VMware has announced the public beta of VMware Stage Manager, a new first-in-class management and automation product that streamlines and accelerates the process of bringing new or modified applications and other IT services into production.

Building on the management capabilities of VMware Infrastructure, VMware Stage Manager automates management of complete, multi-tier application environments – including the servers, storage and networking systems that support them – as they move through various stages from integration to testing to staging and user acceptance before being released into production.
As new services or changes to existing IT services are being introduced – for example,  rolling out an upgrade to Exchange 2008 or making changes to a complex SAP installation – they often follow a sequence of stages to ensure they are successfully tested, approved and configured for deployment into production. IT typically maintains numerous dedicated "shadow instances" of the production environment to enable each of these stages.
These systems are prone to "drift" out of synch with the production configuration, jeopardizing the successful execution of system changes and updates and increasing the risk of production downtime.
VMware Stage Manager helps IT address these and other "service transition" challenges with the ability to visualize, organize and streamline resources and processes across the service release lifecycle. By deploying VMware Stage Manager, IT administrators and application owners can:
* Manage pre-production infrastructure assets – servers, storage and networking equipment – utilizing them only when needed, thereby reducing server sprawl and increasing the resource utilization efficiency of IT services hosted on VMware Infrastructure
* Rapidly build up a pre-production image of complex production environments, even cloning directly from production systems to ensure that all environments are exact replicas, thereby mitigating risk of errors and potential downtime
* Systematically propagate complex system changes through all phases of the process while more easily enforcing change and release management procedures
* Accelerate the completion of requests for changes to production systems.
"VMware virtualisation is the standard for a new and better architecture for running applications," says Dan Chu, vice president of emerging products and markets at VMware. "VMware Stage Manager adds to the power of the VMware platform by automating and streamlining the staging process for deploying new applications and updates."