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Startup takes aim at multi-hypervisor management

HotLink lets users manage Hyper-V, KVM, XenServer and other hypervisors all from VMware's vCenter management console

By , Network World
January 22, 2013 12:34 PM ET

Network World - An updated version of software from startup HotLink aims to ease the management of multi-hypervisor environments, as well as provision off-premises resources, like VMs from Amazon's cloud, all from VMware's vCenter management console.

The software aims to help organizations tasked with having to separately manage resources running on different hypervisors. The HotLink SuperVisor controls workloads running on hypervisors such as VMware's ESX, Red Hat's Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM), Citrix's XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V -- all centrally managed using VMware vCenter.

While there are a variety of cloud automation and hypervisor management tools, some experts say the level of integration HotLink has with VMware, including the ability to not just deploy resources, but also migrate workloads between various hypervisors, sets this startup apart from other management tools.

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Today's announcement of Version 2 of HotLink's SuperVisor has deeper integration with VMware products, such as vCloud Director. HotLink has also updated software for managing public cloud resources from the central management hub. HotLink's Hybrid Express allows vCenter to manage Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) resources from Amazon Web Services, for example.

"This is enabling vCenter to be a single hub of administration, management and integration for disparate resource types on and off premises," says CEO and co-founder of the company Lynn LeBlanc. "That whole ecosystem of VMware products can integrate in a single place, and it now has the benefit of these other platforms and hybrid resources natively integrated."

Multi-hypervisor environments are inevitable within an organization, but they're a pain to manage, says Aneel Lakhani, a Gartner virtualization analyst. "Although we don't advise customers to run multiple hypervisors, fact of the matter is that they are," Lakhani says. Multi-hypervisor environments evolve from various business units having their own hypervisors or certain applications and workloads using separate hypervisors. Some Microsoft apps may be virtualized on Hyper-V while other apps are virtualized using VMware. This usually requires separate consoles, and each hypervisor has its own API. All this means increased costs and complexity, Lakhani says.

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HotLink goes beyond just being able to deploy resources across multiple hypervisors, which a variety of vendors do, says Bernd Harzog, analyst at the Virtualization Practice. HotLink allows for migration of VM images across disparate hypervisors, which Harzog says is a differentiator. That means HotLink can be used with cloud automation tools such as ServiceMesh, Virtustream, Embotics, ManageIQ and even DynamicOps, which VMware bought last year to provide this base-level of multi-hypervisor support.

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