Today VMware announces the acquisition of B-hive for an unknown amount, a San Francisco startup which approaches virtual data center automation in a very advanced way.
The B-hive virtual appliance, Conductor, is able to discover the applications running inside each virtual machine in the virtual infrastructure, to track how the end-users are interacting with them and how the apps are interacting with different resources (storage, network, other applications).
At this point, following service level agreement (SLA) rules Conductor can interact with VMware Virtual Center and improve the performance of those virtual machines running relevant applications.
This goal can be achieved in several ways: by restarting the VMs if they are down, by granting them a higher priority access to physical resources or by moving them on less busy virtualization hosts).
Conductor is even able to shut down the VMs hosting applications which are not needed or to interact with 3rd party load balancing applications to change their load sharing settings depending on how the virtualized applications are performing.
B-hive supports both VMware Infrastructure 3 and Citrix XenServer, but mysteriously the page about this last offering is already reporting an error.
It may be a coincidence but it’s very likely what customers have to expect after the acquisition.
With B-hive the total number of (known) VMware acquisitions reaches nine:
- Asset Optimization Group aka AOG (capacity planning) – May 2005
- Akimbi (virtual lab automation) – June 2006
- Propero (virtual desktop infrastructure) – April 2007
- Determina (intrusion prevention system) – August 2007
- Dunes Technologies (VM lifecycle management) – September 2007
- Sciant (software development) – October 2007
- Foedus (consulting services) – January 2008
- Thinstall (application virtualization) – January 2008
With this move it’s evident that VMware is moving more and more away from its role of manager of virtual machines as empty containers, trying to extend its control on what’s inside the virtual machines: the applications, the actual important part of the data center.
And this is probably done not just because it allows the company to be a real game changer for a long time thanks to the data center automation, but mostly to fight Microsoft, which is already using a dangerous mantra to compete against VMware: we have control of the virtual machines as well as of the application (the reason why they integrates some virtualization features on Operation Manager and Configuration Manager rather than aggregating everything on System Center Virtual Machine Manager).
A very interesting additional information contained in the press release reveals that VMware is building a new development center in Israel. A savvy move considering the impressive amount of virtualization startups raising in that country.
The virtualization.info Virtualization Industry Radar has been updated accordingly.