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Virtualization and Beyond: Managing Applications in the Increasingly Complex Virtual and Hybrid World

Virtualization and Beyond

Welcome to Virtualization and Beyond

Managing Applications in the Increasingly Complex Virtual and Hybrid World

Written by Steven Hunt, Sr. Product Manager and Strategist, SolarWinds

If you're reading this, there's a good chance your IT department is using some combination of virtualization products and cloud services from the likes of VMware, Microsoft and Amazon. For example, some of what was virtualized in your on-premises VMware environment may now be now running on Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines. Or perhaps one of your web servers is now hosted with Amazon, leveraging multiple services, such as Simple Storage Service and Lambda. My point is that in today's IT, not everything is in one place and deployed in a single way.

This is the world that you, as an IT professional, and, more importantly, your applications now live in.

We haven't gotten here by accident-there are tangible benefits to this new hybrid IT reality. And in fact, this new reality is increasingly necessary to support the complex applications of today. However, the mainstream adoption of virtualization and the cloud has also itself brought with it a new level of complexity when it comes to managing application performance. It's more difficult than ever to pinpoint problems that may arise before they become systemic and inflict widespread disruption on end-users. However, many of the same principles, if slightly amended, still apply.

Let's explore this further.

Visibility into application performance is IT 101. Yes, gaining such visibility has traditionally been very difficult if you have application services hosted in a distributed model like a public cloud environment, and yes, this is compounded if your end users are also geographically disburse, but it's not impossible. The trick is to shift your focus slightly to center on understanding application performance from the end-user's perspective. It's also become more important that you're able to know exactly where the application service they're using is being provided from.

Once you have this end-user-centric understanding of the performance of your virtualized or cloud-hosted applications, you need to make sure that the application itself is behaving properly. Again, with the complexity of applications and the possibility of them being abstracted in a virtual environment or hosted across multiple cloud services, there are a lot of places where things could go wrong. Simply knowing that an application is executing as expected is a big part of the puzzle.

Along with an end-user-centric understanding of performance and application execution itself, the performance of the environment running an application needs to be known. From the operating system's metrics to all of the infrastructure that supports it, comprehensive insight into the complete application stack is needed. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that just because an application is hosted in the public cloud, you have any less responsibility and therefore any less need to have a deep understanding of the performance and availability of the associated services, especially for business critical applications.

In summary, no matter where an application is hosted, whether if still in your datacenter, albeit probably further abstracted by new virtualization technologies, or hosted across multiple public cloud services, many of the same principles apply to identifying where the problems exist. At the end of the day, what's new is simply the number of things you need to keep a pulse on to ensure your end-users don't have reason to complain.

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Read more articles from the Virtualization and Beyond Series.   

About the Author

Steven Hunt has been involved in the IT industry for more than a decade, focusing on server-based computing, desktop virtualization, end user computing, and server virtualization solutions for SMB to enterprise environments. Currently, he is responsible for product strategy for server and application monitoring and virtualization management at SolarWinds.

Published Tuesday, January 10, 2017 7:05 AM by David Marshall
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