VMLogix, the company that helps IT organizations consolidate and automate their lab infrastructure using virtualization technologies, is jumping into the Cloud Computing bandwagon with the release of their VMLogix LabManager – Cloud Edition. I have already written about a competing product called Skytap. VMLogix’s foray into this space makes the market competitive and also adds an important dimension to it.
This product will help IT organizations provison, consolidate, automate virtual lab infrastructure within the public clouds. Right now, they are only offering support for Amazon Web Services but they are planning to extend support for other public clouds like GoGrid, Rackspace, etc. in the future. Unlike Skytap which delivers the Cloud Infrastructure from their own datacenters, VMLogix allows their customers to deploy on top of public providers like Amazon. This offers more flexibility and an enterprise customer can now run their lab infrastructure on top of multiple cloud providers. In fact, VMLogix is planning to release another version of their product called LabManager Hybrid Cloud Edition (HCE) in the fourth quarter of ’09 and this will help enterprises run their labs on top of hybrid clouds involving public cloud providers and their internal datacenter. This is a pretty powerful feature that could help enterprises test the Clouds seamlessly.
Some of the features of VMLogix LabManager – Cloud Edition are
- Creation and management of multi-machine configurations: enabling the combination of multiple Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) into a single environment and providing capabilities to entirely automate the deployment and re-deployment of multi-machine environments (including software stack customizations) in a self-service fashion
- Full virtual lab tool capabilities: tapping into powerful virtual lab management capabilities including user/team management, license management and lease management, and enabling users/teams to share/collaborate with lab artefacts, audit trails and access to a centralized repository of software media
- On-demand access to virtual lab resources: allowing for immediate access to computing infrastructure resources over the web from any location
- Pay-for-what-you-use pricing model: leveraging the elasticity of the cloud allows customers to reduce up front capital expenditures by instantly scaling up or scaling down the lab infrastructure when required, and only paying for what is used
I spoke to Sameer Dholakia, CEO of VMLogix, and he told me that the enterprise cloud market is shaping up in the same way as the server virtualization market. He said that enterprises will first want to test the waters with pre-production labs in the Clouds and then move on to the production level. It is, of course, true and we are seeing enterprises offload non-critical parts of their business like labs, QA, etc. to the Clouds. Like in the case of Skytap article, I asked Mr. Dholakia about the long term viability of their approach. Since their product only caters to the market needs that will come up in the short term before the Clouds mature and enterprises get convinced about issues related to security, privacy, etc., I was curious to find his response on how they are going to position themselves as a long term player. Mr. Dholakia pointed me to their other product called VMLogix StageManager, which helps IT create a customizable workflow that will take the operation from the lab stage to all the way to production. He said these two products will help the company stay competitive for a long time. One of the key points in favor of Skytap is their support to many different OSes including Windows XP, Vista and some server products that are not supported by Amazon Web Services at this point of time. When I queried Mr. Dholakia about it, he told me that he is betting on Amazon to fill the gap in the near future. He also mentioned that when they add support to other Cloud providers and release their other version, LabManager HCE, these gaps will get filled. He was very confident that they can position their product much more competitively compared to other players in this space.
VMLogix is already an established name in this space and the move to Clouds is the next logical progression in their evolution. The Cloud Edition, with a comprehensive set of features and aggressive pricing, offers them an opportunity to gain a solid market share. It will be interesting to see if Skytap will reposition themselves and offer any product on top of the public cloud offerings.