Surgient upgrades flagship software to automate virtual resource provisioning

* Surgient's Virtual Automation Platform 6.0

Surgient this month is taking its virtual management and automation software out of the lab. The vendor, which made its start with tools to quickly set up and tear down virtual test environments, is broadening its reach with automation features that let end user request virtual resources on demand.

According to Surgient CTO Dave Malcolm, the proliferation of virtual server resources in today's enterprise environments can lead to mismanaged and under-utilized resources. By applying policies when creating and provisioning virtual resources, IT managers can both prevent virtual server sprawl and get more use out of the resources already installed.

"This software can reduce IT headaches and tasks by preventing users from having to wait on IT to get resources," Malcolm says. "It enables resource re-use, limits server sprawl and helps IT avoid purchasing additional resources by tracking the actual use of resources already in-house."

Surgient's Virtual Automation Platform 6.0 acts as an online reservation system of sorts, but letting IT departments and business units manage the reservation, configuration and deployment of virtual infrastructure needed to complete various tasks. For instance, a business unit requesting virtual or physical resources for an expected spike in application traffic could use Surgient's self-service portal to reserve resources for specific dates and times. The resources would automatically be provisioned and then de-provisioned at the end of the requested time.

"The software enables IT to maintain control of the infrastructure, through the policies it establishes, but also delegate the provisioning tasks out to users in software development, training, help desk or other business units," Malcolm explains. IT managers can also avoid implementing more virtual resources by using Surgient to track what is available and in use across the entire environment. "IT managers can reclaim under-utilized virtual servers and avoid unnecessary investment," he says.

The software requires customers install a management server and an application server, which houses the upgraded user interface. And depending on the environment to be managed, customers can choose to install an agent on virtual or physical hosts. By working with automated provisioning products from the likes of Symantec's Altiris Deployment Server, Surgient can provide bare-metal provisioning support, enabling the automated deployment of physical and virtual environments. The software also supports Microsoft's Active Directory, which Surgient says enables virtual machines to register with active directory services, which prevents virtual server sprawl as well.

Surgient competes with VMware's Lab Manager, which the vendor developed with technology acquired with Akimbi in 2006. Surgient supports Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware virtual environments.

Available on both a hosted or licensed basis, Surgient Virtual Automation Platform will be available beginning Sept. 30. License pricing starts at $25,000.

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