IBM eases billing for virtualized environments

IBM's new software aims to address a key barrier to virtualization

IBM launched on Thursday software to help companies deploying virtualized computing environments more easily bill business departments or external clients based on consumption of resources.

Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager is based on technology IBM acquired from asset-tracking software company CIMS Lab in January. It allows users to track through a Web-based interface consumption of virtual server, storage, network, software, and middleware resources. Administrators can measure resource consumption at the company, department or individual level, to bill users based on actual usage.

The software will help address a key barrier to virtualization, said IBM.

An IBM customer survey conducted this year revealed that "the number one reason among customers not implementing virtualization is charge back, the ability to accurately allocate cost of shared infrastructure across the enterprise, and addressing organizational barriers and concerns," said Rich Lechner, vice president of virtualization for IBM, in Armonk, New York.

The tool currently works with VMware's virtualization software, so that if a customer has x86-based servers running VMware it can measure what portion of the hardware is allocated for a particular application. If an application is transferred to another server using VMware's VMotion technology, IBM's software can track that movement. It does not currently work with other virtualization platforms, such as those from Microsoft.

The software supports IBM's x86-based servers and its mainframes, and will be available for its Unix-based System p servers later this year.

IBM says it will focus on expanding the software's support for more hardware, middleware, and virtualized environments.

Pricing for x86-based servers begins at $599 per box and $75,000 for U.S. mainframe customers.

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