The Virtualization Practice

Author Archive for Bernd Harzog

Bernd Harzog
Bernd HarzogBernd Harzog is the Analyst at The Virtualization Practice for Performance and Capacity Management and IT as a Service (Private Cloud). Bernd is also the CEO and founder of APM Experts a company that provides strategic marketing services to vendors in the virtualization performance management, and application performance management markets. Prior to these two companies, Bernd was the CEO of RTO Software, the VP Products at Netuitive, a General Manager at Xcellenet, and Research Director for Systems Software at Gartner Group. Bernd has an MBA in Marketing from the University of Chicago.

If synthetic transactions are dead as an approach for determining availability and performance from the perspective of the end users of an application then something has to take their place. The two candidates are approaches that analyse data on the IP network, and client side agents. Both will likely rise in prominence as more applications become more dynamic.

Monitoring the performance of the infrastructure, applications and services in IT as a Service environments will require that monitoring solutions become multi-tenant, can be instantiated by ITaaS management tools without any further configuration, and that they automatically “find” their back end management systems through whatever firewalls may be in place. These requirements will probably be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for the heavyweight complex legacy tools that were in place prior to to the onset of virtualization, the public cloud and now IT as a Service. ITaaS is the tipping point that should cause most enterprises ignore every monitoring tool that they have bought in the past and to start over with a clean sheet of paper.

The acquisition of Akorri by NetApp demonstrates the importance of Infrastructure Performance Management solutions as virtualization progresses into the realm of business critical applications, and as public clouds hope to do the same. However rather than signaling a “game over” this acquisition really raises both the visibility and the importance of both the problems that Akorri solved, and the true end-to-end problems that remain.

Given that vSphere provides significant benefits in terms of cost savings and business agility, those benefits are tied to and constrained by the ability of vSphere to provide backward compatibility with existing legacy enterprise systems. This backward compatibility makes it impossible for vSphere to provide infinite horizontal scalability. Moving to the same architecture as the most highly scaled out public cloud vendors provides for a more radical set of benefits, but at the cost of breaking backward compatibility for many applications.

Net Neutrality and the Cloud

Cloud Computing will rely upon adequate Internet bandwidth being available to ensure that users of cloud computing services have an acceptable end user experience, and that providers of these services can promise that acceptable experience to their customers. The Internet needs a funding model that ensures that the right capacity is available to the applications (cloud services) that need it. We face a choice as to whether or not FCC regulation will help or hurt the progress towards the correct funding (and ultimately payment for Internet services model). Choosing incorrectly may severely inhibit the growth of Cloud Computing services due to confusion over bandwidth and pricing decisions.

IT as a Service Reference Architecture

Implementing IT as a Service requires a virtualization platform, and virtualization aware configuration and change management, secure multi-tenancy, provisioning and lifecycle management, orchestration and automation, and service catalog. These capabilities are available from VMware, DynamicOps, Embotics, Eucaplyptus, ManageIQ, newScale, Quest, rPath and Reflex Systems.

The acquisition of Cloudlick by Rackspace points out the need for IaaS cloud vendors to get serious about offering an Infrastructure Performance Management solution to their customers – but fails to deliver such a solution to the customers of Rackspace. Cloud customers should focus upon finding true cloud ready Infrastructure Performance Management and Applications Performance Management solutions as a part of putting performance critical applications in public clouds.

The question of whether and how to replace DRS is really a part of the question of what is in the virtualization platform and what is not. Clearly the virtualization platform consists of much more than the hypervisor. VMware would like to define the virtualization platform as all of vSphere Enterprise Plus, and then suggest that vCloud Director and its own performance management solutions are logical extensions of that platform. Enterprises need to be careful about where they draw their own lines in this regard. As VMware is a clear market leader both in terms of product functionality and enterprise installations, VMware needs to be given full credit for the quality of vSphere and its success. However full credit does not need to imply that one is 100% locked in to VMware solution as there is room to pursue third party IT as a Service, Performance Management, and Service Assurance strategies as well as replace/augment components in vSphere.

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