Novell Promises No More Private Cloud Lock-In With Cloud Manager

After months of prep, Novell on Monday officially made available Cloud Manager, its cloud computing creation and management tool, a product the Waltham, Mass.-based company said will help cloud hopefuls avoid the vendor lock-in trap.

Novell's Cloud Manager, which had been in beta, helps customers build and keep tabs on their private cloud computing environments as if they are an extension of existing data center resources, the company said. Partners have awaited the general availability of Cloud Manager for on-demand private cloud provisioning.

"Unlike competitive solutions that lock customers into proprietary technology stacks, Novell Cloud Manager is designed for the heterogeneous reality of most IT environments, giving users the freedom and flexibility to create and manage private clouds which support all leading hypervisors, operating systems and hardware platforms," the company said in a statement.

The official launch of Cloud Manager continues Novell's path into cloud computing, which includes its WorkloadIQ product roadmap, a series of products targeting the need for "intelligent workload management" solutions that help companies use their existing IT assets to save money and leverage the benefits of cloud computing and virtualization and to manage those services across physical, virtual and cloud environments, said Richard Whitehead, Novell's director of intelligent workload management. Whitehead called Cloud Manager "one of the cornerstones of [Novell's] cloud strategy."

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Intelligent workload management, Whitehead said, is designed to help manage and support workloads across physical, virtual and cloud environments.

"It's not a movement to; it's an extension of," Whitehead said.

Cloud Manger provides on-demand private cloud provisioning and lets users manage resources on different hypervisors, whether VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Xen from a single pane of glass, the company said, eliminating the need to manage each different vendor's hypervisor with a different tool. The hypervisor-agnostic tool lets users request, manage and report on IT services across their entire infrastructure. Cloud Manager also supports varying operating systems, including SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Microsoft Windows Server and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Whitehead said the goal of Cloud Manager is to help users build and manage private clouds using their existing virtual environments. And by staying hypervisor-agnostic, Novell plays the role of the "Switzerland of the IT organization" and put to bed cloud "turf battles" within companies where one part of an organization standardizes on one hypervisor, say VMware, while another uses a different hypervisor, like Microsoft.

"No two clouds are created equal," Whitehead said, adding that cloud manager eliminates some of the confusion of choosing with which cloud player they will side.

And partners can bring their clients aboard to the cloud with Cloud Manager as the on-ramp, Whitehead added.

Partners need to do what they're good at and embrace it across all three environments: physical, virtual and cloud," he said. "What a partner needs to do is cut through and see what the customer is really saying. Partners have to embrace the cloud and the benefits of the cloud, but not forget the physical and virtual. Cloud Manager helps them make the next logical step."

Cloud Manager also creates and deploys workloads into the virtual environment in an automated, on-demand fashion based on a service catalog of pre-defined templates, cutting workload provisioning time and streamlining the processes.

Additionally, Cloud Manager helps admins control virtual sprawl by exposing the costs of workloads, resources and service levels so users can select only what they need. It helps companies visualize the costs of workloads, virtual CPUs, memory, virtual network cards and disk space.

On the security side, Cloud Manger lets users configure security profiles at user, group, workload and business service levels to help companies adhere to security policies and rights management. It also integrates with Novell's Sentinel for event correlation, and Novel Operations Center for business service management visibility.