ScaleXtreme launches hybrid cloud management service

Users can manage internal and multiple external clouds from a single management console

Companies that have as many as 400 servers, including machines running internally as well as in public clouds, can start using a hosted management tool from ScaleXtreme, starting Tuesday.

ScaleXtreme has been offering a limited version of its hosted cloud systems management service but on Tuesday is launching the full commercial product, including a free version as well as a premium service.

"By being hosted in the cloud, we have this level of geographic independence and virtualization platform independence that we designed in that allows us to take machines from different providers like Amazon and Rackspace and pull them into a single pain of glass," said Nand Mulchandani, co-founder and CEO of ScaleXtreme.

In addition to managing servers available from cloud services like Amazon and Rackspace, users can tie their internal clouds into the same ScaleXtreme management console.

To get started, an IT administrator must install an agent on the virtual machines to be managed in the ScaleXtreme service. For RackSpace and Amazon, users can automatically launch new machines from the ScaleXtreme tool. For internal machines or those hosted by providers that ScaleXtreme doesn't yet support, a user must download the agent and upload it to the machines using an auto installer.

Because the agent runs on the virtual machine, users don't have to open their firewall or open ports on the virtual machine itself, reducing security risks, Mulchandani said.

Once IT administrators have linked all their machines into the tool, they can live browse onto any of them, copy files between clouds, and deploy scripts on multiple machines that could be running in different geographies and by different providers.

"You can start running jobs and do system management across those clouds sitting on the couch at home," Mulchandani said. "You don't need a VPN connection and you don't have to connect to all the different data centers to run those jobs."

ScaleXtreme also includes a library where administrators can store scripts. It features version control so users can easily revert to previous versions. From the library, an administrator can run the scripts by choosing which servers to run it on.

Starting Tuesday, a free version of the service called ScaleXtreme Xpress will be available to anyone. It only allows for one log-in account and is limited to use on one cloud provider. A user can manage an unlimited number of servers, however.

The upgraded ScaleXtreme Xpert costs US$15 per server per month and supports multiple administrator log ins and other features such as the ability to batch management activities based on parameters such as the operating system running on the machine or the machine's geographic location. Users can manage internal machines as well as machines run by multiple external cloud providers.

The company is hoping to meet demand it sees among enterprises running 50 to 400 servers. Those companies aren't buying the management tools from IBM or CA, Mulchandani said. "Those products are simply way too heavyweight and over-configured and expensive for people in the 50 to 300 or 400 server range," he said. Many of those companies are using manual processes, he said.

ScaleXtreme will compete with RightScale, which already offers a product for managing servers across internal and external clouds. RightScale said that hundreds of thousands of deployments have been launched using its product.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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