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Egenera is capitalizing on cloud management capabilities acquired last year and now aims to help companies in the channel more easily manage IT services running on-premise and in the cloud via the same management console.

The latest version of Egenera Cloud Suite adds support for enhanced workflow automation, simplified administration and integration with Microsoft Active Directory. Egenera Cloud Suite consists of version 7.6 of Egenera PAN Manager for managing heterogeneous virtual machine environments and version 2.1 of Egenera Cloud Director, which is based on cloud management software that Egenera gained when it acquired Fort Technologies last year.

Those capabilities will help solution providers manage IT services in a way that maximizes their investments in staff that can, via a single user interface, manage IT resources wherever they are located; this includes the billing software required to monetize those services, said John Humphreys, Egenera vice president of sales and marketing.

“We don’t just want to provide a provisioning capability,” Humphreys said. “We’re providing the bits that make the business go.”

Brian Ballard, CTO for managed service provider Netsolus, chose the Egenera Cloud Suite because it helps manage physical and virtual machines such as VMware and Kernel-based Virtual Machines (KVM) inside and out of the cloud.

“We need to be able to manage both physical and virtual machines,” Ballard said. “Right now, we’re focused on VMware, and we’ll probably add support for KVM next.”

Egenera Cloud Suite, said Ballard, gives Netsolus a platform for managing multiple virtual machines without having to invest in expensive management platforms such as vCloud from VMware to manage one class of virtual machines. That capability is critical in helping Netsolus keep IT staffing costs under control as it invests in the level of scale needed to compete against much larger rivals, he said.

“We think we can compete pretty effectively against the Amazons and Rackspaces of the world,” Ballard said. “In fact, we see a fair number of customers using those platforms moving toward us.”

This is occurring because customers are getting savvier about the implications of being charged for compute on an hourly basis; they also want more flexibility in terms of how much visibility and control they get over their cloud computing deployments, Ballard said.

Companies in the channel that provide that visibility and control are likely to find their services in high demand.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.