In the past, virtualization architects and administrators were told the best way forward is to buy as much fast memory as they could afford as well as standardize on one set of boxes with as many CPUs as they dare use. With vRAM Pool licensing this type of open-ended RAM architecture will change as now I have to consider vRAM pools when I architect new cloud and virtual environments. So let’s look at this from existing virtual environments and then onto new virtual and cloud environments. How much a change will this be to how I architect things today, and how much of a change is there to my existing virtual environments? Is it a better decision to stay at vSphere 4? Or to switch hypervisors entirely?
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As a delegate for Tech Field Day 6 in Boston, I was introduced to many third party management tools. In the past I have been given briefings as well on various VMware, Hyper-V, and Citrix Xen Management Tools as well. Many of these tools are marketed directly for use by the administrator, but they have the tools can be used by more than the administrator. These tools should be marketed to management, administrators, as well as the network operations center (NOC). We need tools that perform continual monitoring and auditing so that we can know as soon as possible when a problem occurs.
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As a delegate for Tech Field Day 6 in Boston, I was introduced to several virtualization and performance management tools from vKernel, NetApp, Solarwinds, Embotics, and a company still in stealth mode. With all these tools and products I noticed that each were not integrated into the roles and permissions of the underlying hypervisor management servers such as VMware vCenter, Citrix XenConsole, or Microsoft System Center. This lack of integration implies that a user with one set of authorizations just needs to switch tools to gain a greater or even lesser set of authorizations. This is not a good security posture and in fact could devolve any security to non-existent.
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The right approach to monitoring a virtual or cloud based environment is to start with a clean sheet of paper, determine your requirements, and assemble a horizontally layered solution out of best of class vendor solutions that address each layer. Vendors should be evaluated on their mastery of one or more layers, their ability to keep up with the change in that layer, and their ability to integrate with adjacent layers.
SolarWinds is betting that due to the size of its existing administrator community (the over 1M users of its free tools, and the 97,000 paying customers) that it can cost effectively reach the admin’s at the 225,000 VMware customers that are being under-served by the vendors targeting larger customers and larger VMware environments.
Cloud Performance Management needs to evolve and allow cloud vendors to provide their customers a customer specific Infrastructure Response Time metric. This in conjunction with cloud aware Applications Performance Management solutions is needed in order for customers to feel comfortable putting business critical applications in the cloud.