Monday, September 13, 2010 11:37 AM
Novell Looks to Solve Private Cloud Vendor Lock-in
With its Cloud Manager software released on Monday, Novell hopes to address the vendor lock-in problem facing enterprises building private clouds.
Cloud Manager allows IT staff to manage virtualized resources that
may be based on different hypervisors, including VMware, Microsoft's
Hyper-V and Xen virtual servers, all from a single management tool,
according to Novell.
Today, companies that have private clouds based on different
hypervisors typically have to manage them separately, using tools from
different vendors. But that can be complicated.
With a single management console, companies may be more likely to
use a mix of hypervisors based on their needs, said Ben Grubin, director
of data center management at Novell.
"What this allows you to do is make infrastructure choices based on
what you need to do to support your business services, rather than
trying to maintain a single unified stack," he said.
Microsoft is moving in a similar direction. Its Systems Center
software can manage VMware as well as Hyper-V environments today, and
Microsoft has said the next version, due next year, will manage Citrix
XenServer as well. VMware's tools can manage only its own hypervisors.
Businesses may want to use hypervisors from different vendors
depending on the applications they're running, Grubin said. VMware's
software has the biggest market share and the most features but it is
also more expensive, he said, and some applications don't require all
those capabilities. He argued that companies can keep their costs down
by using a lighter-weight, less expensive hypervisor for some
Cloud Manager also includes tools that allow end users to provision
their own computing resources, even those that may be hosted across
data centers on multiple hypervisors. The provisioning console can
display a catalog of services, as well as service tiers with different
prices, that the end user can choose from.
When workers or business units want access to new services they
typically have to call the IT department and work through a provisioning
process that could take months. They may also have to pay for new
hardware and software. Allowing them to self-provision resources from a
private cloud cuts the time it takes to set up new services and allows
them to pay only for the resources they use.
To use Cloud Manager, an enterprise connects the application server,
which runs the self-service portal, to orchestration servers at data
centers. Each orchestration server can communicate with infrastructures
built on different hypervisors.
Novell has created an adaptor that will let users incorporate
services running on Amazon EC2, but that capability is at the technology
preview stage and not yet shipping, Grubin said. Novell's customers
have told it they will want the ability to combine public and private
clouds into a single management tool, he said. He expects that in the
future, Cloud Manager will support any of the public cloud services that
customers ask for.
Novell is not publishing pricing for Cloud Manager. It will sell a
version that can run up to 25 workloads, to let customers try it out.
They'll then be able to buy add-on packs that support up to 50
additional workloads, he said.
In addition to helping companies realize the benefits of private
clouds, Cloud Manager may also help them to get past so-called "VM
stall." Some organizations don't get past virtualizing 20 percent or 30
percent of their servers, because business units are reluctant to give
up the "visibility, security or compliance" that they feel they get
from physical servers, Grubin said.
"One thing the Cloud Manager offers is the ability to give that
power back to the app owner, through things like the self-service portal
and the ability to manage your own workloads," he said. "You have the
visibility, cost transparency and accountability that are critical
steps to getting over that hump."