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Stem Your Virtualization Tide With Dunes

Dunes Technologies Monday will unveil an upgrade of its Virtual Service Orchestrator software for curbing the sprawl of virtual machines from VMware and Microsoft .

Dunes Founder and CTO Stefan Hochuli Paychère said Dunes Virtual Service Orchestrator (VS-O) version 3.1 is designed to automate businesses processes as a virtual appliance, which combines an operating system and an application. With it, users may create automated IT procedures to fit an organization's needs and best practices.

VS-O 3.1 lets admins apply policies to physical servers and farms of virtual machines, and it enables them to intelligently and dynamically monitor IT infrastructures. Not only can they be prompted with any issue arising, but they can assign a workflow to automatically remedy to this issue and therefore increase the quality and availability of your service.

"You have technology on one side -- like VMware VirtualCenter and Virtual Infrastructure, Xen or Microsoft -- and on the other side you have business processes that need to tie to this virtualized environment, and that's the software we deliver," Paychère said

The VS-O virtual appliance, based on a VMware virtual machine, comes with a Linux operating system, a database, a directory service and a pre-installed library of processes and connectors. IT administrators can download it from a Web site and install it in a few clicks.

When it's up and running, it can help customers curb the time and cost of installing a separate operating system and applications.

For example, server lifecycle management or provisioning normally entails setting up an OS and archiving and deleting the machine. VS-O 3.1 does this in minutes.

"Businesses change rapidly these days so you're business process today might not be the same next month," Paychère said. "So you need to be able to adapt to them yourself and not run into lengthy update and upgrade cycles."

Aside from the virtual appliance deployment, other new features in VS-O 3.1 include a Web 2.0-friendly user interface, which lets users dynamically update content within a page so that users can customize applications on top of the virtual appliance. The idea is to provide users the look and feel of a locally-installed desktop application in a browser.

VS-O 3.1 also separates the access rights of the process from the access rights to the objects manipulated by this process to enable fine-grained control over who can do what on the virtual infrastructure. The appliance also now supports Novell eDirectory and open-LDAP directory services in addition to MS Active Directory. It is also backward-compatible with VS-O 3.0.

IBM , CA , HP  and BMC  offer some provisioning tools but do not tailor their provisioning tools for virtualized environments, Paychère said.

"They're more like dinosaurs of business process automation," he added, noting that Dunes may be more closely compared to run-book automation software makers such as Opalis, RealOps and Opsware, which recently bought iConclude to get into IT operations management.

Dunes, of Lausanne, Switzerland, began its life as a provider of management tools for VMware virtual machines, but now aims to offer services on demand, running on a virtual infrastructure.

Ultimately, Paychère said Dunes and partner VMware agree that the virtual appliance model is quickly becoming the preferred deployment model for time-conscious companies because you can make your OS thinner and more secure; no other open ports or services are used within the context of a specific application.