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Cloud Providers Show Off Management Software

Cloud and virtualization technologies are hot at the moment because they promise to cut costs for enterprise IT. But many are saying that these technologies are also a management headache. IBM issued a warning about cloud and virtualization earlier this year, and, later, VMware's partners got to work on developing management software.

Now four companies have announced products, each aimed at solving a different challenge, in the week before VMworld.

Cloud provider Rackspace Hosting (NYSE: RAX) launched Cloud Tools, a suite of software products designed to aid enterprise IT managers. The tools are being built by Rackspace's partners.

Tools deliver a variety of features including better analytics and comprehensive cloud management.

"This tool-sharing service, along with our commitments to collaborate with the community to build an open cloud, lays the foundation for a large ecosystem. With the recent release of our APIs, we've seen an influx of interest in developing applications for our cloud computing offerings and we're pleased to announce that such applications can be featured in our new Cloud Tools site," said Jim Curry, Rackspace Hosting vice president of corporate development, in a statement.

Commanding your virtual environment

Embotics announced V-Commander 3.0, a software product designed to help enterprise IT managers control the cost of their virtual environments.

Modules released this week include Federated Inventory Management to track virtual machines (VMs), Resource and Cost Management to track and enforce budget rules, and Operational and Risk Management to track faults and speed audits.

The software is modular, and although overall pricing was not disclosed, individual modules can be licensed for a fraction of the cost of the complete solution, the company said. For example, the first module would be priced at $85 per core

Virtual backup for physical servers

Also this week, disaster recovery software specialist Neverfail released Neverfail vXtender, which ensures that applications running in traditional physical server environments have a virtual machine backup.

"More businesses are looking to leverage the value of virtualization, yet the advantages of virtualization demand that applications are migrated immediately and this may not be appropriate in many situations," said Andrew Barnes, Neverfail senior vice president of corporate development, in a statement. "With the launch of Neverfail vXtender, we are bringing virtualization advantages to those applications which will remain deployed on physical servers -- dramatically reducing costs and the risks associated with future migration."

In addition, vXtender can store multiple images of a strategic application, allowing administrators to roll back to a previous version if a problem occurs with a patch or update.

The product is available now. Pricing was not disclosed. It supports Microsoft and VMware virtual environments.

Managing e-mail with cloud tools

Cloud-based e-mail provider Mimecast claimed this week that with the addition of archiving and e-discovery features, it now offers everything that an on-premises e-mail solution offers. The SaaS solution already delivers security, backup, and policy enforcement as well as some archiving features.

"Mimecast focuses on ensuring that by moving to SaaS, IT managers will not have to give up sophistication of applications or control," said Neil Murray, Mimecast CTO, in a statement.

The company also announced a few new features for Mimecast, such as the ability to deliver e-mail "stubs" to end users while storing the body of the e-mail in the cloud. This is designed to minimize the load of the service.