Fortisphere to enter virtual machines lifecycle management market

The recent announcement of Oracle own hypervisors rised new concerns among customers about an uncontrolled prolification of virtualization plaforms: Oracle VM is the 6th Xen-based commercial implementation (after Citrix, Virtual Iron, Novell, Red Hat and upcoming Sun xVM), and we still are waiting other virtualization platforms from Microsoft (Hyper-V), SWsoft (Parallels Server), innotek (hyperkernel) and even Phoenix Technologies (HyperCore).

Despite crowded space, it’s likely we’ll see even more hypervisors in the near future, thanks to market forecasts and lower cost to build the technology (thanks to AMD and Intel current and upcoming CPU enhancements).

In such scenario the need for management solutions able to support multiple virtualization vendors is becoming concrete. Along with the already concrete need to operate the virtual data center in a rational and more automated way.

So while companies like VMware are slowly building up their virtual machines lifecycle management solutions by acquisitions (Akimbi first, Dunes Technologies later), smaller startups are emerging fast just to address this challenge.

It’s the case of Fortisphere, a US company founded in 2006 and based in WA.

Fortisphere is still in stealth mode but has learned some exclusive informations about the company.

The startup is funded with $10 million by Fairhaven Capital and Globespan Capital Partners, while it’s managed by Michael Harper, the CEO with IBM experience, and John Suit, the founder and CTO coming from SilentRunner (acquired by CA).

It’s worth to note that Jim Melvin, Vice President of Marketing and Security Solutions at RSA (now part of EMC acquisition, which also controls VMware), has a place in the Board of Directors as well.

Fortisphere is about to enter the market with Virtual Essentials, a suite of tools to control the virtual machines lifecycle.

Besides expected features like multiple virtualization hosts management, virtual machines history tracking and control of its expiration time, guest OS profiling and automated customization on deployment, etc., the company also introduces ain interesting concept called Smart Growth.

Smart Growth is a set of best practices that shaped Virtual Essentials development so to limit virtual machines sprawl and lose of control.

To succeed the company strategy is to support VMware, Citrix and Microsoft hypervisors since early days, but there may be some interesting extensions, through a partnership with virtual machines online builder rPath.

Fortisphere may have to compete with VMware on the long run, but at launch date its direct opponents are other startups like Embotics, just launched at VMworld 2007, and ManageIQ, still in stealth mode.

In a short amount of time this market may see even more competitors, like companies which today offer virtual lab management solutions (namely Surgient and VMLogix), as soon as they decide to extend capabilities of their products.

Fortisphere will probably launch at Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas, last week of this month, or at VMworld EMEA, last week of February 2008

The Virtualization Industry Radar, which already includes it, will be updated to reflect the status change.

Update: The company just unlocked the official website to the public.