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Where to turn when VMware stops supporting Lab Manager in May

The date is coming soon: VMware will stop supporting its Lab Manager product in May, and where VMware is leaving a hole in the market, other vendors are looking to step in.

Lab Manager is used by test and development shops or quality assurance departments. In 2011, VMware announced that it would cease support for Lab Manager on May 1, 2013. VMware is encouraging customers to transition to its vCloud Director or Cloud Automation Center (CAC) software instead, which it says does everything Lab Manager does and more.

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But not all organizations need all the bells and whistles that come with vCloud Director, says Jay Litkey, CEO of Embotics. His software company is running a promotion until the end of March allowing Lab Manager customers to transfer their license to Embotics at no net new costs. Litkey says vCloud Director is meant for big, enterprise-wide deployments of cloud services and it can take up to 30 days of training to set up and run smoothly. Embotics, he says, can be up and running in two days. 

"With richness of functionality comes complexity," says Bernd Harzog, an analyst at The Virtualization Practice about why some Lab Manager customers may not want to upgrade to vCloud Director.

Embotics says its V-Commander offers rapid provisioning, self-service, service catalogs, IT costing and chargeback, workflow automation, resource optimization and life-cycle management capabilities. V-Commander is available for $299 per socket per year if customers cannot break their Lab Manager contract. "It's not like we sat around and cooked up this market opportunity," Litkey says. "It literally showed up on our doorstep."

SkyTap, a public cloud service provider, is also seizing the marketing opportunity, offering its virtual machines in its cloud as a hosted Lab Manager replacement. SkyTap doesn't have a specific product for dev/test or QA for labs, so really any public cloud service could be used as Lab Manager-like replacement.

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So should lab management software be on customers' premises or in the cloud? Harzog says that depends. If the lab tests only one product a year, then it doesn't make sense to invest in the infrastructure of an on-premises solution and the cloud may be a better fit. If there is continual QA and testing, having it on-site could be best. The application's destination could be a factor too. If it's being hosted in the cloud, perhaps doing dev and test in the cloud is a good idea, whereas if it's being hosted on site, maybe the testing should be done there too.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at [email protected] and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.


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