Novell Zenworks aims to manage virtualization

Zenworks Virtual Machine Management will work in data centers using disparate virtualization systems

Novell is expanding its Zenworks software lineup to span from the desktop to the data center, unveiling three new products and an update to another tool.

The rollout announced Tuesday included Zenworks Virtual Machine Management, which the company said will work in data centers using disparate virtualization systems, including ones from VMware Inc., XenSource and Microsoft. Novell also introduced Zenworks High-Performance Computing (HPC) Management, which manages Java applications and distributes workloads for parallel execution, and Zenworks Orchestrator for overall policy-based automation.

Also Tuesday, the company introduced Zenworks 7.5 Asset Management, which provides information about IT assets including Windows Vista and Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop 10.

Even as hardware and software virtualization has cut costs and increased flexibility, data centers have been sprawling and their overall cost is going up, said Joe Wagner, general manager of Novell's system and resource management business unit, on a conference call Tuesday. Enterprises need tools to simplify, automate, manage and secure their systems, he said.

Novell, once king of the network-management hill, is struggling with tough competition and under fire from the open-source community for a recent technology and support deal with Microsoft. A possible delisting from the Nasdaq also looms amid an ongoing review of stock-option grants. By aiming to make sense of virtualization, the company may tap into a growing trend.

Zenworks Virtual Machine Management is the first product of its kind for heterogenous virtual machine environments, Wagner said. The HPC Management tool can move large volumes of data to remote locations where resources are available to process it. Under the Orchestrator software, the product line can use policies to schedule jobs, reserve resources and change priorities on the fly when needed, according to Novell.

The product announcements don't change Novell's relationship with Virtual Iron Software, said Alan Murray, Novell's vice president of product management. Earlier this year, Novell began providing support and application certification for Virtual Iron's virtualization and management software in Suse Linux. Novell's new products will interoperate with Virtual Iron's and the relationship is ongoing, he said.

Zenworks 7.5 Asset Management is available now for $33 per user or managed device. The new products announced Tuesday will be available in early December, and pricing for them will be disclosed at that time, Novell said.