Just in time for VMworld, Dell virtualization suite update aims to further enable data-center efficiency

Dell Software today announced the next generation of its virtualization operations management suite, just in time for next week’s VMworld conference. The suite is comprised of a trio of solutions that help businesses of all sizes streamline virtualization, storage, and cloud-computing initiatives — with broad VMware products support.

The new releases include Foglight for Virtualization, Enterprise and Standard Editions 7.0 and Foglight for Storage Management 3.0. These releases address a number of data-center transformation challenges — from optimizing performance and efficiency in a virtual environment to solving end-to-end storage and virtualization challenges in complex and cloud-based systems.

Dell Software, recognizing VMware’s market leading penetration in virtualization, is carving out a heterogeneity support play for server, storage and VDI — but is making VMware support a priority for now. And Dell is supporting VMware VDI even as its own thin client portfolio, nee Wyse, competes with it.

For Dell Software, the bigger long-term management and efficiency opportunity is for making a mixture of virtualization technologies tamed. They, like most, expect Microsoft Hyper-V to gain in share and therefore make for a mixed data center sprawl. And the same is expected for VDI, especially as BYOD, mobile first, and tablets make the end points even more hetero.

You might say the messier it gets (and the lack of cross-technology support from the competing market leaders themselves), the better it is for a third party like Dell to waltz in and fix the mess, and scoop up a nice piece of margin too. Dell plans to target Hyper-V eventually, but is focused on VMware for now.

“Software-defined is great, but it isn’t a black box. You still need to connect the physical to the virtual,” said John Maxwell, executive director, product management, Dell Software. [Disclosure: Dell Software and VMware are sponsors of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) professionals are faced with not only reducing the total cost of the data center, but also to drive agility, quickly deploy new applications, and deliver the highest level of performance, said Maxwell.

Foglight for Virtualization

Foglight for Virtualization, Enterprise Edition 7.0 provides end-to-end performance monitoring and operations management for heterogeneous virtual environments to help reduce operational costs, speed deployments, and simplify the complexity of the data center virtual and physical infrastructure. This also includes deep integration with storage, Microsoft Active Directory, and Microsoft Exchange modules to provide performance analysis and advice across data-center infrastructure.

New optimization functionality allows I&O administrators to significantly increase consolidation ratios with improved visibility and analytics geared toward right-sizing CPU, memory, and storage, and effectively manages virtual-machine (VM) sprawl by reclaiming resources through new optimization insight into such waste as powered off VMs, zombie VMs, abandoned images, and unused templates and snapshots.

Now that most enterprises are majority workload virtualized, the next wave of cost savings comes from finding and removing those zombies, managing all the various flavors of virtualization in common fashion, further optimizing the CPU/memory/disk performance, and freeing up data storage with more insight and intelligence. You could think of this all as repaving the path to software-defined data centers, recognizing that there’s still a lot of waste to clear along that road well before the end destination.

Additional enhancements due this month include:

Foglight for Storage Management 3.0 helps to ensure the right storage configuration to optimize virtual infrastructure performance and availability. It provides virtualization managers with visibility into the underlying physical storage infrastructure that lies beneath the virtual datastores, enabling them to immediately identify hosts, VMs, and datastores experiencing performance problems caused by underlying physical host, fabric and storage components and tips to fix the issues.

Performance metrics

Foglight for Storage Management gathers extensive performance metrics and presents this data within a rich graphical interface incorporating architectural diagrams, graphs, alerts, and drill-down screens for fast and easy identification of virtual and physical storage problems.  New feature functionality provides:

  • Pool-level analysis to track remaining capacity and over-commitment for thin provisioning
  • Performance analyzer to provide one-click performance troubleshooting visibility from VM to array to sub-array level in a single dashboard
  • Additional device support for Dell Compellent, Dell EqualLogic, and EMC VMAX

Foglight for Virtualization, Standard Edition 7.0 is specifically designed for the small–to-medium size environment (SME), with a focus on ease of use and quick time to value. It provides administrators insight into virtual environment performance and automated resource optimization, capacity planning, chargeback and showback, and change analysis and compliance.

New capacity management and planning functionality helps to drive data-center sustainability and reduce power consumption to decrease operating costs and capital expenditures, while improving workload performance. It does this by analyzing existing VM workload requirements against the entire environment and identifying the minimum number of host servers required over time to safely support workloads. Additional new enhancements include:

  • Enhanced user interface for a more intuitive approach to capacity management and planning
  • New capacity planning features to prepare for host server refresh, upgrade, or expansion projects by finding the optimum configurations and minimum number of new or existing host servers to maximize VM performance while minimizing server cost, space, and power needs
  • New power minimization feature to reduce costs by determining the minimum number of host servers needed over time to safely run workloads, and estimating potential cost savings by powering down unneeded servers
  • New optimization to automatically adjust virtual machine disk sizes up or down, based on actual use

Foglight for Virtualization, Enterprise Edition 7.0 remains priced at $799; Foglight for Storage Management 3.0 remains priced at $499 per socket, and Foglight for Virtualization, Standard Edition 7.0 operates as a standalone tool, or can easily integrate with Dell Software’s Foglight for Virtualization, Enterprise Edition software. It’s priced at $399 per physical socket in managed servers.

All can be downloaded from the Dell Software website and are expected to be generally available on August 31.

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About Dana Gardner

Dana Gardner is president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, an enterprise IT analysis, market research, and consulting firm. Gardner, a leading identifier of software and cloud productivity trends and new IT business growth opportunities, honed his skills and refined his insights as an industry analyst, pundit, and news editor covering the emerging software development and enterprise infrastructure arenas for the last 18 years. Gardner tracks and analyzes a critical set of enterprise software technologies and business development issues: Cloud computing, SOA, business process management, business intelligence, next-generation data centers, and application lifecycle optimization. His specific interests include Enterprise 2.0 and social media, cloud standards and security, as well as integrated marketing technologies and techniques. Gardner is a former senior analyst at Yankee Group and Aberdeen Group, and a former editor-at-large and founding online news editor at InfoWorld. He is a former news editor at IDG News Service, Digital News & Review, and Design News.
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