Vizioncore has released a beta of a freeware toolkit that it has sponsored, which will give system administrators the "ability to streamline the management of multi-platform virtual environments."

Virtualization EcoShell is described as a graphical toolkit that is targeted specifically at virtualisation specialists and systems administrators, as well as "consultants, systems integrators, and anyone who is engineering and architecting a new virtual environment."

Virtualization EcoShell utilises Windows PowerShell, Microsoft's command line interface shell and associated scripting language so as "to deliver daily cost-savings opportunities for administrators of virtualised infrastructures."

Vizioncore is comparing it to the Microsoft Management Console, but focused on virtualisation. The tool is actually the brain child of Scott Herold, chief architect at Vizioncore and Quest Software. It is not a Vizioncore product per se, but was funded by them. It is available from the Virtualization EcoShell Invitiative, an eco system that is community driven, which allows members to add their own customisation to the tool.

"Virtualization EcoShell is an independent tool," confirmed Roger Baskerville, VP for EMEA at Vizioncore. "It combines PowerShell, which is a very powerful scripting language but not necessarily very easy to use, and combines with Quest Software's PowerGUI, a graphical user interface and script editor for PowerShell."

The beta first appeared at VMworld Europe in February, where its user interface apparently received positive feedback. The toolkit helps to automate repetitive and complex tasks that are "inherent in virtualisation infrastructures". It includes the ability to create, customise, streamline, manage and automate the multi-platform virtual environments.

"Imagine you are an administrator, and you are using VirtualCenter from VMware to do repetitive tasks like upgrading the memory of each virtual machine, from 256 to 512," said Baskerville.

"The administrator can ask Virtualization EcoShell to show all machines with 256 of memory and then change the memory in all one movement," said Baskerville. "If you give this to a VirtualCenter user, it puts a smile on their face. Admins just love it, and we expect it to be very successful."

The toolkit also includes administrative reports and maps, as well as an IDE for script creation.

"The Virtualization EcoShell provides administrators with a free toolkit which allows them to build their own powerful virtualisation systems management consoles," said Scott Herold in a statement. "In addition, they can also benefit from the hundreds of members associated with the online community-driven website, The Virtualization EcoShell Initiative (VESI) - www.thevesi.org."

Baskerville said that a finalised release of the beta is expected in two or three weeks. The beta release of the Virtualization EcoShell is available as freeware and can be downloaded here.