Virtual management start-up Hyper9 has emerged from stealth mode and revealed its upcoming free software download, designed to help virtual systems administrators search for meaningful data across virtual and physical machines.

The company, founded last summer, used Gartner's Infrastructure, Operations and Management Summit to unveil its Hyper9 management platform for x86 virtual server environments. The Hyper9 software is packaged as a virtual appliance and is scheduled to be free for download in September.

The software uses five data collection methods to gather configuration, patch and other data on virtual and physical machines. To collect data, Hyper 9 inspects VMware VirtualCenter database, VirtualCenter via an API, host servers, virtual machines and the sessions within the VMs.

According to CEO Chris Ostertag, Hyper9 will complement VMware VirtualCenter by helping virtual systems administrators more quickly solve problems. The software aggregates data and presents it through a web-based interface, coupling the search results with business intelligence metrics and potential actions to take in response to search results.

"We are bridging the gaps between conventional and dynamic management by providing a search-based platform that visualises the data and provides meaningful business intelligence," Ostertag says. "Our software goes after the front-end by providing that pane of glass into virtual environments and shines a light on the really meaningful data."

Hyper9, which has about 20 employees, garnered $9 million (£4.6 million) in funding from Matrix Partners and Silverton Partners in 2007 and is seeking additional funding to compete in a market that is quickly getting crowded. Gartner Research Vice President Cameron Haight reported separately at the show that he tracks more than 100 companies offering some sort of management technology for virtual environments.

Ostertag says the company doesn't directly compete with IT search management platform provider Splunk because Hyper9 collects data from multiple sources and doesn't focus primarily on log files. Yet the company could run into competition from myriad start-ups going after management dollars in the virtual market such as Embotics, Fortisphere, ManageIQ and Veeam. Still, Ostertag contends Hyper9 will complement existing tools.

"People are religious about what they use in their virtual environments so we are going to complement what they already have with VirtualCenter and other platforms going forward," he says.

Ostertag says later in the third quarter, the company will introduce extensions to the Hyper9 search platform that provide "deeper dive features" and will be sold as commercial software. The free download will help potential customers get familiar with the product and start adding value to their virtual environments at no cost, he says.

"It's free, it enables quick access and will help customers find data they need," he says.

The Hyper9 virtual appliance works with the VMware ESX environment. Later versions will work with additional hypervisors from Microsoft, Citrix and others, Ostertag says.