VMware administrators seem hard-pressed to give up on using VMware vCenter Server to manage their virtual data centers. That's been good news for VMware, as the company expands its virtualization management software stack.
But if these virtualization shops continue to mix other hypervisor platforms into their environments, virtual administrators may have no choice but to invest in third-party management tools in order to maintain control over a growing heterogeneous hypervisor infrastructure. They may even start giving Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) more consideration, which would probably get under VMware's corporate skin pretty quick.
[ Will Dell, HP, and IBM focus on creating their own virtualization management tools or will they create plug-ins to VMware vCenter? | Also on InfoWorld: Is VMware vCloud Director the new VMware Lab Manager? ]
Thanks to a bit of VMware vExpert sleuthing back in October 2010, we speculated that VMware could be planning to support Microsoft Hyper-V and Xen virtualization hypervisor platforms in some form or fashion. Now, only four months later, speculation has turned into reality.
VMware Lab engineers have pushed out a new and useful plug-in tool for the VMware community. This is the group responsible for creating interesting tools, dubbed "flings," which are intended to be free, short-term solutions. VMware says these types of tools are intended to be played with and explored, but that they do not come with VMware support and therefore shouldn't be used in your production environment.
This latest fling is called vCenter XVP Manager and Converter, and it's described as providing "basic virtualization management capabilities for non-vSphere hypervisor platforms towards enabling centralized visibility and control across heterogeneous virtual infrastructures." In other words, users can manage competitor hypervisors and VMs from within their vSphere Client. But according to the system requirements of this particular fling, it appears it currently only supports Microsoft virtualization technologies, specifically:
- Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008
- Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2
- Windows 2008 (64 Bit) Hyper-V Core (including Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter Editions)
- Windows 2008 (64 Bit) Hyper-V Full (including Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter Editions)
- System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 or System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2
vCenter XVP Manager includes both a server and client component. The server component is installed on its own physical server or in a virtual machine while the client component is installed as a plug-in with vSphere Client. The plug-in for the vSphere Client is what keeps the VMware administrator true to VMware's management software, because it provides the administrator with the familiar VMware interface while still being able to manage competitor virtualization platforms and VMs.
Keep in mind, however, that this fling is still an unsupported Technical Preview, and it doesn't offer the full functionality of vSphere vCenter Server management to Microsoft Hyper-V hosts and virtual machines. Instead, the current set of operations are very basic; fortunately, it does support the more commonly used day-to-day management functions. For example, it offers: