi. It has also been integrated with Citrix GoToManage, a managed services platform that can be used to monitor and tune VDI-in-a-Box remotely.

Citrix has created a new partner designation in its Citrix Solution Advisor Program, called SMB Specialist, in order to support IT solution providers and managed services providers selling into this space. The company will begin certifying partners at this level in January.

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