The Way Business Is Moving published by
Issue Date: May 2008

Automated virtual machine lifecycle

1 May 2008

VMware has announced the general availability of VMware Lifecycle Manager. The new product provides control over the virtual environment, showing who owns a virtual machine, when it was requested, who approved it, where it is deployed, how long it has been in operation and when it is scheduled to be decommissioned. VMware Lifecycle Manager also gives IT managers the ability to measure and chargeback the use of virtual machines to individual department owners. The automation and control of the entire virtual machine lifecycle eliminates manual and repetitive tasks that often introduce errors, and it also enables the business to be in strict compliance with IT policies and standards.
VMware virtual machines encapsulate applications and operating systems in portable and manageable 'containers' that radically improve the security, availability and performance of both the application and the operating system. The portability and manageability characteristics of virtual machines makes them ideally suited for capturing and automating IT processes such as service delivery. As companies increasingly standardise on VMware Infrastructure and deploy virtual machines as a best way to run applications, secure data, assure business continuity and reduce energy consumption, they need efficient tools to help manage virtual machine proliferation. VMware Lifecycle Manager allows companies to implement a consistent and automated process for requesting, approving, deploying, updating, and retiring virtual machines.
"VMware Lifecycle Manager allows customers to fully automate the provisioning, charging back and decommissioning of virtual machines," said Raghu Raghuram, vice president of products and solutions at VMware. "VMware Lifecycle Manager is integral to the many new products VMware is bringing to market to offer unprecedented levels of automation and control across data centres."
With VMware Lifecycle Manager, customers can:
* Create a catalogue of standard IT services. Users can select from a pre-defined menu of virtual machines with different properties such as processor and memory. This standardisation allows infrastructure administrators to maintain control over the IT environment and minimise risk.
* Streamline requests and approvals. VMware Lifecycle Manager establishes a consistent and scalable mechanism to route and approve all requests for virtual machines, ensuring compliance with internal policies.
* Track and control virtual machines. VMware Lifecycle Manager provides an easy to use Web interface for tracking virtual machine deployments so IT administrators can know exactly when requests were made, approved or denied; when and where virtual machines are deployed; and how long they have been in operation.
* Eliminate manual, repetitive, and error-prone tasks. As virtual environments grow, automation is critical in helping IT do more with less. VMware Lifecycle Manager automates each step in the virtual machine lifecycle based on predefined policies.
* Assign Chargeback Metrics. VMware Lifecycle Manager enables IT to associate chargeback metrics to specific virtual machine deployments and resource pools. These chargeback metrics can be assigned to specific business groups, and tied in to existing financial systems.
* Integrate with existing management tools. VMware Lifecycle Manager provides APIs for integration with other IT operational tools such as trouble ticketing, change management, and asset management.
"A recent ESG survey of current and planned virtual server adopters, showed that current users expect that the number of their virtual machines will grow by 173% over the next two years," said Mark Bowker, industry analyst at ESG. "To handle this massive growth, VMware Lifecycle Manager delivers IT organisations a method to automate best practices by implementing a standardised approach for managing user requests for the provisioning of virtual machines, while simultaneously eliminating manual and repetitive tasks."

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