The challenge of managing mixed virtualized Linux, Windows networks

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

"In the data center we see that people are not saying consolidate [on a platform], they are saying give me a universal remote," says Richard Whitehead, director of product marketing for data center solutions.

Red Hat also is developing its portfolio. Its February 2008 launch of the open source oVirt Project has a stated goal of producing management products for mixed environments.

"The oVirt framework will be used to control guests in a cloud environment, create pools of resources, create images, deploy images, provision images and manage the life cycle of those," says Mike Ferris, director of product strategy for the management business unit at Red Hat.

HP has aligned its HP Insight Dynamics --Virtual Server Environment (VSE) with VMware and plans to add support for Microsoft's Hyper-V in the next release, according to HP's Albert. In addition, HP is increasing the feature set of its Linux management and monitoring support.

And while the vendors work on their tools, the DMTF is working on standards it hopes will be as common as existing DMTF standards CIM and WBEM.

The Virtualization Management Initiative (VMAN) released by the DMTF Sept. 16 is designed to provide interoperability and portability standards for virtual computing. The initiative includes the Open Virtualization Format (OVF) for packaging up and deploying one or more virtual machines to either Linux or Windows platforms. Tools that are based on VMAN will provide consistent deployment, management and monitoring regardless of the hypervisor deployed.

"The truth is we have been working on this whole platform independence since 1998," says Winston Bumpus, president of the DMTF, in regard to the organization's goals.

Virtualization is only one of the DMTF's initiatives. In the next month, the group will start its interoperability certification program around its SMASH and DASH initiatives. The Systems Management Architecture for Server Hardware (SMASH), used to unify data center management, includes the SMASH Server Management (SM) Command Line Protocol (CLP) specification, which simplifies management of heterogeneous servers in the data center. The Desktop and Mobile Architecture for System Hardware (DASH) provides standards-based Web services management for desktop and mobile client systems.

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