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April 24, 2009

Embotics sells value of virtualisation lifecycle

Solves problems of tracking and managing VM sprawl

By CBR Staff Writer

Free software from an early-stage systems software house could get IT shops started out with virtualisation lifecycle management, tracking the population and tracing the lineage of virtual images deployed across their infrastructure.

“IT shops are in danger of being caught out by virtualisation sprawl and inadequate controls over the increasing numbers of virtualised images they deploy” David Lynch VP at Embotics told us. 

The company’s V- Scout is a free, agent-less tool for tracking and reporting on virtual machines (VMs) in VMware VirtualCenter enabled environments. The system discovers, tracks and identifies VMs as they enter, move or exit the environment. 

Lynch claimed the company addresses an aspect of virtualisation that everyone in the industry recognises as a problem. “HP knows it, CA knows it, Microsoft and VMware do too. Most of the focus of virtualisation has been on the ease of deployment. The challenge is at the management level, and the traditional systems management tools aren’t working too well.”

He told us Embotics sees four aspects to enterprise VM management. 

There is a need to understand who is creating VMs, if they are being created from a template and copied, and how many is in the universe. 

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Next comes policy controls. There is a need to understand who can generate a VM, and where they can put them. 

Embotics has produced V-Commander to help administrators manage their virtualised environments through VM policies, which can identify unauthorised VMs, VM placement errors, or resources that can be reclaimed. 

“In one field test at a customer site, we found that 3.5% of VMs were invisible to the management system,” Lynch noted.

The Embotics system will constantly monitor the environment as VMs are added, cloned, moved and eventually removed, and reacts to administrator-defined ‘out of process’ activity such as when a VM is deployed or moved  into an area where they are not authorised to run. 

To complete the lifecycle, V-Commander is designed to automate the control of VMs according to policies based on performance or business criteria, and integrate and broker management information across to existing management systems. 

“This allows the enterprise asset management system to see what is happening in the virtual environment, or allows a service desk system to issue a service ticket about a virtualised system,” Lynch explained.

He said the company is seeing 100 to 150 downloads a month of the entry level V-Scout, which is pushing interest of the paid-for V-Commander, which licenses at around $40,000.

Headquartered in Ottawa, Canada the company has Jay Litkey, as its President & CEO, who came in from Symbium Corp, which focused on autonomic computing and the automated management of IT infrastructure. 

Embotics is VC-backed, having raised $4 million in a round lead by Covington Capital.

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