In part one of this three-part series, we looked at options for organizations that are currently running Lab Manager in light of the VMware decision to discontinue additional major releases of vCenter Lab Manager. In part 2, we’ll explore the option of transitioning to a new product.

Transition to a Different Virtual Lab Management Product

Organizations wishing to retain the same functionality that they had with vCenter Lab Manager are not solely limited to using VMware products. Competing software vendors offer products that feature similar functionality. For instance, Microsoft’s System Center Virtual Machine Manager includes a self-service portal that can be combined with Hyper-V to provide functionality similar to that of vCenter Lab Manager. Even so, transitioning to a competing product will likely be the least attractive option for most organizations.

Benefits:

  • Similar functionality to Lab Manager
  • Fewer re-training costs than on-premises cloud management solutions

Considerations:

  • Requires creating new infrastructure from scratch
  • Substantial hardware costs from overlapping deployments
  • Additional licensing fees
  • VMs will likely need to be rebuilt from scratch

There are numerous issues associated with transitioning to a competing product, but most of these stem from the fact that there is no direct migration path between vCenter Lab Manager and its equivalents. Organizations wishing to migrate to Hyper-V or another competing product will find that because in-place upgrades or automated migrations are not possible, they must create the infrastructure for their new deployment while their existing virtual lab is still up and running. This means that an organization would incur significant hardware costs prior to beginning the transition. Some of the existing virtual lab hardware may be able to be repurposed after the transition is complete, but the transition itself requires creating an entire virtual lab infrastructure from scratch.

Although there are substantial hardware costs involved in transitioning to a competing product, these reflect only a small portion of the project’s total expense. Other considerations include software licensing fees and the costs involved in retraining the IT staff and deploying the new infrastructure. It is also important to remember that your existing virtual machine images will most likely be incompatible with your chosen replacement product and will therefore need to be rebuilt from scratch.

In the third and final part of this series, I’ll talk about the decision to migrate your existing lab environment to a public or hybrid cloud. If you’d like to read ahead, you can reference our full white paper entitled: Moving Lab Management Environments to the Cloud.

Have you had experience transitioning to a new virtual lab management product? Leave us a comment below—we’d like to hear your story.

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