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Embotics releases V-Scout, Executive interviewed



1. What is Embotics announcing today?

Embotics is announcing V-Scout, a free insight and reporting tool that gives VMware virtual machine (VM) administrators complete and detailed oversight of their entire virtual environment, including trending and costs. Supporting up to two VMware virtual centers, organizations can use V-Scout free of charge to assess their growing virtualization deployments, gain better control over their infrastructure and help avoid common problems like virtual sprawl.

2. Tell us about V-Scout? Why must I install yet another tool in my data center?

In actuality, V-Scout is not really “another tool.”

Almost all customers that we spoke to use some form of tracking system to help manage their virtual population. We have seen whiteboards, post-it notes, notebooks and text files. However, the most prevalent system used is at least one spreadsheet (and in some cases more than one) that is updated manually.

The spreadsheet is used to provide working reports to actively manage and control the environment. The challenge, of course, is that this is a manual system and is only as good as the amount of effort invested in it. If it becomes out of sync, it is almost useless.

Embotics V-Scout replaces these commonly used tracking spreadsheets. It is a self-contained system that self populates directly from VirtualCenter, providing real time information on the VM environment, and the ability to quickly and consistently generate almost any report needed – complete with historical trending and costing information.

Additionally, V-Scout lets users associate custom information to VMs, (i.e. business owner, application, expiry date, project name, etc). Any fields associated to a template are automatically inherited by VMs created from that template. The built-in sort, filter and report capabilities provide fast and easy generation of highly granular ad-hoc reports.

V-Scout supports up to two VirtualCenters and an unlimited number of users. It is not only an excellent insight tool, but as one of our testers put it, “It’s a great way of providing managers with a detailed view into the environment without giving them access to VirtualCenter.”

3. Why did you have to launch a product like V-Scout?

The main reason is because we had a lot of customers asking for it.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the biggest problems with virtualization is the lack of effective insight – which is why the tracking spreadsheet is so ubiquitous.

Insight is the first crucial step in managing and controlling virtual environments. It is only when you understand how your specific environment is changing, and how dynamic it is, that you can start thinking about the policies needed to maintain control.

Server virtualization has seen phenomenal growth over the past few years. As organizations use it, they generally find other ways that they can benefit from it. The whole market is in learning mode. The more an organization uses server virtualization, the more they learn about its capabilities – and weaknesses.

Customers are trying to understand the impact of this new technology to ensure that they do not enter a sprawl condition. V-Scout accelerates this learning by providing the ability to quickly recognize, understand and account for all virtual machines in the environment and see how it is changing over time.

4. Why free?

Our motives are completely selfish. By providing organizations with the insight they need to understand virtualization and their individual deployments in a more organized fashion, we hope that it will accelerate adoption, increase flexibility and improve comfort levels with virtualization environments and management.

As I mentioned before, insight is a critical starting point when it comes to managing and controlling sprawl. Only once organizations understand the dynamics of their virtual environments do they start thinking about the control policies that they need to implement, and how to automate those policies.

Our flagship product, V-Commander, is an un-intrusive (no agents, drivers or dll’s), centralized, policy-based, VM lifecycle management system. It prevents V-Sprawl by automatically identifying, tracking, managing and controlling virtual machines throughout their lifecycle. V-Commander automates VM management and policy enforcement, allowing VM administrators to manage the virtual environment in the same way as they manage the physical – by exception, rather than manual effort.

It is a great product for those looking to better control their virtual environments. Consequently, we are interested in accelerating the learning curve around virtualization, hence the knowledge center on our website, and insight is a crucial element.

We firmly believe that the more organizations understand about the impact of server virtualization on their environment, the more they start thinking about how to control it.

Ideally, when the time arrives, the value that they have obtained from V-Scout, combined with their experience in the quality of our products, will encourage them to try V-Commander.

5. What insights are you gaining from your customers? Are they really thinking ahead or merely virtualizing bulk servers to bring down the total cost of ownership (TCO)?

There is still a large portion of the market focused on tactical server consolidation projects; mostly to take advantage of the impressive ROI that they provide.

The biggest thing we have learned from our customers is that server virtualization is not a static thing. It starts with server consolidation, but once administrators become comfortable with the technology, a lot of doors open for more projects.

Virtualization can effectively eliminate unplanned downtime, dramatically improve the overall level of service and is an excellent technology for business continuity. Truthfully, virtualization is the underlying technology that is fueling all discussions around cloud computing.

We have customers at all levels of this spectrum - from just completing their initial server consolidation efforts to actively building their cloud computing strategies.

Most organizations are focused on the lower end of this spectrum, but it is not static. It is surprising how quickly the technology moves from a tactical project to a full fledged strategic architecture.

6. Don't tools like V-Commander and other tools such as security, compliance, etc. challenge a (previously promised) TCO story?

No. The base premise of server virtualization started with server consolidation and the ROI associated with that cannot be denied.

As the use of virtualization technology expands in the datacenter, organizations do face additional costs relating to control, security, compliance, etc.

At the same time, they are getting additional benefits, including improved flexibility, better level of service and even the capability to cost effectively accomplish things that they haven’t in the past, such as improved business continuity and disaster recovery.

In this situation the original ROI doesn’t apply any more - a new definition has to be created combining the new value with the new costs. This does not mean that the challenges of security, compliance, control and management do not apply to a “simple” server consolidation project. It just becomes a question of scope and acceptable risk profile.

7. Why is it necessary for business leaders to take full control of their dynamic data centers?

Someone must - whether it is the IT organizations, business leaders, CIOs or another level in the organization.

The answer is really in the term “Dynamic Datacenter,” a computing infrastructure capable of responding dynamically to changing business needs. The idea of that level of automation with adequate control is frightening simply due to the complexity involved and the dramatically increased challenges of management, security, compliance, cost control, resource allocation, etc.

There is too much at stake to NOT maintain control.

8. Will you be coming to (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) EMEA with these products?

V-Scout is generally available worldwide (contact Embotics at www.embotics.com for more information).

EMEA is a strong component of our growth plans. We were at VMworld Europe in February, and are working with a number of channel partners in EMEA today. We plan to expand in EMEA as necessary to accommodate our growing partner and customer presence. We expect V-Scout to be the catalyst that starts this growth.

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