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InfoQ Homepage News Google Announces VM Manager, a Suite of Infrastructure Management Tools

Google Announces VM Manager, a Suite of Infrastructure Management Tools

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In a recent blog post, Google announced VM Manager, a suite of infrastructure management tools to maintain large fleets of Compute Engine VMs more efficiently.

More enterprises are moving their workloads to the cloud to benefit from its elasticity and scale. And managing infrastructure security and compliance at that scale can be challenging for infrastructure and operations administrators – thus, having tools similar to what they are using on-premise is in demand. Google answers the need with the new offering VM Manager.

VM Manager consists of several services, including patch management, configuration management, and inventory management. Furthermore, it also includes a single dashboard to allow real-time tracking of inventory, and the suite supports the most common Windows and Linux environments.

According to the blog post, patch management consists of two components:

  • Patch compliance reporting, which provides insights on the patch status of your VMs across Windows and Linux distributions 
  • And patch deployment, which automates the OS and software patch update process

Furthermore, with configuration management, users can deploy, query, and maintain consistent configurations for VMs. It also boasts automated remediation features. And lastly, with inventory management, users can collect OS and package information, allowing identification of which VMs are running a specific OS system version. Furthermore, they can view packages installed on a VM, generate a list of package updates available for each VM, and identify missing packages, updates, or patches for a VM. The inventory management is integrated with Cloud Asset Inventory to simplify viewing, monitoring, and analyzing your Google Cloud fleet data.

 
Source: https://cloud.google.com/compute/docs/vm-manager

The authors of the blog post, Ravi Kiran Chintalapudi, product manager at Google, and Senanu Aggor, product marketing manager at Google, wrote:

By taking advantage of automated tools to keep systems up-to-date, reducing the risk of downtime, and improving productivity of internal users, early VM manager users tell us that it allows their IT administrators to focus on other business-critical tasks.

In addition, Holger Mueller, principal analyst and vice president at Constellation Research Inc., explained to InfoQ:

VMs are a great tool to run workloads more efficiently, but as often, too much of a good thing can also become a challenge. So it is good to see that Google introduces VM Manager, helping enterprises reduce the inherent complexity of large compute engine fleets. This development is a pivotal contributor to help IT become more agile and faster, thus enabling enterprise acceleration for the enterprise.

Other Cloud providers have similar services to manage VMs like AWS System Manager. A respondent on a Hacker News thread wrote:

So it looks similar to AWS Systems Manager, but only for Windows and Linux in GCP. In their Youtube video, they're saying however you're doing "patch compliance," whether it's orchestration or by-hand, it is still essentially being done incrementally by hand, possibly one package at a time. Instead of using Terraform/Ansible/Vagrant to connect to GCP, you can use their VM manager to perform bulk updating of OS packages. Their VM manager relies on agent software to connect directly to your VM to issue system commands via your OS native console.

According to the blog post, the public cloud vendor will release more features in the coming months.

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