Virtualizing business critical systems requires that a layer of virtualization management solutions be added to the virtualization platform. Virtualization management solutions in the areas of virtualization security, virtualization configuration management, virtualization service and capacity management, virtualization service and capacity management, virtualization provisioning and lifecycle management and backup and recovery should be added to the platform.
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Virtualization Security, Configuration Management, Service and Capacity Management, Provisioning and Lifecycle Management, and Backup/Recovery are essential functions that must be added to a virtualization platform when virtualizing business critical applications. VMware vSphere is clearly the market leading and most robust virtualization platform – and clearly the virtualization platform most suitable as the foundation of a virtualization system designed to support business critical applications. However, the virtualization platform must be complemented with third party solutions in these areas in order to create a system that can truly support business critical applications in an effective manner.
Cloud and hosting providers are aggressively investing in new Intel Xeon servers that can have as many as 32 cores per server (4 processors with 8 cores per server). Some of this investment is in response to current demand for actual capacity from customers. Some of it is investing ahead of the curve so that the cloud vendor is properly positioned when the demand arrives. The growth and the hype in the cloud is such that there is highly likely to be an overbuild of capacity at some point and then a crash and a period of consolidation – just as there was with ASP’s and the .com companies.
Business Agility ...
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The ROI from virtualizing tactical applications is driving by the consolidation in the number of physical servers needed once tactical workloads are virtualized. However, when virtualizing Tier 1 or business critical applications, it is likely that significant consolidation in the number of cores per workload is not possible – leading to the requirement to find a new way to cost justify these projects.
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With the release of vSphere 4.1, VMware has added to their Dynamic Resource Load Balancing (DRLB) suite of tools that I hinted at in my post on Dynamic Resource Load Balancing that I wrote last week as well as providing new memory over commit and other functionality. In essence, vSphere 4.1 is more than a point release, this update includes many features that aid in security, reliability, and is a direct response to customer requests.
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Microsoft is bringing its strongest assets – the installed base of its key products in the enterprise, and its library of commercial and custom built applications (and their associated developer communities) along with compelling new technologies like Server App-V to the virtualization and cloud fight. Leveraging Azure and App-V along with these existing enterprise assets makes Microsoft into a much more potentially formidable competitor to VMware than Microsoft is today based solely upon Hyper-V.
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Supporting Tier 1 applications on VMware vSphere requires real time and granular response time and latency instrumentation of the virtual and physical infrastructure. Virtual Instruments Virtual Wisdom complements the instrumentation provided by VMware by providing individual transaction level visibility into the SAN layer of the virtual infrastructure.
Cloud Computing ...
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VMware has already demonstrated a penchant for using open source technologies to fundamentally disrupt the value propositions for the products from competing vendors in the systems software and applications platform businesses. This has put the operating systems businesses at Microsoft and Red Hat, and the applications platform businesses at Microsoft, Red Hat, IBM and Oracle under pressure, by providing a cost effective and fully functional alternative to the traditional licensed software models of these companies. It is entirely possible that VMware will pursue the same approach in the management software industry thereby disrupting the business models and product positions of CA, IBM/Tivoli, HP, BMC as well as many of the vendors currently in the VMware ecosystem.
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Systems Management Frameworks have provided an indispensable function to enterprises with large and business critical networks and data centers. However, frameworks have become a category of expensive and slow to innovate legacy software leading many enterprises to conclude that they must move beyond these products in order to properly monitor their newest environments including those that are based on virtualization and public clouds. New virtualization and cloud focused tools are providing support for these environments that is not present in legacy management frameworks. Self-learning analytics may replace the frameworks as the “manager of managers” or new frameworks may emerge out of the open source movement.
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