Virtualisation systems management startup Veeam Software is warning that organisations are underestimating the costs associated with virtual machine sprawl.

Commenting on the challenges facing IT departments when dealing with virtual environments, Colin Wright, European managing director at Veeam, said that the lack of skills is a particular problem at the moment. "VMware skills are very few and far between, and difficult to find," he told Techworld.

Wright also cited virtual machine (VM) sprawl as an issue, and pointed out that the ease with which VMs could be created, has led to some organisations never killing off old or outdated VMs. He warned that if these VMs continue to sprawl, IT departments will soon face many of the management problems associated with managing physical IT environments.

This VM sprawl is also impacting the storage footprint he warned. He pointed to Symantec's recent poll from VMworld, which confirmed that 30 percent of attendees reported backup success rates of less than 60 percent when dealing with virtual servers.

"The CIO is often told that virtualisation will save money because it will reduce the server count, but what they save on servers, the savings are often spent on storage because of backup demands, linked to increasing VM sprawl," said Wright.

Veeam Software was founded in 2006 to develop systems management software for VMware environments. Earlier this month, the company released an enhanced version of its backup software for VMware servers.

Veeam has now officially established a European presence with its EMEA headquarters in the UK, in order to drive customer growth on this side of the Atlantic.

Wright also pointed to a number of new product updates. This includes a new version of Veeam Monitor, a performance monitoring, capacity planning and troubleshooting tool. Version 3.0 can consolidate performance monitoring data from multiple VMware virtual centres, and can now drill down so that system admins can monitor memory and CPU consumption levels.

Veeam has also released version 4 of its nworks enterprise management connectors. Veeam purchased nworks for an undisclosed sum back in June 2008. This deal added enterprise management connectors that bridges the gap between VMware virtual infrastructure and enterprise systems management tools from Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft.

"Nworks was very good acquisition for us," Wright said. "If a customer has committed to HP Software Operations Manager and Microsoft System Center Operations Manager, they can now link their existing investment in those products to manage a virtual estate."

Version 4 adds new capabilities including hardware and sensor status, the firm said, plus support for Virtual Infrastructure 2.5.

Veeam is also set to release an enterprise edition of its Reporter tool in the next few weeks, which allows for automated reporting for a large VMware environment. It provides unattended or ad hoc reporting, as well as centralised data storage to help users discover, document and report on all the objects within their VMware virtual infrastructure.

Wright makes no bones that Veeam concentrates purely on providing management tools for VMware. He pointed to IDC figures earlier this year, which showed that 82 percent of European companies are using VMware. Wright also said that he sees no sign of a slowdown of European takeup of virtual environments at the moment.

"VMware has 80 percent market share," he said. "We are watching to see if our customers adopt other environments such as Hyper V and ZenServer. But we are not seeing customers using Hyper V and Zenserver at the moment."

Veeam Backup costs £309, whereas Reporter 3.0 and Monitor 3.0 have a promotional price of £93 per CPU until end of 2008. After that the price will increase to £159. Reporter Enterprise is priced at £229 per physical CPU.