Hyperic open source tool manages VMware

Open source software analyzes and manages virtual stacks

Hyperic is making available a version of its open source software that can analyze and manage virtual stacks powered by VMware.

Hyperic HQ for VMware software is available for download now under open source licensing. The software provides enterprise IT managers with visibility into VMware virtual machines and resources. HQ performs "physical to virtual mapping" that shows IT managers the virtual machines, their hosts, as well as operating systems and applications running within the virtual machines, Hyperic says.

"For us to deliver support for any platform such as VMware, we have to look at the management interfaces that the vendor exposes, which in VMware's case are fairly rich and well organized and write plug-ins to integrate into them," says Javier Soltero, Hyperic CEO. "HQ traverses the physical and virtual layers so that when it discovers these instances it can map them to the inventory."

Hyperic HQ for VMware is an extension of the company's flagship software. The commercial version of Hyperic HQ started out as a hybrid product of sorts -- part open source and part proprietary technologies. Hyperic was spun out of Covalent, which focused on the security and support needs of the Apache Web Server, and Hyperic took Covalent Application Manager and broadened its reach to include the ability to manage the entire Web and open source infrastructure stack, Soltero says. Last year, the vendor made available both open source and commercial versions, with the latter providing a few more features, including remote control and security log management.

Hyperic HQ for VMware installs on a dedicated server and comes with a built-in database. Customers deploy agents on all managed machines, and the agents report back to the server only when conditions have changed or an alert is necessary. The software monitors various platforms ranging from Tomcat to Citrix to Apache to Linux to Solaris to Windows to VMware and more. The software delivers data and reports via a Web-based interface. Hyperic HQ for VMware works with a series of APIs provided by VMware, and Soltero says the software is complementary to VMware VirtualCenter

"We hear a lot of customers talking about virtualization, and this stuff can break just as often and just as badly if not worse than physical servers, so it still desperately needs monitoring," Soltero says.

Industry watchers agree. Analysts say going forward the deployment of virtualization will spur management vendors to add support for the technology to their suites. For instance, IBM, Opsware, CA have recently added virtual management capabilities to their software.

Enterprise Management Associates Senior Analyst Andi Mann recently wrote in a Network World Network and Systems Management newsletter: "With the rapid commoditization of the virtualization layer, it is inevitable that the virtualization battles will be fought beyond the infrastructure and on fronts such as manageability, usability, partnerships, flexibility, ease of deployment, or ease of use."

Hyperic says it plans to add support for other virtual environments, such as Xen, in the first quarter. The company also offers customers a free, downloadable open source development kit for building plug-ins that support specific software and hardware. The kit is now available.

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