The Microsoft Management Summit moved to Mandalay Bay in Vegas this year. The common opinion on the floor was that there were fewer vendors than last year, but it looked awfully full to me.
I asked vendors what was new or interesting about the products they showed off. There wasn't time for in-depth interviews with each one, so check out the vendors' sites for more information. Also, I only had time to hit a few of the booths at the show, so feel free to contact me if it seems like I'm missing something.
We've covered Virsto's product before. It's aimed at increasing VM performance by consolidating the I/O requests from each VM. At MMS this year their focus was on a new release with VDI-specific features. The new version promises high performance, rapid provisioning, and space savings for VDI. The new release allow storage tiering, so you can keep your gold template on your best storage and put user storage (as delta disks) on less expensive storage. Virsto's rep told me that a Virsto customer couldn't afford 15k SAS drives for VDI, and these new features reduced costs enough to allow them to move forward with VDI.
Dell was at MMS showing off its multi-chassis management cards, which allow you to manage up to nine chassis anywhere in the world. Each chassis would have one of the management cards and each talks to the others. The cards allow you to easily set up a private cloud.
Commvault demonstrated Simpana 9, its storage technology. Among other features, Simpana 9 has block-level de-duplication, and support for vSphere and Hyper-V APIs. Because it does de-duplication on the client side, it's especially well suited for cloud archiving—you save by not sending the same data over the Internet over and over. It's also a good fit for Exchange 2010, which tends to keep multiple copies of emails.
Commvault was taking the opportunity at MMS to play up the fact that Microsoft's Office team deployed Simpana 9 to manage its 237TB of data spread across magnetic and tape libraries. Commvault's release says that the product provides high-performance data storage and a reliable backup process and is easy to use and a time saver for users.
1E talked about AppClarity at MMS, a tool aimed at telling companies when they have software licenses going to waste and helping to make it easier for employees to tell their IT departments that they do, in fact, need their licenses. It tracks which applications are being used in your organization using data already collected by other management tools, so that it's not an extra burden on your infrastructure. More interesting to me was the way that it includes users in the process of deciding whether they need software. Instead of an email asking users to justify their usage of a licensing (I've gotten those occasionally, they're not fun to deal with) users get simple popups saying they have software they don't use. Users are asked if they do, in fact, need the software, and can even put off answering the popup for a while.
1E also talked to me about NightWatchman, their well-known power management product. They said about half of U.S. corporations leave their computers on overnight, and by having NightWatchman turn them off, they could save about $36 per PC per year.
App-DNA does application testing for compatibility. It's especially important these days, because IT pros don't just have to worry about weather conventional applications will run on desktops. Now you've got to figure out whether applications will run virtualized, on VDI, on hosted services, or as web applications. App-DNA's rep said it tells you about the structure of your applications, and can tell you not just whether an application will run in a certain environment, but what the best way to run an application in your environment would be.
Veeam was at MMS talking about version 5.6 of its Management Suite. New in this version is an improved ability for you to manage VMware's vSphere with System Center, pulling all your data together and bringing you closer to the single-pane ideal of management. With more data in Operations Manager, you have fewer sources to look at to understand your virtual environment.
RES is well known in Europe, and it's now working to have a presence in the U.S. market as well. They offer a variety of products based around managing user desktops. RES says their Workspace Manager 2011 product, for example, can "offer users a work environment that is location and time independent" by allowing users' desktop environments to be separated from physical desktops and move to other models of computing.
Odyssey Software's booth got a lot of attention at the show, with a small crowd gathered around most of the time that the floor was open. Sure, they employed the ages-old strategy of the "booth babe" and that certainly got people to their booth, but they were also attracting a lot of attention with Athena, their product for managing mobile devices. Athena can manage iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, HP webOS and Nokia smartphones, integrating these management functions with System Center Configuration Manager. Odyssey's rep also told me that Athena is used to manage certain Coke machines—the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, the fancy touch-screen machines that can dispense a huge variety of sodas. Apparently the machines run Windows CE, and in addition to smartphone OSs, Athena can manage Windows Embedded CE devices. (Apparently Windows Mobile, and even Windows Phone 7, share a lot in common with Windows CE.
Athena manages a lot of different settings for the different OSs, and can even do things like apply partial wipes or check if a device is jailbroken.