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Application Awareness Will Play a Key Role in Virtualization Adoption

 

What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2010?  Find out in this VMblog.com series exclusive. 

Contributed Article by Andrew Barnes, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development for Neverfail

Application Awareness Will Play a Key Role in Virtualization Adoption

Virtualization is coming of age, proving itself over the past several years as many enterprises dipped their toes in the water by testing non-critical applications. As more organizations gain confidence with deploying applications in a virtual environment, 2010 will see many more virtualizing mission-critical applications such as email and database systems. However, as this happens and IT departments gain experience managing tier 1 virtualized applications they will begin to understand the importance of application availability.

Today's virtualization solutions alone do not provide the visibility necessary to ensure continuous application availability, leaving end-users and businesses open to downtime even if virtual machines appear to be up and running. As we all know, application downtime can have a crippling impact on business operations, leading to customer dissatisfaction, loss of productivity, reputation damage and revenue loss.

As organizations virtualize tier 1 applications to take advantage of the economies of scale and platform level business continuity options of the virtual platform, they need to understand that this is not enough for mission-critical applications that cannot be down for even a few minutes. For example, one of the most widely known benefits of virtualization is that when a virtual host goes down virtual machines can be moved off of that server and onto another server, providing high availability that requires third-party tools in the physical world. Yet when applications themselves fail, for example a thread hangs, a windows service crashes or i/o timeouts disrupt application performance the virtual high availability tools can't react, because the virtual machines still appear to be running. Application availability tools need to kick in at this point and work in harmony with the virtual platform. This will become critical for organizations virtualizing mission critical applications.

Continuous application availability means a business can carry on running with minimum (or zero) disruption if it experiences downtime. In today's competitive environment where every second counts, businesses must evaluate the level of application downtime they can afford to have and how much they are prepared to invest to maximize availability. As organizations move more critical applications to virtual platforms, they will need to look for availability and disaster recovery solution with the ability to detect and take action on application failures. When threats to availability and downtime are detected such a solution needs to ensure that the business continues to run normally, despite any server or application failures.

While virtualization will continue to be a major business trend in the coming year, organizations need to approach availability in the smartest way possible. Some tier 1 applications will be virtualized, others will remain on physical platforms for some time to come. As these deployments take place businesses  must look for consistent, complementary solutions that detect failures and outages at the application level and provide automatic switch-overs so businesses can continue operating without user downtime irrespective of whether the application is physical or virtual. By taking a holistic view at the entire infrastructure today, and taking the necessary steps to properly manage applications across the enterprise, organizations will be in the best possible position for the many years ahead of managing mixed environments.

About the Author

Andrew Barnes joined Neverfail in March 2007 bringing extensive experience in marketing, product management, and pre-sales through his 25 years in the software industry. He is responsible for Neverfail's branding, marketing, product management and web presence. Barnes most recently served as VP of Marketing for a European-based software company and has held a variety of senior positions with companies such as KVS, Sun and Platinum Technology.

Published Thursday, December 17, 2009 5:59 AM by David Marshall
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