IT managers seeking management tools to complement their VMware environments should consider VMware itself, which rounded out its vCenter product family today with three new products: VMware vCenter AppSpeed, Chargeback and an updated version of Lab Manager.
AppSpeed, a tool for monitoring performance of virtualized applications, derives from VMware's acquisition of B-hive Networks last year. Chargeback was developed internally and provides cost accounting, reporting and billing for virtual machines. Finally, the updated Lab Manager 4.0 has been collapsed into Stage Manager.
AppSpeed discovers and maps multi-tier applications running in virtual and physical environments, then monitors their performance over time, against pre-determined thresholds and service-level agreements (SLAs), said Melinda Wilken, VMware's senior director of product marketing. It can also perform root-cause analysis of performance problems by identifying which component in an application has caused latency.
Unlike traditional application performance monitoring tools, AppSpeed does not measure resource consumption of underlying physical resources, a metric that can be misleading in highly consolidated, pooled virtual environments. Instead, it measures application performance in terms of end-user response time and scans traffic that moves across an ESX host's virtual switch.
This approach also ensures that AppSpeed will not negatively affect monitored workloads and does not require administrators to install agents inside virtual machine guests, said Wilken.
Chargeback aids cost allocation
Changing gears, VMware vCenter Chargeback allows administrators to determine costs associated with running a virtualized infrastructure. It allows them to map existing chargeback hierarchies to virtual resources or build them from scratch. VMware Charbegack supports three different cost structures: fixed, where a virtual machine is billed at a flat rate; allocation, where virtual machines are assigned a set amount of resources; and utilization based, where users pay for actual consumption.
For customers that are not ready to bill back to their constituents, Chargeback supports "showback," where the tool shows business units and management the resources that specific virtual environments have consumed.
Finally, Lab Manager 4.0 takes VMware's existing developer-focused lab management tool and combines its with Stage Manager, a sister tool designed to help IT managers move applications from test into production. Highlights of the release include support for VMware's latest vSphere 4, support for ESX and ESXi form factors, and advanced network fencing capabilities to better support development of extremely large application environments, the company said.
By implementing Lab Manager internally, VMware believes IT managers can stem the tide of developers that circumvent their IT departments to move new product development to outside resources such as Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2.)
"We are hearing stories of developers taking their credit cards to access external cloud resources," said Wilkin. "Why? Clearly because they aren't getting the service levels they need from their internal IT department."
By implementing Lab Manager, IT managers can build "what essentially amounts to an internal cloud for dev/test," Wilken said, complete with self-service access and check-in and check-out. At the same time, IT managers maintain security and full administrative control
All three products are generally available today. AppSpeed comes as a virtual appliance and retails for $1,250 per managed CPU. Chargeback is also delivered as a virtual appliance and costs $750 per managed CPU, and Lab Manager 4.0 is $1,495 per CPU.
Let us know what you think about the story; email: Alex Barrett, News Director.