Hypothetical question for the IT guys in the room

Assume your IT department runs all operating systems within virtual machines, and you have a fixed budget of $X to spend on a single new management software package.  Your boss tells you that you must purchase one of these packages (it’s year end and you will lose the budget if you don’t use it).

Your choices…

Package #1: This software allows you to manage operating system level and application level configurations in an elegant fashion.  You can assign roles to different servers and ensure that their configuration is always consistent with what you’ve specified in the management system.  Assume this tool has minimal awareness of what’s happening in the hypervisor.  It’s really focused on the guest operating systems.

Package #2: This software allows you to manage virtual machines in an elegant fashion.  Virtual machines can easily be created, tracked, deleted, and copied.  The software also allows you to develop and execute virtual machine workflow that make disaster recovery, test and development, etc much easier.  Basically, you are able to manage the full lifecycle of a virtual machine as well as automate tasks involving one or more virtual machines.  Assume this tool has minimal awareness of the guest operating systems.

Both packages cost $X, so you can only purchase one system.  Assume otherwise that these systems are equivalent in terms of reliability, ability to be customized, etc.

Which would package would you choose as either a) the CIO or b) the guy who is doing the hands-on administration work?

Feel free to state if you’re answering for a small, medium, or large IT shop as well.

Looking forward to seeing the responses…

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