Virtualization management tools are popping up everywhere, and some are much better than others. In fact, few really shine at this point.Part of the problem is that these tools are attempting to tame a wild animal. Virtualization technologies are expanding and growing at a blinding pace, and no one can truly keep up with the current pace of change…let alone manage it.
Vendors like VKernel, Veeam and Quest are doing a good job, but don’t hold your breathe looking for one tool to rule them all. There will always be advanced features within a hypevisor that management tools have not caught up to. You will either have to limit yourself to the tools supported by your management platform (better pick a robust platform or you will be crippling your hypervisor and destroying your ROI), or you will have to accept that you will still use the native hypervisor management tools to manage advanced features (limiting the ROI on the new management tool).
This trade off is frustrating, but one that will not go away until the pace of change within virtualization technologies slows down considerably. In other words, this will not change any time soon.
Though I generally recommend against it, I admit there may be reasonable cases for mixing hypervisors within an environment. As you evaluate decisions like that, be sure to consider the impact on ROI. OpEx can go through the roof in those scenarios and easily wipe out the CapEx savings used to justify the decision. If you are then looking to a management tool to bring the two hypervisors together in a single pane of glass, do not set your expectations too high on the capabilities of any tool to provide a high value in that scenario. The few tools that could make any real impact there may be cost prohibitive. Before you know it, you have pushed both the CapEx and OpEx through the roof trying to manage a mixed environment.
This topic can go pretty deep, and in a hundred directions. I welcome your feedback and comments. I written an article on this topic at SearchServerVirtualization – “Virtualization management tools: Navigating the muddy waters”. Be sure to check that out, then come back here to leave any comments or contribute to the discussion.