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Netuitive: Making the Case for Math in the Cloud... and breaking all the "rules"

What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2011?  Find out in this VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed Article By Nicola Sanna, CEO, Netuitive   

Making the Case for Math in the Cloud... and breaking all the "rules"

After security, "management" is the number one concern for CIOs seeking to achieve the true benefits of cloud computing.  At issue is the conventional approach to systems management - manually setting rules and thresholds - that, in a virtualized environment, quickly becomes more unwieldy and complex than even the best engineer can resolve. Getting visibility into resource utilization and root-cause analysis in inherently dynamic virtualized environments is much more difficult, making traditional baselining and rules-based approaches to systems management obsolete, especially when managing applications running in large heterogeneous environments.

But the answer is on the horizon and lies in advanced mathematics and automation found in predictive analytics as a new approach for managing virtualization and cloud environments.  Gartner defines them as Behavior Learning technologies that perform real-time data analysis, capacity management and ensure performance of a heterogeneous IT environment, automatically.

Recently categorized by Gartner as "transformational," behavior learning technology powering predictive analytics is emerging as a key advancement in solving performance and visibility issues connected with virtualization management. While predictive analytics have been around for a few years, allowing enterprises to massively automate manual and rules based processes for physical environments, it was not until the advent of virtualization where analytics found its home and is proving to excel.  VMware's acquisition of Integrien puts an exclamation point on this and raises interesting questions about how the large, heterogeneous, multi-vendor enterprise will make the transition.  

Currently, companies such as CA, Microsoft, BMC, HP, and VMware, provide basic analytic capabilities, such as dynamic baselining, within their flagship solutions. Netuitive, a company with nine behavior learning patents, specializes in predictive analytics and a holistic performance management platform that sits on top of the enterprise IT infrastructure stack where it collects, analyzes and correlates data in real-time from all of the existing IT monitoring tools including those mentioned above. This enables automated end-to-end monitoring and management of complex infrastructures.

These new performance analytics platforms replace manual, rules-based approaches by automatically correlating and self-learning the behavior of the entire IT environment to identify, forecast and resolve IT problems before they impact quality of service. By taking this holistic approach, it provides coveted visibility across platforms and vendors that until now has been lacking. And because its learning is adaptive, this approach excels in dynamic, virtualized infrastructure environments.

This is what effective virtualization and cloud management is all about - achieving visibility across all layers of the IT stack, automated problem diagnostics and predictive analytics enabling organizations to manage their performance and capacity proactively.

Early adopters of behavior learning and predictive analytics are some of the largest production deployments of VMware in the world.  One global telco reported that it is using a behavior learning platform to analyze more than a million metrics simultaneously allowing it to eliminate 3,480 hours annually in service degradation representing a business savings of $18 million.

Through these new analytical approaches, the promise of the cloud is becoming reality. Since virtualization underpins most cloud solutions, the role and benefits of behavior learning and predictive analytics as the basis for performance management in the cloud are the same. But since the virtualized environment becomes even more dynamic, complex and real-time in the cloud, the benefits of IT analytics become even more dramatic.

Private cloud infrastructures are far more complex and difficult to manage than anything a data center manager could have envisioned even a few years ago. While the cloud may simplify service provisioning, the underlying infrastructure has many more interrelated, moving parts to oversee.  In such an environment, with optimized resources, there will be little room for error. In such a complex environment, it is inconceivable that you would continue to try to monitor performance of the IT infrastructure and applications via manual rules-based processes. This is where a performance management platform based on behavior learning technology leveraging advanced statistical analysis and predictive analytics becomes essential.

Also, in the near future, these predictive analytic approaches, combined with orchestration services will, for the first time, enable "Trusted Triggers," that automate dynamic resource provisioning and right-sizing of infrastructure -- what Gartner calls the "cloud service governor."  

The value of analytics providing the intelligence required for Trusted Triggers cannot be underestimated when deploying a virtualized "cloud" infrastructure. Automatic resource provisioning to maintain negotiated service level agreements requires accurate analysis and data. Today, this analysis is mostly manual and IT teams are spending most of their time analyzing their environments and making educated guesses before "pulling the trigger" leaving little time to architectural improvements. The promise of a mathematically proven method of automation delivers the necessary accuracy and liberates resources to perform more productive tasks.

We expect 2011 to be a breakout year for management in the cloud as predictive analytics for IT start to enable real-time performance and capacity management across silos, platforms and vendors.  CTOs will deliver more efficient cloud architectures.  CFOs will appreciate lower hardware costs and energy bills from "right-sized" infrastructures. And application owners will embrace rapid resource provisioning in minutes, not weeks.  All of it will be based on this new breed of performance management that will enable IT to begin realizing the true promise of the cloud.

About the Author

Since 2002, Nicola (Nick) Sanna has led Netuitive's growth and emergence as the leader in predictive analytics software for IT.  Powered by patented behavior learning technologies, Netuitive enables enterprises to proactively manage the performance and capacity of their IT infrastructures - physical, virtual and cloud.

Published Friday, December 17, 2010 5:05 AM by David Marshall
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