Today VMware announced VMware vCenter CapacityIQ 1.0, a capacity management product for virtual infrastructure. The new product is rough around the edges. For example it still does not support VMware vSphere (VMware should have a policy for not launching new products that do not support its latest platform) nor does it provide enough emphasis on storage capacity planning.
In a nutshell, VMware CapacityIQ allows customers to reduce costs by right-sizing resources allocated to virtual machines. It also helps customers model the effect of capacity changes and forecast future capacity needs.
One particular company that will be severely impacted by VMware vCenter CapacityIQ is VKernel. At present, all VKernel products only work with VMware ESX and VMware vSphere, putting the company in a bit of a vice until support for other platforms is added. Each major VMware vCenter CapacityIQ feature competes with a product offered by VKernel:
- Capacity Awareness competes with VKernel Capacity Analyzer
- Capacity Optimization competes with VKernel Optimization Pack
- Capacity Prediction competes with VKernel Modeler
While VMware vCenter CapacityIQ is a fairly new product, it does have a critical mass of capabilities to spell trouble for VKernel and any other vendor offering capacity management software to the enterprise on top of the VMware platform. VKernel does seem to have a superset of capabilities available in VMware CapacityIQ such as support for vSphere, but it's just a matter of time before VMware closes the necessary product gaps.
VKernel announced its plans to support other platforms such as Citrix XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V later this year. Now the pressure is on VKernel to deliver.
Update (October 21, 2009)
David Marshall wrote the VMware tries its hand at capacity planning article on InfoWorld, quoting Alex Bakman, CEO of VKernel, saying "CapacityIQ may be good enough for some but our Capacity Analyzer and Optimization Pack provides many more features and functionality and delivers our users the answers and actionable information to make them successful in managing and optimizing their environments."
Indeed, VKernel does have more capacity management capabilities - after all, this is all VKernel has been focused on as a company for the last two years. As much as Alex would like to "thank VMware for validating the market need for capacity planning, management, and optimization," VMware is going to sell CapacityIQ as part of a complete vCenter stack and injecting a third-party (VKernel) appliance will not be an easy sell. Even if VKernel manages to get into the sales cycle and go up against CapacityIQ, the sales cycles will become longer and more expensive - not particularly favorable for a startup.
Update (November 9, 2009)
David Marshall followed up with another article on VKernel, detailing how VKernel is making Capacity Modeler free until December 31, 2009 in response to VMware CapacityIQ. VKernel Capacity Modeler 1.0 was released on March 31, 2009 with pricing starting at $199 per CPU socket.
The move only validates the frustration VKernel must be experiencing as it starts to see VMware in its sales cycles. And no matter how much VKernel and other vendors discount VMware CapacityIQ, the product is obviously "good enough" to force VKernel to go on the defensive. It's ironic that VKernel initially discounted VMware's offering and then actually had to discount its own.