Server virtualization has become a must-have technology for almost any organization. While VMware vSphere still dominates the market with its mature and feature-rich platform, Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Red Hat KVM have gotten much closer to feature parity with VMware. As a result, the virtualization platform wars are now being focused on the next frontier of server virtualization: the management war.
The three dominant server virtualization platform providers each have their own management solution: VMware vCenter, Microsoft System Center, and Citrix XenCenter. VMware dominates the virtualization management market, in large part because it currently owns the lion's share of the platform market. VMware administrators are also in a bit of a love fest with vCenter, refusing to give it up. But vCenter currently only supports VMware vSphere environments, which becomes a problem if a VMware-dedicated shop wants to become a heterogeneous virtual data center.
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Once you begin using multiple virtualization platforms in the same environment, the management complexity can become a nightmare, which leads to the management stack becoming the next battleground in the virtualization war. But the platform vendors are not alone here; third-party software management companies are also suiting up for the fight.
Just last week we took a look at a company called HotLink who introduced a new version of its SuperVisor product to provide centralized management of multiple virtualization platforms. Instead of using more than one management tool or overlays that try to glue different consoles together, HotLink makes one console do the work of all the others. This edition of SuperVisor snaps into VMware vCenter, allowing virtual administrators to manage Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer, and Red Hat KVM virtual machines directly from within the VMware vCenter console.
This application provides a great opportunity for VMware shops who want to expand their choice of hypervisor platform to include something other than vSphere but still manage everything from a single console -- in this case, the one that they've been trained on, know and love: VMware vCenter.
But what happens when you're a Microsoft shop and you've been trained to use Microsoft System Center to manage your entire data center of physical servers? And what if you've been using it to also manage your Hyper-V environment, but now want to expand your data center to include VMware vSphere for some of the more mission-critical applications that you weren't previously comfortable with virtualizing?
Last week, while at the Microsoft Management Summit 2012 conference, Veeam announced a new solution that might be the answer for such a situation. Perhaps best known for its virtualization backup and replication management solutions, Veeam has been slowly introducing its previously VMware-centric product lines to include support for other hypervisor platforms such as Microsoft Hyper-V. Continuing on that course, the company has launched the Veeam Management Pack (MP) 10-Pack, a free Microsoft System Center 2012 monitoring solution for VMware environments that lets System Center users monitor VMware environments from within System Center's Operations Manager console.