IBM Revamps Virtualization Tools

The updated Systems Director could be a hot ticket for many System p and System i customers.

Last week, IBM Corp. announced another rev of its Systems Director virtualization management software. This is no ordinary software announcement from Big Blue, however. IBM officials say the revamped Systems Director Virtualization Manager boasts improved support for the new virtualization capabilities the company built into its next-gen POWER6 chip. In this respect, Systems Director could be a hot ticket for many System p and System i customers.

Systems Director Virtualization Manager is a Web-based resource virtualization tool that can help simplify basic virtualization management tasks—such as identifying potential outage issues or quickly redeploying computing resources. The revamped Systems Director is especially tweaked for technologies such as IBM’s Hardware Management Console (HMC) and Integrated Virtualization Manager (IVM) on POWER, IBM officials say.

Ditto for native POWER amenities, they claim. For example, the new Systems Director provides improved visibility into resource availability and utilization on POWER systems—including CPU, memory, network, and disk resources. In addition, Systems Director can discover the virtualized resources associated with the Virtual I/O server (VIOS), allow a view of the CPU utilization for IVM-managed systems, and show the POWER Hypervisor view of CPU utilization.

On top of this, IBM officials say, the retooled Systems Director boasts additional support for x86 environments—including integration with Big Blue’s Storage Configuration Manager.

IBM plans to introduce two new tools for availability management and image management. The first is Systems Director Virtual Availability Management, which will let users of Xen virtualization software create high-availability farms to manage and respond to unplanned host and virtual server outages. Big Blue’s second offering, Systems Director Virtual Image Management, is designed to provide a unified view of different types of system templates and server images so that customers can manage and deploy their systems. This should make it easier to deploy new virtual servers based on virtual system templates and images.

IBM’s Xen offering boasts at least one technology coup, officials claim: it’s the first technology that provides secure live relocation for Xen virtual machines with minimal downtime in response to predictive host and virtual server failures.

"As virtualization becomes ubiquitous, the management of the data center has become more complex," said Rich Lechner, IBM’s vice president of IT Optimization, in a statement. "Customers need a management platform that works across the data center and allows them to manage the physical and virtual resources to quickly and flexibly respond to business requirements. IBM sees management as the next era of virtualization technology and we are delivering technology and tools to help customers simplify the tasks involved in managing their IT infrastructures."

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.

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