BMC Aims to Bring Virtual Servers Under Control
September 9, 2008 Alex Woodie
Virtualization is a blessing and a curse to IT departments. On the one hand, it allows them to squeeze more capacity out of their existing hardware. On the other, it introduces another layer to manage and exacerbates existing operational shortcomings. Not surprisingly, the big systems management software vendors are scrambling to fill this void in the market, and last week BMC threw its hat into the ring with nine new products for managing various aspects of a virtual environments, including those running on IBM i (formerly i5/OS).
Numerous problems are often associated with the use of virtualization, including aggravating server sprawl issues, performance problems due to exceeding capacity, and the re-configuring of security, all covered with a good dose of mandated compliance. In the end, the overall increase in complexity and lack of visibility across disparate hypervisors and/or virtualization products can pose a serious impediment to getting a good return out of one’s virtualization investment.
Good management practices will fix these problems, but the nature of virtual machines requires a slightly different approach. For many organizations, that means buying new management software that was developed specifically to address the problems of managing virtual environments.
As one of the traditional “big four” systems management software firms (along with IBM Tivoli, Hewlett-Packard OpenView, and CA UniCenter), BMC and its CONTROL is well positioned to address the management problems posed by virtualization. The fact that BMC has a strong business in the System z mainframe and (to a lesser extent) the System i midrange market also bodes well for IBM shops.
BMC got its virtual ball rolling in May of this year, when it announced that its business service management (BSM) suite of tools was the “only” solution that could unify management of both physical and virtual environments into a single view. Despite that bit of hyperbole, the fact remains the company is well positioned to address the problems posed by virtualization.
Last week, the company’s story grew stronger, when it unveiled a slew of new offerings aimed at solving virtualization’s problems. The company again played the hype card strongly (“establishing a new leadership position” and “the market’s only holistic, unified approach” being the best examples), but that shouldn’t stop medium and large IT shops from considering BMC to help them straighten out their virtual worlds.
The nine new BMC offerings announced last week include:
Each of the new solutions listed above support both physical and virtual environments. BMC is obviously focusing on the X64 virtualization offerings, with VMWare‘s ESX Server being the biggest and most predominant, and Microsoft‘s Hyper-V being the upcoming challenger. But BMC is also supporting other less popular virtualization products, including Sun Microsystems‘ containers and zones, and IBM’s logical partitioning (LPAR), which is used in AIX and i OS servers, and z/VM on its z-class mainframe servers.
Not all of the solutions support i OS. According to a company spokeswoman, the four solutions that support i OS include the Virtualization Capacity Management and Planning Service, the Discovery Solution, the Run Book Automation Platform, and the Performance Management piece.
Users also must complete some integration tasks to get i OS to work with these offerings. With that said, it may still be worth it for organizations with System i servers to consider BMC for virtualization management, especially if they rely on BMC’s other performance management and capacity management tools to control their System i machines.