Next up on CIO Magazine’s “10 Virtualization Vendors to Watch” list is Platform Computing. I saw a demo of Platform Computing’s solution at iForum, and met with some of their staff at Citrix Summit. I think VM Orchestrator is an excellent add-on to a Citrix XenServer deployment for those sites that require the added capabilities of Dynamic Resource Management and Restart HA.

CIO Magazine quoted Chris Wolf of the Burton Group –

“Platform Computing has a history of expertise in grid computing and workload automation,” notes Burton Group’s Wolf, “and I believe several virtualization vendors will look to leverage Platform Computing’s proven architecture as they build out products to compete with workload automation alternatives such as VMware’s Distributed Resource Scheduler.

Platform Computing has been involved in grid computing for 15 years. Their newest virtualization offering VM Orchestrator (VMO) is a Citrix XenServer Only solution.

Here is how Platform Computing describes VM Orchestrator (VMO) on their website -

Platform VM Orchestrator (VMO) v3 is an automated, policy-driven, virtual environment manager that supports Citrix’s XenServer v4 to deliver web-based virtual machine lifecycle management, multi-host dynamic resource management (DRM), resource-aware high availability (HA), and self-service virtual machine management. Built on Platform’s proven grid technology, VMO is the only virtual machine management solution that meets the scale and dynamic computing requirements of the technical datacenter. The combination of Citrix’s open, high performance hypervisor with Platform’s proven, scalable resource management technology has provided the market with the most cost effective, integrated, enterprise-class virtualization infrastructure solution.

VMO includes the following features –

  • Multi-Host Dynamic Resource Management (DRM)Create policies; optimize your virtual environment - In the demo I saw at Summit, you have the ability to set nested policies based on CPU utilization, and move either the least loaded or most loaded VM. VMO is designed to avoid the VM pinball effect that can occur with other solutions when a virtual machine moves from server to server rapidly.
  • Resource Aware High Availability (HA)Mitigate risk; minimize cost – The restart HA capability with VMO allows you to specify restart on any server in the resource pool. You do not have to set up a one – one relationship for HA. You can have one server in the pool available for restart HA for any server in the pool for instance.
  • Accessibility from Anywhere Launch a browser; manage your environment With VMO, you have web based management for your entire XenServer deployment. While this management does not completely replace all the configuration and setup functions of XenCenter, it does give you the ability to do day to day management from a browser on any machine.
  • Self-service Virtual Machine Management Give users more control; maintain control over resources This is an interesting feature that gives you the ability to allow specific user to subscribe to specific virtual machines or templates through the web based management tool (without access to other management functions). This could be extremely useful in a XenDesktop deployment.

VMO is delivered as a virtual appliance on XenServer, so it is very simple to get installed and running.

Dan Kusnetsky of ZDnet recently did a blog post on Platform Computing that provides additionally company background –

Just who is Platform Computing?

The following bullets summarize how the company describes itself.

  • The world’s largest enterprise grid software vendor with more than 2,000 customers worldwide
  • Privately held, self-funded company with 12 consecutive years of profitability
  • Leadership team includes experienced industry leaders from IBM, Novell, Oracle, Sun and SGI
  • A strong global presence with 400 employees at offices in North America, Asia Pacific and Europe and a worldwide network of resellers and partners
  • The industry’s largest critical mass of distributed and grid computing expertise with 140 employees dedicated to research and development

Platform’s VMO appears to be a powerful addition to the company’s portfolio of products. Like the other products Platform offers, it is likely to also require a deeper understanding of what’s happening that would be required to deploy the products being offered by others. In the end, however, it’s use may be justifiable because of its greater power.

Platform Computing posted a page of links to demos of VMO v3 on their site at this link. On this page is a video that specifically covers the VMO  DRM load balancing policies. You can really get a good feel for the power of using a policy engine for DRM that gives you much more fine grained control on the migration of virtual machines than any other existing solution.

I did find one video by Peter Dyer (great guy) of Platform Computing on YouTube. 

At iForum, David Marshall of interviewed Peter Dyer on VMO.

Platform joined the Citrix Alliance Program last year, and recently completed Citrix Ready certification.

Here is the pricing for VMO –

Perpetual License
$1499 per license

Annual Support & Maintenance
(mandatory in first year)

$315 per license

Annual Subscription License
(includes Annual Support & Maintenance)

$900 per license per year

When VMO is combined with Citrix XenServer Enterprise, you get a complete server virtualization solution that includes XenMotion, Resource Pooling, Dynamic Resource Management, Pool Based Restart HA, and Web Based Management for somewhere between $4000 – $4800 per server, depending on whether you buy an annual or perpetual license (and no extra expense on management).

Next up on the list from CIO Magazine is Embotics…