So I had the chance to play about with the latest version of Bluebear Kodiak the other day, I just hadn’t had the chance to put some of my findings and thoughts down on the blog.
This release has been a long time in coming, so much so that I’d almost forgotten what was in 0.0.2. I often found myself looking at 0.0.3 and asking myself, “was that in it already or is that new?”
Most of the changes that have occured appear to be under the hood, one of these changes is the introduction of a Lua scripting engine. I had never heard of Lua as a scripting language before this release, however following a bit of reading it appears to be a very lightweight and fast scripting language that is highly customisable to requirements. To be honest I have no idea what this will mean for Kodiak from an operational perspective, it doesn’t appear to be any faster than the previous version but I was only testing this against a single ESX server. The release notes hint that each server gets it’s own independent Lua script which may indicate that the benefits only appear when using Kodiak against multiple hosts.
I notice that support for Citrix XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V are still missing in this release, with no real indication as yet of a timeline for support of these mainstream hypervisors. I’m very interested to see if and how it would handle managing multiple hypervisors within the same application window, I’m presuming that it’s what they’re working towards and it would be a masterstroke if they can pull it off. Microsoft have obviously tried something similar by managing VMware hosts within System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) with mixed results, lets hope the guys at BlueBear have more joy in their attempts of building a management tool to bridge all mainstream hypervisors.
So, lets get down to the nice bits. First off the map, a great interface and easy to use, move about and navigate. This release sees the addition of a new map connection node and link display control which allows you to customise what’s shown on the map to good effect. It can get very busy on screen sometimes and this feature allows you to control exactly what you do and don’t display in a very granular way. I believe the scripts window is a new edition, when a machine is selected you are presented with an array of scripts to use including defragment vm disks and migrate reboot to BIOS. From the release notes it appears that users will be able to create their own scripts however a user interface / script builder still needs to be added
I must admit I did have the occasional bit of trouble when navigating round the interface. I seemed to be able to open the console window without issue by clicking on the appropriate button when a host was selected. However I was having issues opening the configuration screen in that sometimes it just did not respond at all. I also saw issues with VM status refresh as well, I powered down a linux box by issuing a shutdown within the OS. However Kodiak still reported it as switched on within the map section, a minor annoyance of course but a core feature has to be the accurate reporting of virtual machine status.
It looks like the guys at Bluebear have been working hard on changing some of the core fundamentals in the background, as such there aren’t maybe as many differences on top as you might expect. What I’m hoping is that the work done between 0.0.2 and 0.0.3 underpins their master plan and that we’ll start to see development pick up. We hope to see the additional hypervisor support, the continued fine tuning of the interface and of course delivery of features to meet the requirements people will undoubtedly have in their virtualisation management tool of choice.