Virtualization vendors such as Citrix Systems, Microsoft and VMware deliver great hypervisors, but they don’t often provide the most robust virtualization management tools.
Until recently, vendors such as VMware have traditionally focused their development efforts on the core of their products. This left the door open for third-party vendors to develop virtualization management tools that addressed some of the shortcomings in management and usability that existed.
Third-party virtualization management tools
Today there are many third-party vendors that pick up the slack by delivering feature-rich applications. These apps go beyond the basic tools supplied by virtualization vendors and include security, monitoring, reporting, backups and automation. Although many of the best virtualization management tools are expensive, there are also many lower cost and free tools available as well that can help make virtualization management easier.One big enabler for third-party vendors is the application programming interfaces (APIs) and software development kits (SDKs) that virtualization vendors develop. Third-party vendors can use them to directly integrate with the virtual hosts, virtual machines (VMs) and other components of the virtual environment.VMware, in particular, has lots of APIs, SDKs and toolkits in many areas that vendors can use to develop applications. They include storage and backup integration with its vStorage APIs and security and networking integration with its VMsafe APIs. Vendors,such as Microsoft, have more limited API support, including WMI APIs, but they all are continually adding more APIs as products mature.
But although virtualization vendors have always provided the tools and support for third-party vendors to develop applications, they are now starting to compete with them by adding to their core products some of the virtualization management features that vendors have traditionally addressed.
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