BMC to launch predictive virtualization management tool

BMC Software will roll out a suite of predictive virtualization management tools, aiming to help companies estimate and plan for future virtual machine use.

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Houston-based BMC Software plans to roll out a suite of software tools later this week, offering the industry's first "predictive virtualization" technology -- software that can help companies estimate, and plan for, future virtual machine usage.

BMC's bread and butter is infrastructure management software, and this is the company's first foray into virtualization. The technology has become so pervasive that making a virtualization management tool has now fallen in line with its customers' needs.

The products, which fall under BMC's new Service Oriented Resource Management (SORM) line, hit shelves on Oct. 29.

Virtualization is the use of software to emulate hardware or a total computer environment other than the one the software is actually running on. It has been dubbed one of the IT industry's hot trends by both users and analyst firms like Gartner because it helps data center managers tap into hardware they usually fail to fully utilize.

However, there's still some confusion in the IT industry over what virtualization actually is. But Dave Wagner, a solutions management director at BMC, likens it to carpooling. "Instead of four cabs taking four people to the airport, [virtualization] allows all four people to take the same cab," Wagner said.

And in that context, predictive virtualization figures out how often servers have taken certain virtualization paths in the past, and can predict, based on future usage estimates, how often they'll need to tap into their virtualization technology in the future -- and just when to call the dispatcher.

Now that virtualization has reached the mainstream, Tony Iams, a senior analyst and vice president at Rye Brook, N.Y.-based Ideas International, sees the market diverging over the next two years into product differentiation, now that the technology has commoditized by vendors like VMware, Microsoft and Xen.

By getting a head start in virtualization management, BMC could get a leg up on the competition.

"There's not a lot of value in adding basics. [Value] will be at the next level up, in managing and controlling policies and assigning resources," Iams said. "One of the areas BMC has always been strong is in instrumenting workloads, finding out where [customers are] consuming resources and taking action in response."

SORM includes BMC Virtualizer, and the latest version of BMC's Performance Assurance for Virtual Servers tool. SORM also includes both current and planned integration with other BMC products, and the company claims it enables holistic management of IT processes from the mainframe, through distributed systems, and into a virtualized environment.

SORM also provides policy-based resource orchestration and provisioning capabilities across both enterprise clusters and singular application servers. Instead of the current model, in which failover automation products require one dedicated backup server per production server or cluster, BMC Virtualizer automatically provisions appropriate server resources -- whether physical or virtual -- based on business need, and enables the sharing of the server resources across multiple applications.

The shared pools of server resources can be used for both failover and/or providing capacity on-demand.

"It mitigates risk, and it accelerates the ability for customers to adopt a virtualized environment," Wagner said. "It automates the putting into service of whatever resources are needed by applications."

Virtualizer will integrate with existing BMC performance manager and assurance applications, as well as with configuration management products.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Luke Meredith, News Writer

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