Next on up in my series of posts digging down into CIO Magazine’s “10 Virtualization Vendors to Watch” is Embotics. Here is CIO Magazine’s take -

Embotics calls itself a “VM Lifecycle Management” company…The product aims to reign in the problem of “rogue VMs” that IT may not know about, and lets IT apply policies and automation to the job of tagging and tracking each VM in the company. Embotics claims early success with customers in regulated industries who face extra audit pressure. “They are taking a lifecycle perspective, really looking at integrating security controls, change management and policy from one dashboard,” Elliot says.

Embotics is a startup founded in 2006. In addition to the CIO Magazine list, eWeek Channel Insider added Embotics to the “10 Technologies and 20 Vendors You Should Know for 2008” list (that title just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?)

Their product is called V-Commander. Here is how they describe it on their website –

Introducing Embotics V-Commander
Server virtualization has been rapidly adopted by IT managers to solve problems while increasing flexibility for business response. But as the VM pools grow, management complexity increases, leading organizations to slow down their adoption of server virtualization or consume valuable resources.

Managing VMs can be much like herding cats
Virtual machines (VMs), are very different from their physical counterparts, and managing them can be much like herding cats. Like cats, VMs are mobile, they can disappear from view, they have “children”, that can be subtly different from their parents, they can be “adopted” by any member of the IT staff, and have lifecycles that range from minutes to years.

And like cats, every time you think you have an handle on them, everything changes..

Embotics V-Commander – the “cat herder”
Embotics’ V-Commander™ software application is a centralized, policy-based VM Lifecycle Management™ and control system for VMs that allows organizations to gain better oversight and control over their VM environments.

V-Commander™ frees up IT staff for more important tasks and expands their ability to take advantage of the inherent flexibility and agility of server virtualization.”

I love the metaphor of “herding cats” for virtual machine sprawl. David sent me a presentation on Embotics and I pulled some screen shots from that to show some visuals from the product.



Here in the Operations view of V-Commander you can see some of the capabilities of V-Commander to control both online and offline virtual machines.


 

The product gives you the ability to track which template was used to make a virtual machine and put an “id tag” on a vm so you can track its entire lifecycle.
 
In this view, you can monitor a virtual machines history, see its parent and child vms, and execute a list of commands on the virtual machine.




 

The Policy screen gives you an idea of some of the capabilities V-Commander gives you. You can set policies to alert you when an unknown virtual machine is powered on or or off, quarantine unknown virtual machines, or disable any deployment of an unknown virtual machine.

The combination of id tagging, lifecycle management and visibility and control of unknown virtual machines is very intriguing, not only for server virtualization, but for desktop virtualization with XenDesktop as well.

David Lynch, the VP of Marketing of Embotics, has been active since Embotics announced their V-Commander product last fall. As always, Virtual Strategy Magazine (I love the new look to their web site) can be counted on to do a great podcast interview with Embotics.

Podcast Summary: Length: 18:17

  • Introduction
  • David Lynch, VP of Marketing, Embotics (:10)
  • About Embotics and David’s role at the company (:20)
  • V-Commander explained – centralized policy-based management and control system for virtual machines (1:38)
  • Differences in managing physical and virtualized environments, and how Embotics has addressed the challenges posed by virtualization (6:15)
  • Embotics’ plans for supporting different platforms (11:38)
  • Viewpoint: the future of virtualization – where we go from here (13:10)
  • For more information about Embotics (16:48)
  • Close

David Lynch did an interview with Tarry Singh of “Virtualization for Everyone”. This interview is from November 2007.

Embotics is a solid, well funded private company. These guys seem to know pretty well what they are coming out with. They are still doing a private beta with select customers and are gaining tremendous insights (Geez, I can imagine!) on its role within an organizations.

What I liked about David was that he engaged me in a conversationalist style, we are all stuck in this hyped-up hypervisor age. Microsoft and all other guys are jumping in with their products, but we need to address serious issues around the virtualized data center (partial or full).

I am very curious to check out the Embotics product…

Tarry does a great job with his questions in this interview.

David and his team have been busy getting the word out. Mike Vizard of eWeek also did a podcast with David Lynch last month and Anil Desai did a webcast with Embotics for Search Server Virtualization as well.

Embotics joined the Citrix Global Alliance Program in November of 2007, and is currently working on their integration into XenServer.  According to David Lynch, part of the plan is to use the look and feel of XenCenter for this new offering. I look forward to seeing what they put together for XenServer. Once XenDesktop is launched, I can see an even greater need for virtual machine life cycle management by a tool like Embotics V-Commander.

Next on the list is Equalogic…