Virtualization management startup Hyper9 is coming out of stealth mode with a software product designed to find and help manage virtual machines and their physical environments. The product, Hyper9, is search-based management software designed to discover virtual machines in VMware ESX and ESXi environments and collect their configuration characteristics. It's designed to work with physical machines as well, discovering, monitoring and analyzing their performance in conjunction with virtual machines. The approach is similar to that of a slightly older startup, Splunk, whose IT management software searches for and indexes IT devices connected to a corporate network. After a beta process, the software is expected to be freely downloadable from the Hyper9 site in September of this year."The core competency of the company is management and search optimization," says Chris Ostertag, president and CEO of Hyper9. "Everyone is doing the same thing\u2014they are giving visibility into static infrastructures, just like they did 20 years ago. Virtual machines are not static\u2014they may be created in the morning and killed in the afternoon. Every traditional management interface can't keep track of transient cloned virtual machines. You have to take a search-based approach."Using a Web interface, Hyper9 inspects and presents data on five elements of the environment: server, host, virtual machine, guest operating system and application. Administrators can compare the characteristics of virtual machines to see how memory and hardware are being used. Virtual machines can be viewed individually, or grouped by similarities such as memory use, host computer or administrator of record. Preconfigured reports track ownership, creation of virtual machines, characteristics of virtual machines, as well as the characteristics of the physical hardware on which virtual machines reside. Information gathered can also contain when virtual machines were patched with new software last, the applications running on the virtual machine and what other virtual machines an instance resembles.David Graham, CIO at publishing-software vendor Vignettein Austin, Texas, is installing the Hyper9 beta this week."At Vignette, we are very deep into virtualization in all sorts of areas, not just the consolidation of servers," says Graham. "We have virtualization going in our engineering, development and QA departments, in the field and with our customers. I am a little fearful of virtualization because I think it is still fairly young technology and the management side of it has been a real challenge."\nHyper9 is not meant to replace VMware's VirtualCenter, but to complement it by adding search capability to the equation."I like the concept of using search technology to get information right away," says Graham. "We are trying to get our minds around how do we manage all our virtual environments, how do we effectively set policies around the use of virtualization. Right now it's a little bit like the Wild West. Even though the software is freely available, it doesn't mean that Hyper9 is leaving money on the table. The company will develop add-on modules for the product that customer can buy to supplement HyperV. These modules may be in the areas of analytics, reporting, troubleshooting, configuration management, disaster recovery and security.Hyper9 will also launch community sites for users of the software. These communities will allow developers and other users to create add-in modules for Hyper9 and for them to interact with each other.Hyper9 will be in general availability in September at VMworld. Versions of the software that work with Microsoft's Hyper-V and Xen are expected to be available next year.The company, based in Austin, Texas is headed up by Chris Ostertag, formerly of Waveset and Tivoli Systems. It evolved out of InovaWave, a virtualization performance management company. The company was founded by Chris Ostertag, Ben Rouse, chief product officer and Dave McCrory, CTO. Hyper9 is funded for $9 million by Matrix Partners and Silverton Partners and has about 20 employees.