Is VMware about to phase out Lab Manager? – UPDATED

Posted by Staff   |   Thursday, September 16th, 2010   |  

At the recently ended VMworld 2010 conference (read live coverage) VMware announced its management solution for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud computing platforms: vCloud Director (formerly project Redwood).

A number of sources confirmed to that the product development started from the engine of Lab Manager, the virtual lab automation solution that VMware acquired from Akimbi in June 2006 for $59M.
Now that vCloud Director is out it will be interesting to see what happens to Lab Manager, mostly now that Citrix just acquired a competitive technology from VMLogix.

Jason Boche, a well-known virtualization expert in the VMware community, focused on the topic on his personal blog, recognizing a significant lack of development effort for this product:

…4.0 was released in July 2009 which provided compatibility with the recent launch of vSphere, that’s really it.

Development efforts are being put forth merely to keep up compatibility with the vSphere releases.  Lab Manager documentation hasn’t been updated since the 4.0 release.  The 4.0.1 and 4.0.2 versions both point back to the 4.0 documentation.  Lab Manager documentation hasn’t been updated in over a year even considering two Lab Manager code releases since then.  Further evidence there has been no recent feature development in the Lab Manager product itself…

Boche also notes that VMware is not even taking care of major bugs reported by the users and that the marketing effort has been near to zero so far.
An additional note that is worth to report is that, in June 2008, VMware released a fork of Lab Manager called Stage Manager. The product had so poor reception that it was dropped just one year later, with the release of Lab Manager 4.0.

The destiny of Lab Manager is rather interesting, at least for customers that buy the Enterprise Plus edition of vSphere. 
Boche suggests a scenario where the company may want to replace Lab Manager with vCloud Director inside this edition for an additional fee, since the latter already requires vSphere Enterprise Plus to work.

Update: According to a member of the Vanguards community, VMware may phase out Lab Manager in a year or so, embedding its capabilities in vCloud Director:

Based on discussions with VMware, Lab Manager will be phased out in about a year or more. Similar to how Stage Manager became part of Lab Manager, Lab Manager will become part of vCloud Director. At VMworld, I attended a demonstration of the vCloud Director (vCD) and it looks a lot like Lab Manager (LM). In fact, the person that developed LM also developed vCD. Based on my observation, the new vCD solution is nice. However, unlike LM, it does not currently support linked clones.

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