IBM Thursday is introducing a new tool to manage virtualized data centers even if the center is running different types of virtualization software.IBM\u2019s Virtualization Manager uses a Web-based dashboard for managing different portions of a data center as one whole system, the company said. Virtualization Manager will simultaneously run virtualization software from vendors such as VMware, Microsoft and\u00a0XenSource, as well as for IBM\u2019s System p and System i servers and storage devices.VMware products specialize in virtualization on x86-standard servers, while Microsoft Virtual Server manages servers running the Windows operating system, and XenSource virtualizes open-source systems. Virtualization Manager will give people who run data centers better control of systems from those different vendors, said Peter McCaffrey, director of virtualization strategy for IBM."You need to better manage the environment if you\u2019re going to get the full advantage of virtualization," McCaffrey said.Virtualization is a method of improving the performance of data centers by running several software applications, even based on different operating systems, on the same physical server. Because some servers deployed today operate at as little as 10 percent or 20 percent of capacity, virtualization reduces the need to buy more servers.Because Virtualization Manager is Web-based, the data center can be managed from wherever an IT manager has Web access, he said, and the easy-to-navigate user interface helps reduce operating\u00a0and capital expenses. Virtualization Manager is a free software download for customers who already operate IBM servers on their networks, even if they also run other brands.Such virtualization management products can help reduce one of the major cost areas for data centers, labor, said Joe Clabby, president of Clabby Analytics, an information technology research and analysis firm."Management of systems is a very expensive operation," said Clabby, adding that if a simpler management system is available, enterprises can use lower-skilled and lower-paid people to manage a virtualized environment. "That savings on their SGA, sales, general and administrative expenses goes right to the bottom line."IBM boasts advantages its product has over those from other tech companies, but a VMware executive says the whole industry is moving in the direction of simplified management of virtualization technology."All these management vendors are looking at how virtualization is deployed in the data center," said Steve Harrod, vice president of technology deployment at VMware, adding that, over time, "you will get basic management capability in a standard form."-Robert Mullins, IDG News Service (San Francisco Bureau)Related Links:\n\nIBM to Support Xen Virtualization Through Suse\n\nSun Combines Virtualization Services into a Strategy\n\nIBM Moves to Eliminate Gaps in SOA Offerings\n\nIBM Cools Chips With Thin PasteCheck out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.