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Virtualization Management: The Goldilocks of Technology for 2009

What do virtualization executives think about 2009?  A Series Exclusive.

Contributed by Kenneth Klapproth, vice president of marketing, Entuity

Virtualization Management: The Goldilocks of Technology for 2009


Virtualization technology is one of the latest examples of how you can have too much of a good thing.  As enterprises look to balance the potential return from its application with the operational challenges it creates, IT organizations will seek to balance versatility with manageability in 2009.  Much like Goldilocks sticking her finger into the bowls of porridge or jumping from bed to bed in the cottage of the three bears, companies deploying enterprise solutions utilizing virtualization technology will balance between an approach that is “too soft” – leaving little visibility to its use – and one that is “too hard” – handcuffing IT operations folks and stifling the potential return to the business.  Finding that “just right” approach will weigh flexibility against manageability and won’t leave anyone running into the woods screaming for help!


Making the Porridge


Technology users are creative – particularly those who are responsible for implementing, deploying, and maintaining all that cutting-edge technology.  After all, they are always on the bleeding edge and frequently use the software equivalent of bailing wire and duct tape to get the next big thing to work.  It is that same creativity that can present challenges for the enterprises they work for in maintaining an infrastructure that is dependable, repeatable, and – above all – manageable, so that the business remains productive and profitable.


Designed to address underutilization, IT organizations have creative and varied applications for virtualization technology.  An independent and quick-to-deploy virtual environment has almost limitless applications such as increased hardware utilization, failover and disaster recovery, end-user desktop image management, enterprise application testing and deployment and virus remediation.  However, this range of application spans the traditional silos of IT management, posing the first question:  Since they “behave” like a variety of traditional technologies, are VMs considered servers, application or infrastructure?  More importantly, who is responsible for managing them and what amount of management will be “just right?”


As VMs appear to fit different layers of the information technology stack, the best recipe for a management approach would provide visibility to all those tiers.  Only by monitoring, collecting, and alerting on the operation and performance of the virtual machines, the physical servers that host them, and the networks upon which they deliver applications and services, will operations personnel be able to ensure that mission-critical business services are continually available for their intended recipients.


Sizing the Chair


Virtualization is one of the latest new and exciting technologies that has quickly gone from proof of concept testing to ramped deployment at enterprises in all industries.  Its range of application, ease of use and deployment, and versatility have IT organizations using it faster and broader than even the solution providers could have imagined.  This explosion and ensuing operational difficulties have even coined the term “VM Sprawl” to describe the phenomenon.


It’s not enough to just know that a certain number of VMs are deployed or even just the location at which they are deployed.  Technologies such as VMware VMotion can dynamically move them to new servers when VM performance degrades.  In doing so however, the route from the user to the business application they require has also changed – possibly negating the overall intended effect.  The number of network device hops could increase.  The throughput of those devices, or even the capacity of that network segment and the makeup of the overall traffic could be negatively impacted.  The result would thus give the user perceived performance degradation.  Only a management solution that can track VMs as they move about the network and assess the overall performance contribution of the network would give operations personnel the ability to study, understand, and document compliance – allowing them to provision capacity that’s “just right” and deliver users optimum performance.


The Perfect Bed


Companies in record numbers are turning to virtualization technology because of the speed and versatility it offers in deploying and maintaining enterprise applications, as well as the economical and operational benefits it brings to the data center.  But its very speed and flexibility introduces new management challenges for IT operations personnel that will need to be addressed in 2009.  The bed has been made for the coming year with management solutions that bring visibility and manageability of virtual environments in the context of the overall network to enable proactive VM operation, effective capacity planning, ensure end-user service satisfaction, and finally put VM sprawl in check – giving operations personnel a well deserved rest before the inevitable “next big thing.”


About Kenneth Klapproth 


As the vice president of marketing, Kenneth Klapproth is responsible for all product and corporate marketing for Entuity, maker of award-winning Eye of the Storm® (EYE) network management suite. For more than 20 years, he has helped innovative technology companies successfully match product positioning and messaging to market demand and press attention – leading them to thought, technology and market leadership.


Published Saturday, December 06, 2008 8:46 AM by David Marshall
Best Virtual Advertising » Blog Archive » Virtualization Management: The Goldilocks of Technology for 2009 … - (Author's Link) - December 7, 2008 3:03 PM
Best Virtual Advertising » Blog Archive » Virtualization Management: The Goldilocks of Technology for 2009 … - (Author's Link) - December 7, 2008 3:03 PM
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