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The complete buyer's guide for virtual infrastructure tools

Searching for the right virtual infrastructure tools can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack, unless you're using our buyer's guide.

In response to rising server virtualization adoption rates, vendors have flooded the market with virtual infrastructure...

tools. Whether you’re looking for backup applications or security appliances, the sheer number and variety of these virtual infrastructure tools makes the evaluation and procurement process easier said than done.

You can blame this problem on the maturation of the server virtualization market. Hypervisors are now commodities and the real money for vendors is found with virtual infrastructure tools and support. But that is little comfort for IT shops trying to find the right product to fulfill their needs.

To help bring order to the chaos, we’ve assembled a virtualization buyer’s guide for the following categories:

  • Automation tools
  • Virtualization backup tools
  • Virtual security appliances and tools
  • Monitoring and management tools
  • Configuration and change management tools

Each section provides in-depth analysis of the available virtual infrastructure tools as well as which factors to consider. Armed with this information, you should be able to make an informed, practical decision.

Automation tools: Weighing the options

With server virtualization, IT admins can easily create new virtual machines in a few mouse clicks, but the provisioning and management process is also rife with tedious and repetitive tasks. Fortunately, many vendors offer automation tools to handle many of these tasks, such as changing power states, managing snapshots as well as performing host and storage migrations. But not all automation tools offer the same features, so it’s important to carefully sort through the market to find the best fit for your organization.

Virtualization backup tools: How the field stacks up

Responding to the increase in server virtualization adoption rates, many industry vendors augmented their physical server backup tools to accommodate virtual infrastructures. Despite these changes, many physical server backup tools can’t compete with the features available from virtualization backup tools. Choosing the right tool warrants consideration of your data center’s specific VM needs, as well as each tool’s features and cost.

How virtual security appliances and tools protect a data center

As more organizations virtualize their infrastructures, they face growing virtual security concerns. And for a complete and robust virtual security implementation, IT departments must lock down their VMs, hypervisors and management components. Many admins have found that evaluating and employing virtual security appliances and tools provides a flexible, efficient way to address these security concerns.

Choosing the right virtualization monitoring and management tools

Efficient performance management is crucial to the success of any virtual infrastructure. As your environment expands, however, monitoring and managing a growing number of VMs becomes more difficult. Fortunately, an array of monitoring and management tools exist to measure performance, provide statistical analysis of data and troubleshoot any problems that you may encounter.

Comparing configuration and change management tools

Configuration and change management tools can predict capacity problems as well as help you prepare for disaster or maintain regulatory compliance. In larger environments especially, these virtual infrastructure tools are invaluable. Not all tools provide the same performance or offer the same features, however. So it’s important to compare and contrast all the available options to avoid making a wasted purchase.

This was last published in April 2012

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