Virtualization could hardly be hotter as a trend, yet virtualization management and security tools are still in their \n\ninfancy. At first, it defies logic.RELATED LINKS\nFuture Threats to VM Security: Fact vs. Fiction\n\nCitrix Seals XenSource Deal, Pressures VMWare\n\nTaking Virtual Servers Beyond Data Center Consolidation\n\nHow Server Virtualization Tools Can Balance Data Center Loads\n\nHow To Do Virtualization Right\n\nHypervisor for Laptops Could Rock Your Mobile World\nBut CIOs on the front lines of virtualization efforts know the reality of the problem: VMs can be deployed in minutes, \n\nwhich is a big advantage on the tactical side\u2014and a big worry on the management side. After initial virtualization deployments wowed business people with their ability to save money and speed up processes \n\nlike IT provisioning, the number of VMs quickly escalated in enterprises. Issues like balancing workloads on virtualized \n\nservers and tracking all those VMs became much more important. The big vendors in the space, \nVMware and \nXen (now owned by Citrix), were, to some extent, learning along with the \n\ncustomers about the everyday management headaches and concerns. Only as more of those worries arose did rival companies come knocking on CIOs' doors with products designed to provide a \n\ncomprehensive look at the virtualized data center, manage it and protect it. Sure, VMware and Citrix\/Xen have their own management tools. But who are the other key companies innovating in this area? \n\nWe talked to CIOs and industry analysts to narrow down a list of ten virtualization management and security vendors that \n\nshould be on any IT leader's radar screen in 2008. 1. CiRBA \nCiRBA's Data Center Intelligence Software can help IT leaders analyze and \n\nvisually map how to migrate and consolidate servers to a virtualized environment. For instance, CiRBA's tools help you figure \n\nout which servers and applications can coexist efficiently. The tools analyze factors such as application middleware, \n\ndatabase configurations, required service levels and workload patterns. Then CiRBA's tools can help manage the virtualized \n\nenvironment. "CiRBA's planning tool is extensible, allowing planners to add custom evaluation criteria to any planning \n\nscenario," says Burton Group senior analyst Chris Wolf. "This is extremely valuable." CiRBA's tools can also be used in \n\nplanning for OS virtualization, application stacking and migrations to blade environments\u2014and prove helpful for \n\nvirtualization security audits, notes Wolf. 2. VizioncoreWho's got your virtual backup? Many CIOs continue to choose \nVizioncore, which has become well-known for its VM backup tool, vRanger \n\nPro. But Vizioncore tackles performance management as well. Vizioncore tools like vCharter, which examines what's going on \n\ninside each VM, can provide a window into utilization and performance questions. For a look at one company's tactical \n\nexperience with Vizioncore, see How Server Virtualization Tools Can Balance Data Center Loads. 3. Akorri \nAkorri's BalancePoint suite can help solve one of the toughest questions IT \n\nteams have around virtualization: How far can I push this physical server by adding on more VMs without affecting application \n\nservice levels? BalancePoint's analysis tools can see across server, storage and software issues to help you plan and manage \n\nworkload balancing issues. Monster.com, for instance, uses Balance Point to \n\nsee which apps are competing for storage and server resources\u2014and ensure IT's ability to meet service-level goals. \n\nBalancePoint also can help decipher why a particular VM is not performing as well as expected. 4. Platform ComputingAlso fighting on the workload automation front, \nPlatform Computing's VM Orchestrator and Enterprise Grid \n\nOrchestrator products could get the attention of more IT groups in 2008. "Platform Computing has a history of expertise in \n\ngrid computing and workload automation," notes Burton Group's Wolf, "and I believe several virtualization vendors will look \n\nto leverage Platform Computing's proven architecture as they build out products to compete with workload automation \n\nalternatives such as VMware's Distributed Resource Scheduler." 5. Embotics \nEmbotics calls itself a "VM Lifecycle Management" company. That's \n\nthe kind of jargon that not everyone likes. But the company's V-Commander software (which integrates with VMware's \n\nVirtualCenter management suite) deserves interest, says IDC Research Director Stephen Elliott. The product aims to reign in \n\nthe problem of "rogue VMs" that IT may not know about, and lets IT apply policies and automation to the job of tagging and \n\ntracking each VM in the company. Embotics claims early success with customers in regulated industries who face extra audit \n\npressure. "They are taking a lifecycle perspective, really looking at integrating security controls, change management and \n\npolicy from one dashboard," Elliot says. "The goal is to help users drive an integrated governance approach to managing \n\nvirtual machines\u2014notably from the use of policies that dictate the virtual machine lifecycle from creation to \n\nretirement." 6. EqualLogicStorage firm EqualLogic, recently acquired by Dell, became known for its iSCSI storage-area network (SAN) products, which have now been \n\noptimized for virtualization. These products can help enterprise IT radically reduce storage costs using a SAN. (Before \n\niSCSI, the only other mainstream option was fibre channel, a technology that's too complex and expensive to manage for many \n\ncompanies.) Within storage, iSCSI is a hot growth area: IDC (a sister company to CIO's publisher) expects 25 percent of all \n\nexternal storage sold in 2011 to be iSCSI-based. For more advice on why and how to deploy iSCSI SANs, see Rethink Your Storage Infrastructure.7. PlateSpinKnown for its physical-to-virtual conversion tools and workload management tools, \nPlateSpin continues to win over customers even as some free conversion \n\ntools have become available, says Burton Group's Wolf. PlateSpin's P2V conversion tool, PowerConvert, has remained relevant \n\ndue to its expanded use models, including disaster recovery staging and virtual-to-physical conversion capabilities, Wolf \n\nsays. Also, PlateSpin added chargeback reporting to its PowerRecon product, an interesting reporting and management tool, \n\njust as many IT groups are trying to figure out how to do chargebacks to business units in the virtualized world. 8. Marathon TechnologiesHow do you deal with planned and unplanned downtime in a virtualized environment? \nMarathon's everRun HA (high availability) and everRun FT \n\n(fault tolerant) products have won acclaim\u2014including a recent VMworld Best of Show award\u2014for their ability to \n\nhelp IT ensure availability to end users. That award is even more interesting given that Marathon's products today work with \n\nXen virtual environments, not VMware's. "VM high availability will be a significant concern in 2008 as virtualization \n\ntechnology improvements allow more high-end enterprise applications to run inside virtual machines," Wolf says. 9. Blue LaneCIOs looking for an extra layer of security protection in the virtualized environment are tuning into the possibilities of \nBlue Lane's VirtualShield product for VMware, which aims to \n\nprotect virtual machines even in cases where certain patches are out of date. The software can also automatically scan for \n\npossible problems, update problem areas and protect against some remote threats. That could be an added layer of comfort \n\nwhile the traditional security and management vendors catch up, some security experts say.10. Reflex SecurityReflex's Virtual Security Appliance (VSA), which security guru \n\nand Unisys' chief architect for security innovation \nChris Hoff describes along with BlueLane's software as one of the few emerging \n\nvirtualization security products worth attention right now, essentially serves a virtual intrusion detection system (IDS). It \n\nadds a layer of security policies inside the physical boxes where the VMs live. Some CIOs are investigating Reflex's VSA to \n\nblock potential threats like hypervisor attacks, among other possible future \n\ntroubles.