VMware releases today one of the new products announced in February: Lifecycle Manager (LCM) 1.0 (build 360).
The product comes from the acquisition of Dunes Technologies in September 2007 and basically is a self-service portal for virtual machines provisioning, integrated with VMware VirtualCenter throught its APIs.
Despite the product is very easy it has a critical feature: the capability to authorize the deployment of new VMs through four different access levels: the user (who requires a new VM), the approver (who accepts or refuse new provisioning inquiries), the IT staff member (who decides where to deploy the approved VM) and the IT administrator (who can allow access to VM templates and define deployment guidelines).
Additionally the product has some chargeback capabilities to properly account specific departments in the company.
LCM is a fundamental product to limit the so called VM sprawl effect, which mostly affects those companies not adopting a strict operational framework already.
While it seems to address the needs of bigger corporations it may easily become more useful for smaller firms, where the limited amount of resource and IT staff reduces the chances to enforce the provisioning control.
On the other side, the chargeback capabilities are a critical feature for biggest corporations, where accountability will become one of the most significant challenge.
Unfortunately that the product is only slightly different from other two infrastructure automation products that VMware offers, Lab Manager and the upcoming Stage Manager, and customers may find confusing having three overlapping solutions.
Download a trial version here.
The virtualization.info Virtualization Industry Roadmap has been updated accordingly.