VMware has launched a new management platform designed to give IT professionals more visibility and control over their cloud environments. The company also announced that it has acquired WaveMaker, which makes a programming tool that helps non-programmers create applications that work in the cloud.

The company’s new vCenter Operations solution is touted as a more effective management tool for virtualized IT environments, integrating performance, capacity and configuration management—along with analytics capabilities to help IT managers measure the results.

Among the functions the platform is designed to support are ensuring service levels in cloud-based IT environments, real-time self-service provisioning of computing resources, and automatic configuration analysis to help IT professionals make sure they’re maximizing their resources. The system can also help diagnose and resolve problems via the data it collects about performance.

VMware is making the platform available in three pricing and feature models: standard, advanced and enterprise.

VMware also announced the acquisition of WaveMaker, a startup that lets less experienced users build open-sourced web applications. The visual-development tool is based on Spring and is designed to help IT pros customize cloud-based apps that best suit their specific needs.

WaveMaker CEO Christopher Keene had this to say about the acquisition in his blog:

According to Gartner, only 20% of IT staff have expert app development skills - WaveMaker is the tool to enable the other 80% of IT to build web apps quickly and deploy them to the cloud with a single mouse click. As WaveMaker went from 3,000 downloads a month in January, 2010 to 135,000 downloads a month in December, 2010, we realized that we had created the perfect "on ramp" for cloud computing. WaveMaker can play a big role in bringing large numbers of developers to the cloud, but only if we team with the right cloud partner.

Both moves are important steps forward in VMware’s cloud strategy, adding important tools that can help IT professionals make more logical and efficient moves to the cloud.