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Novell's Virtualization Management Move

Novell announced plans this week to extend its ZENworks line of systems management solutions. The rollout involves three new products and a product upgrade that provides a set of integrated ITIL-based services designed to automate management across server and client platforms for both physical and virtual environments.

The new products offer “open standards-based management that covers the entire enterprise IT environment, from Linux to UNIX to Windows,” according to the company.

The products are the first fruits of the company’s desktop-to-data-center management initiative, and provide a means of managing and scheduling heterogeneous virtual machine deployments--including Xen virtualization on Linux--and automating the load balancing of these machines.
    They include:
  • ZENworks Orchestrator, which serves as a “brain” that allows for policy-based automation. Orchestrator takes a heuristic approach to learn from previous events and resource demands.
  • ZENworks Virtual Machine Management, which lets organizations employ virtualization in the data center on Linux, UNIX or Windows machines. This is a policy-based solution designed to automate the process of deploying and managing virtual data center assets, and to dynamically provision workloads. It also manages virtualized environments in Novell Open Enterprise Server.
  • ZENworks HPC Management, which provides grid-based management of Java applications and lets workloads be distributed for parallel execution. It includes automated high-performance multicast data distribution capabilities for moving and copying large volumes of data to remote resources for processing.
  • ZENworks 7.5 Asset Management, which runs readiness reports for both Windows Vista and Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10. It is meant to help customers control and manage their IT infrastructures with a clear and complete picture of their asset environments.

Novell unveiled the new products at Gartner’s Data Center Management Conference, underway this week in Las Vegas. Novell’s general manager of systems and resource management, Joe Wagner, told reporters and analysts during a webcast press conference that the new products are designed to deal with the added challenge of managing server sprawl. A growing number of enterprises are addressing this issue with consolidation plans involving virtualized IT environments.

“The overall cost of the data center and IT systems associated with it continue to increase,” Wagner said. “Enterprises are seeking something to simplify and automate those complex environments ... We’re trying to provide a system that automates all those operator tasks to help reach the promised cost savings enterprises have been trying to achieve.”

The company is billing the ZENworks releases as “the next steps in Novell’s plan to deliver on its vision of interoperable, cross-platform management solutions.” The announcement comes hot on the heels of Novell’s recent accord with longtime adversary Microsoft. The once bitter rivals agreed to work together on Windows-Linux compatibility. Wagner characterized the announcement as an early sign of the benefits of that partnership.

“Companies today are looking to virtual machines as one way of consolidating servers, saving power and space, and increasing the efficiency of their IT investments,” Gartner analyst Ronni Colville said in a statement. “However, while virtualization can reduce the physical requirements of the data center, it can also compound the level of management complexity. To maximize their computing potential in the data center, customers need cross-platform systems management solutions for both virtual machines and physical machines.”

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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