VMLogix, Inc., a provider of virtual lab management software, this week announced VMLogix LabManager 3.8, which adds support for VMware vSphere 4 virtualization infrastructure and integration with VMware vCenter Server, as well as support for Microsoft Hyper-V R2 with shared storage. Also new are capabilities for network policy configurations and deployment within IP zones across multiple virtual hosts. Further, VMLogix is announcing general availability for VMLogix LabManager – Cloud Edition, which just finished a beta program.
Sameer Dholakia, CEO of Santa Clara, Calif.-based VMLogix, said the release meets the requests of their enterprise customers anxious to upgrade to VMware vSphere as well as to take advantage of VMware's management console capabilities.
"We've always supported [VMware'] ESX [hypervisor] and continue to," he said. "Now customers can manage their ESX 3.5 instances and hosts alongside vSphere hosts, and they can upgrade in a phased fashion." Also, he said, the ability to go through vCenter Server (formerly VMware VirtualCenter) "allows us to inherit other capabilities from vCenter and take advantage of other enterprise-class features within the vSphere platform that some larger customers are keen to take advantage of."
Now with Microsoft Hyper-V R2 support, shared storage is allowed, which was a limitation in the R1 version, he said. "It's critically important in a dev/test lab to have the ability for testers to work on a virtual configuration, take a snapshot and share it with developers. Microsoft addressed those limitations [in R1], enabling our customer base to use Hyper-V in the same way they're using ESX," Dholakia said.
VMLogix's hypervisor independence "is a good strategy," said Theresa Lanowitz, founder and CEO of voke inc. The virtualization market "is expanding with more users all the time and in terms of software vendors getting into the virtualization market, so the types of hypervisors organizations are using is expanding as well. It's important to work with a broad array of diverse types of environments."
Other new features of VMLogix LabManager 3.8 include the ability for IP-zoned LabManager configurations to be deployed across multiple virtual hosts using Citrix and VMware platforms, as well as network policies in configurations, which allows users to set custom firewall rules on the soft router in a configuration that allows virtual machines from within a LabManager configuration to connect to external IP addresses, outbound and inbound.
"It's super important to a tester that they're confident that what they're doing is truly isolated," Dholakia said. "Customers were pushing us for ultimate flexibility, to define for themselves the firewall rules they want to have for each test environment. Each test environment might have a different set of policies, and they want to fine-tune the rules down to the individual machine."
In addition to the LabManager 3.8 release, VMLogix is now offering general availability of LabManager – Cloud Edition, which utilizes the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). Dholakia said customers are looking to utilize the cloud edition for use cases that expand beyond dev/test to software support and training, demos, etc., which "each tend to be quite volatile in demand patterns, and when and how much capacity and infrastructure are required."
He said the cloud edition of their product is "the next step on our path to offering a hybrid cloud, hopefully before the end of the year, which will allow folks to bridge the two. They'll be able to take their on-premise LabManager and manage from the same pane of glass as the public cloud instances on EC2." This will enable organizations to utilize the public cloud for those times when they need excess capacity, which Dholakia believes will be the model for the future.
In fact, voke's Lanowitz said the hybrid cloud has been in play for some time, "it's just been called something else." For example, she points to organizations that have outsourced payroll applications. In the virtualization space, over time, she said, "you will see some companies say that it makes sense to go completely with a public cloud because there are no infrastructure dollars, and some will like a private cloud and that security, but the hybrid you will see become more common as time goes by."
Key players in the virtual lab management space, she said, are VMLogix, VMware, Surgient, Citrix and Microsoft's Visual Studio Team System 2010 with virtual lab management capability. While virtual labs enable organizations to get products to market faster and test on more platforms, Lanowitz said the use cases will go beyond testing. "The QA department is the sweet spot in virtual lab management, but there are a lot of other organizations who can benefit from this technology."