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Reflex debuts vProfile Configuration Management for virtual and cloud infrastructures

Reflex Systems LLC, a provider of virtualization systems management solutions, introduced vProfile, a new configuration management tool that enables IT managers to visually map configuration variances in their virtual infrastructure and enforces compliance with internal or external configuration standards.

A fully integrated component of the Reflex Virtualization Management Center (VMC), vProfile provides a highly flexible framework for IT teams who aim to scale the virtual infrastructure while ensuring consistent configuration, meeting compliance and audit requirements and implementing IT automation for management tasks. With vProfile configuration management, Reflex customers can see their virtual infrastructure visually expressed as a "heatmap," enabling them to identify configuration differences, remediate as needed and set configuration baselines.

"Managing configuration changes becomes increasingly complex in heavily virtualized environments. Virtualization administrators tasked with monitoring and understanding the impact of these changes must often rely on unwieldy tables and logs that make it nearly impossible to manage uniform configuration holistically across a large environment," said Pete Privateer, President and CEO, Reflex Systems. "With vProfile, Reflex customers can visualize configuration differences across their entire virtual infrastructure and instantly pinpoint problem spots, set baselines, and where appropriate, proactively remediate issues before they become problems. By leveraging virtualization and integrated management tools like Reflex VMC, enterprises can reduce IT complexity and labor costs and bring new levels of IT management automation to the game."

Reflex Systems' VMC provides overall declarative data center management and automation by correlating infrastructure configuration changes, network services and security events for performance impact. vProfile configuration management, the newly released component of the VMC platform, complements vTrust Security and vWatch Monitoring. All three components are linked together through a common VMC management console that abstracts and stores information about the virtual infrastructure in a virtual CMDB and presents it in an easy-to-use graphical interface. The VMC architecture is built on a common VQL that binds all of this data together and provides integration across all components within the virtualization infrastructure stack including the vCenter, host, guest and network and storage layers. VQL also serves as the integration point for third-party solutions and service providers leveraging the Reflex VMC Cloud API.

Reflex VMC tracks thousands of properties associated with hosts, virtual machines and virtual management servers like VMware's vCenter. vProfile configuration management utilizes networking, storage and operational configuration types for hosts running hypervisors such as VMware vSphere and ESXi. Virtual Machine profiles may contain configuration properties such as CPU (central processing unit), memory, storage, networking and advanced properties. vProfile also extends to the configuration of multiple vCenters to manage folders, resource pools, permissions, roles, access control, high availability and DRS.

By recognizing these properties in the virtual infrastructure, storing them in the Virtualization CMDB, and surfacing them through its patent-pending Virtualization Query Language (VQL), Reflex can provide true integrated systems management, encompassing security, configuration management, compliance and policy enforcement throughout the virtualized data center.

"Reflex Systems continues to innovate with its technology and approach to extending IT management through virtualization," said Rachel Chalmers, 451 Research Director, and Infrastructure Management. "By spanning the virtualization stack, including the vCenter, ESX host, guest VM, network and storage layers, and addressing security, monitoring and configuration management, Reflex's VMC provides a true systems management platform that fills a growing need in the market."

The features of Reflex's vProfile configuration management tool include ability to specify and apply baseline profile configuration by establishing baselines within vProfile, users can create and apply profiles against other hosts, VMs, or virtual management systems like VMware's vCenter in an environment, enabling administrators to ensure profiles are fully propagated. It also features difference visualization through heatmaps and customized pivot tables. The Reflex vProfile configuration management plots VM configuration changes according to a graphical "heatmap" interface that uses a color schema to signify disparities; the more configuration differences there are, the "hotter" a particular area of the map shows the differences. In addition, users can leverage customized pivot tables to cross tabulate and summarize configuration information to matrix different combinations of properties.

The Reflex vProfile configuration management tool also includes ad-hoc remediation with administrators selecting objects from the graphical heatmap, identifing differences or comparing against the baseline profile, and in one click, apply changes to the objects being compared. The scheduled remediation allows administrators to set a scheduled remediation time to apply profiles during a maintenance window. vProfile also provides a remediation preview that enables users to review the scheduled remediation to see what will be effected before applying the profiles. The Reflex vProfile configuration management also includes "any to any" comparison so that administrators can automatically compare any profile, host, virtual machine or vCenter to another like property. This provides administrators with a powerful diagnostic tool that tracks variations in a given environment, as well as understands the differences.

vProfile enables users to set, apply and manage multiple profiles per object (VM, host, vCenter) to support shared policy throughout the virtual infrastructure to include security profiles, storage profiles, and network profiles. If a VM, host or vCenter is configured incorrectly or is just not maintained, users can select or create a profile from a previous date/time when the system in question was functioning correctly to reset the configuration profile. Historical profiles can be assigned to any object within the virtual environment. Reflex vProfile provides the ability to make mass updates throughout the entire infrastructure across global, multi-site data centers. For example, if an administrator wants to move the storage for 100 virtual machines, he can create a new VM profile by just setting the new storage configurations and scheduling the remediation to apply this new profile during a maintenance period. vProfile will automatically instrument the updated storage profile in parallel for all 100 VMs.

Reflex's patent-pending virtualization query language powers vProfile as well as the other components of VMC. Configuration profiles are based on VQL objects and the VQL language is used as the dynamic binding between profiles and the target of configuration change. This enables administrators to add and remove resources in their virtualized data centers without having to manually maintain their configuration baselines. VQL wizards are also provided so that users are not required to learn the details of the VQL language. vProfile provides a plethora of standard compliance and audit reports that show when hosts, VMs or vCenters are out of compliance or differ from the set baseline, so administrators can focus on other tasks and be proactively notified with the highest-priority configuration problems.

The vProfile enables users to allocate IP addresses from a pool rather than manual allocation for configuration properties such as vMotion and Fault Tolerance network interfaces. This provides a greater level of automation by eliminating custom scripting and maintenance of numerous scripts.

Published Thursday, April 01, 2010 6:17 AM by David Marshall
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