VMware shops that want to use Hyper-V, Xen or KVM can still manage those hypervisors using vCenter, thanks to a virtualization management plug-in.
HotLink Corp.’s SuperVISOR is multi-hypervisor management software that plugs in to VMware Inc.’s vCenter and extends its management capabilities to Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer and KVM. It does so by abstracting metadata about those virtual machines (VMs) using its so-called Transformation Engine.
Administrators can then natively manage the new multi-hypervisor environment from the vCenter console, without having to resort to additional tools such as System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) or Veeam nworks Management Pack for VMware.
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“The biggest concern we had about moving away from VMware was for the operations team,” said Mark Settle, CIO at software vendor BMC Software Inc., which is in the beginning phases of switching over a 20,000-VM VMware development environment to XenServer and Hyper-V.
“Operations is always saying ‘We don’t have enough people,’ and new technology isn’t usually greeted with a lot of acclaim unless it makes their job easier,” Settle said. Deploying HotLink has made the addition of new hypervisor platforms “transparent” to operations staffers, while letting the organization try out alternatives to VMware, he said.
Although Microsoft SCVMM can also manage multiple hypervisor platforms, Settle said BMC did not consider it. “We’ve historically been a VMware organization,” he said, and the operations team is already trained on vCenter.
Snapshots, templates, live migration
HotLink SuperVISOR already allowed administrators to perform basic management functions such as starting and stopping a VM. Version 1.5, announced Tuesday, extends the range of vCenter management capabilities available for VMs running on non-VMware hypervisors.
The Snapshot Manager function allows administrators to manage cross-platform snapshots from inside VMware vCenter. Template Manager establishes a single template format across the environment; and finally, the ‘Homogenous Live Migration’ allows administrators to trigger live migrations of VMs between hosts in a homogenous cluster, e.g., from KVM host to KVM host, or from XenServer to XenServer host.
However, keeping live migrations to a single platform could be a short-lived limitation.
If HotLink were to perform an on-the-fly V2V migration, “you can reasonably expect in the future that we would take away that barrier,” said Lynn LeBlanc, HotLink CEO.
The HotLink transformations can trickle down to other, third-party virtualization management tools, LeBlanc added. With HotLink present, “if they are using vCenter as their means of information, third parties automatically get visibility to more than the vSphere platform they were originally designed for.”
But HotLink is still a work in progress, said Bernd Harzog, analyst at the Virtualization Practice. “We’re not at the point where all third party apps will be able to support non-VMware platforms thanks to Hotlink; we’re at a point where most of them will,” he said.
Further, there are advanced vCenter and vSphere features like Distributed Resource Scheduling that HotLink still cannot extend to Hyper-V, KVM and the like, Harzog said.
But given a multi-hypervisor environment, the addition of HotLink goes a long way, Harzog added.
“If you’re going to have more than one virtualization platform, you should try and have one and only one management stack, one and only one backup software, one and only one security product,” he said. “HotLink helps you do that.”
HotLink SuperVISOR 1.5 is available immediately. Prices start at $25,000 for a perpetual license, and $6,000 for an annual subscription.
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