The challenge of managing mixed virtualized Linux, Windows networks

Windows and virtualization are driving need for new management standards, tools

And that allows for managing distributed applications, which incorporate multiple components on multiple platforms.

"Microsoft has a limited scope of what they are bringing into System Center at this point," he says.

For instance, Bakert uses Quest Xtensions to monitor IronPort relays that work with Microsoft Exchange to ensure everything in the e-mail service is monitored in one tool.

The Quest tools also let Bakert store security events on non-Windows machines so he can report on both Windows and non-Windows platforms, which helps with collecting compliance data.

Taylor and Bakert also are beta testing Microsoft's System Center Service Manager, slated to ship in early 2010, with hopes they can reduce System Center consoles from five to one.

Eventually, Service Manager's configuration management database will host data from Configuration Manager and Operations Manager, as well as incorporate ITIL, a set of best practices for IT services management, and the Microsoft Operations Framework.

Taylor and Bakert also are testing System Center's Virtual Machine Manager, slated to ship by year-end, which will manage Windows, the VMware hypervisor and Suse Linux guest environments.

Virtualization getting mixed management workout

Microsoft ironically had the title as first to support mixed hypervisor environments because it was last to release a hypervisor -- Hyper-V.

Without the benefit of the in-development Microsoft code, VMware, Novell, Red Hat, HP and others are momentarily playing catch-up on cross-platform management support.

Novell is using its February 2008 acquisition of PlateSpin to support management across both physical and virtual environments. The company's existing partnership and interoperability agreement with Microsoft has yielded virtualization bundles and the company's acquisition of Managed Objects last week will give IT admins and business managers a unified view of how business services work across both physical and virtual environments.

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