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Management tools for virtualized servers: A look at the options

(Christina Torode, Senior News Writer, TechTarget) IT directors may seek that single pane of glass for managing an IT environment, but for now, at least, that seems as unattainable as ever given the added need to manage virtualized servers. A lack of virtualization management tools with visibility into storage resources, for example, is keeping midsized firms running an assortment of management applications, although the major systems management vendors are starting to integrate their products with virtualization management tools.

Many midmarket companies use multiple tools to manage storage, desktops, servers, networks, databases and security in the physical realm, never mind adding a virtual environment to the mix. Different silos within IT are also accustomed to a given management tool for a Unix, Microsoft or Linux environment, for example.

Moreover, communication among tools that manage physical devices and virtual machines, as well as the resources needed to run the VMs, is often lacking. With storage, for example, IT departments are trying to tie the management tool that comes with a storage area network to the tools that manage a virtual machine to figure out how to manage the storage requirements of a given VM.

"[VMware's] vCenter has a view into the storage and even into the networking, but you still need to use storage management tools to create that storage to present it to a virtual environment," said Mark Bowker, an analyst at The Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. in Milford, Mass. "You can't just un-box a storage management system, turn on the virtualization software and see the storage systems."

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