Handling Heterogeneous Hypervisor Environments with HotLink's SuperVISOR

by Paul Rubens

What's the dominant hypervisor today? While VMware may be the obvious answer, HotLink's CEO has a different take on the matter.

What's the dominant hypervisor these days? Surely VMware is the correct answer, right?

Not according to Lynn LeBlanc, CEO and founder of California-based server virtualization management software company HotLink. The right answer is actually "multiple hypervisors," she believes. "And if they were easier to manage they would be even more dominant," she adds.

Her answer is perhaps not all that surprising, considering how much her company relies on heterogeneous hypervisor environments. But given her answer, what is surprising is that Hotlink uses vCenter as its pane of glass through which to manage these heterogeneous environments.

Why vCenter? Well, because VMware is clearly the dominant hypervisor.

We seem to be going around in circles here.

Virtually SpeakingNevertheless, HotLink's SuperVISOR works as a plug-in to vCenter, and it allows companies to manage all their hypervisors by translating other hypervisors' metadata into the format vCenter expects.

Supported hypervisors include Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (KVM), and standard functions like cross-platform cloning, snapshots and migrations on these hypervisors can all be conducted from vCenter.

In late January the company launched version 2.0 of SuperVISOR. The trend in the virtualization world is to add value to products by implementing cloud computing capabilities, and HotLink is no exception, with the new 2.0 release focused primarily around enhancments to cloud-based support.

According to HotLink, the new version enables automation solutions such as VMware vCloud Director and PowerCLI to support multi-hypervisor resources directly through their existing interfaces to VMware vCenter, without requiring other consoles or integration points. This single pane of glass approach is fundamental to what HotLink does.

"If you are operating a private cloud, you can now use vCenter as an integration hub for administration, and integrate with vCloud Director and other compatible products," says LeBlanc. "By going through vCenter, the world of vCenter tools become multiplatform. So this is an enabler for deploying suites of tools in a heterogeneous environment."

The new release is not restricted to the private cloud either. Hybrid clouds are where it's at, and that's also where HotLink wants to be.

SuperVISOR 2 is interoperable with HotLink Hybrid Express for fully unified management of all on- and off-premise cloud-based resources. That means it's possible to extend private cloud deployments to include Amazon EC2 public cloud resources, using VMware vCenter as the single point of administration and integration. There's that single pane of glass again.

The new version also brings the product a bit more up to date with the addition of support for VMware vCenter 5.1 and Microsoft Hyper-V 2012, bringing with it the functional and operational enhancements these versions provide.

One final piece of news that may be of interest to smaller companies: HotLink SuperVISOR for VMware vCenter is now available in a free edition with support for up to three hosts and fifteen virtual machines.

The free edition will no doubt appeal to these companies, and it also provides a chance for larger companies to test HotLink's vCentered approach. So far the company has twenty paying customers for SuperVISOR, and the company sees the free edition as a marketing tool to get these numbers rather higher.

Note: HotLink SuperVISOR for VMware vCenter 2.0 is available now in both the free and standard editions. The list price for the standard edition starts at $26,700, and the free edition is available at http://www.hotlink.com/contact/download_inquiries.php.

Paul Rubens is a technology journalist and contributor to ServerWatch, EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and EnterpriseMobileToday. He has also covered technology for international newspapers and magazines including The Economist and The Financial Times since 1991.

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This article was originally published on Wednesday Feb 20th 2013
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