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New VMware products add workflow, storage views to management lineup

VMware vCloud Request Manager improves workflow and software license tracking, while a new version of vCenter CapacityIQ sees disk and I/O resources.

VMware users are eager to check out two new products that plug holes in VMware's management offerings. The new vCloud Request Manager bolsters governance and control for vCloud Director users, and CapacityIQ 1.5 promises visibility into storage infrastructure.

VMware vCloud Request Manager adds workflow approvals to provisioning requests made from vCloud Director, the self-service provisioning product announced earlier this fall. It also tracks the software license usage as virtual machine "vApps" are commissioned and decommissioned; and it enables finer grained partitioning of the resources that make up a vCloud Director virtual data center (VDC).

VCloud Director beta user David Cheal wants to learn more about vCloud Request Manager. His firm,, an Australian startup, uses vCloud Director to build out a new cloud-based IT test and home lab service. Cheal said that the workflow automation capabilities in Request Manager could be useful as scales the service to large groups of users.

"The self-service component that comes out of the box with vCloud Director is really very good -- better than we expected," Cheal said. But he'll look at additional automation capabilities from Request Manager for client-side provisioning.

"What we need as we embrace the volume space is automation of sign-on/account creation and deployment," he said. "Anything that helps in that space would be useful."

Request Manager tracks software licenses
Request Manager's software-license tracking capabilities could also prove useful if they extend to non-VMware licenses. "The VMware side of things is fairly straightforward, but a lot of customers use Microsoft, and managing all of that is a bit of a grey area," Cheal said. "Because of the space we're in, a lot of people are using trialware; it'd be great to be able to differentiate between full and trial licenses, and make the trial licenses go away after 120 days."

Architecturally, vCloud Request Manager layers atop vCloud Director and interacts with it via the vCloud API. As such, vCloud Request Manager is sold in conjunction with -- but seperately -- from vCloud Director. "Some may want the additional granular level of software tracking and governance and control -- some may not," said Ramin Sayar, VMware vice president of products, enterprise management. Generally, Sayar said Request Manager interests enterprise vCloud Director customers, but it's not as critical for service providers.

VCloud Request Manager is in beta and will be generally available by the end of the year for a starting price of $100 per virtual machine.

CapacityIQ sees storage
Like competitive products such as Vkernel Capacity Analyzer, VMware vCenter CapacityIQ 1.5 adds awareness of storage resources, including disk capacity and I/O performance.

With CapacityIQ 1.5, infrastructure administrators can see snapshots or I/O and disk capacity reports, and they can also perform "what if" analyses that can anticipate storage capacity shortfalls. Previously, CapacityIQ worked against compute and memory resources.

CapacityIQ's new storage capabilities will be particularly useful in emerging vCloud Director environments, according to VMware's Sayar. "Compute and storage go hand in hand in terms of aggregate resource pools," he said. CapacityIQ's new storage capabilities "will help with resource automation for logical VDC groupings."

Adding storage to CapacityIQ's docket also reflects a new reality in IT shops, Sayar said. "The lines are blurring between storage, networking and compute. A lot of times, teams that used to be separate are working together -- whether they want to or not," he said. Adding storage visibility to CapacityIQ will help infrastructure admins and operations teams work more effectively together.

Some VMware users wondered what took VMware so long to bolster CapacityIQ'. The addition of storage metrics to CapacityIQ are needed, said Wayne Gateman, an area coordinator of virtualization for a Fortune 15 company in the medical distribution and software industry. But they're not enough to turn him away from the third-party tools he uses for virtualization management, in this case, VKernel's Capacity Analyzer suite.

Of the CapacityIQ updates, Gateman said, "This is similar to [the] hypervisor from Microsoft playing catch-up [with VMware] – VMware is adding new features that already exist in VKernel. More to the point, VMware is pointing at capacity only, [and] VKernel has that along with the Right Sizer, etc.. already in place, so [there's] more bang for the buck." "The million dollar question is why did it take VMware two years after VKernel rolled out to figure out people need insight into the storage, and not just memory and CPU?""

CapacityIQ 1.5 will also be available by the end of the year for $75 per managed virtual machine.

Check out all of our VMworld Europe 2010 conference coverage here.

This story was updated Wednesday with additional VMware user quotes.

News writer Beth Pariseau contributed to this report. Let us know what you think about the story; email Alex Barrett, News Director at, or follow @aebarrett on twitter.

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