VMware introduced two new product bundles today that seek to automate and streamline the management of virtual machines (VMs) in the data center. The VMware IT Service Delivery bundle includes VMware Lifecycle Manager and the buyer's choice of either VMware Lab Manager or VMware Stage Manager, and is priced at $2995 per 2 processors. The VMware Management and Automation bundle includes VMware Lifecycle Manager, VMware Lab Manager, VMware Stage Manager, as well as VMware Site Recovery Manager, and is priced at $3995 per 2 processors. The former package focuses on automating the lifecycle of virtualized IT assets, while the latter provides a more comprehensive data center automation solution.

VMware Senior Director of Product Marketing Melinda Wilken sees these new product bundles as expanding VMware's reach in the data center automation business, a move that Wilkens sees as a natural outgrowth of the success that VMware has seen with server consolidation. "We're introducing new tools to help automate the data center," says Wilken. "Server consolidation has gotten a lot of attention over the past few years, but that's really just a starting point...these new offerings take us a step closer to the notion of a virtualized infrastructure that can dynamically respond to and allocate resources based on the needs of the business."

VMware Site Recovery Manager and VMware Stage Manager were previously announced and have been in beta testing for some time. Both products will be commercially available soon: According to a VMware news release, VMware Site Recovery Manager "will be available for order next week with general availability expected to follow within 30 days," while VMware Stage Manager is available now.

VMware Stage Manager is designed to automate and manage virtualized IT resources from the design and testing phase to eventual roll-out and user integration. VMware Site Recovery Manager provides automated failover and disaster recovery, offers simulated tests of site recovery plans, and integrates with VMware VirtualCenter to allow IT pros to create and manage their IT recovery strategy.

In a statement supporting the release of this latest batch of product offerings, VMware Vice President of Products and Solutions Raghu Raghuram stressed that VMwware is looking beyond the current state of IT in the datacenter. “With our broadening range of management and automation products and new cost-effective bundles, our customers are now able to automate datacenter processes in ways that just aren’t possible with physical infrastructure, resulting in a datacenter that is more efficient and agile.”