The Virtualization Practice

Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing focuses upon how to construct, secure, manage, monitor and use public IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS clouds. Major areas of focus include barriers to cloud adoption, progress on the part of cloud vendors in removing those barriers, where the line of responsibility is drawn between the cloud vendor and the customer for each of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS clouds, ...
as well as the management tools that are essential to deploy in the cloud, ensure security in the cloud and ensure the performance of applications running in the cloud. Covered vendors include Amazon, VMware, AFORE, CloudSidekick, CloudPhysics, ElasticBox, Hotlink, New Relic, Prelert, Puppet Labs and Virtustream.

At its European Synergy conference in Barcelona last month Citrix announced a major update to the Citrix Labs skunk works project that was previously known as Project GoldenGate. Golden Gate was a technology demonstrator that was designed to show how to a common off the shelf application, in this case Microsoft Outlook, could be reworked as a mobile application. Why is this important?

As I was flying home recently, the gentleman beside me was talking about his need to do the “cloud thing” as a means to backup his data. He recently experienced a multi-retail shop backup failure where the local backup disk was corrupted and the backups failed to happen. I also experienced a backup failure, when my backup software was upgraded. In both cases, the backup software did not mail out, or alert the appropriate people of the failure. Even if the backups did work, the data was still corrupted. So the question is, how can cloud based backups help with either of these scenarios?

Virtualization and cloud computing have changed the requirements for management solutions in a way that no innovation in the history of our industry ever have. Previous innovations created new requirements, but did not break existing management approaches or business models. Virtualization breaks both the existing legacy approaches to managing applications and systems, and breaks how one must manage applications in this new environment. The revolution has only just started.

I am not sure how other people have learned their craft and mastered the technology they support, but for me, the learning started after the books ended. I have learned so much more from breaking something and having to find the fix than I ever did from reading a book. Back in the day around 2005, VMware released The VMTN Subscription. This was an amazing program that was something like the Microsoft MSDN subscription. These programs gave you the ability to run any of the core software packages for a year at a time for a subscription fee.

The need to virtualize every application, along with the need to support constantly arriving new and newly changed applications will drive the creation of an Application Operations function in the enterprise. This function will need to be supported and enabled by a new generation of APM tools that meet the new requirements of the Application Operations team.

The October conference schedule is now complete and it was a tough one but very rewarding. The events that happened in October were numerous and overlapping in some cases. Travel was one week here and the next week there, yet we managed to get through it. Of the mass of conferences, I attended two, IPexpo as a guest and The ExecEvent and Hacker Halted as a speaker. I discovered something very strange, virtualization and cloud security are merely after thoughts. I felt this should have changed by now, but alas this is not the case. Is it that our scope is incorrect, or is it that there is no Return on Investment on security tools, procedures, etc?

The Virtualization Practice was recently offline for two days, we thank you for coming back to us after this failure. The reason, a simple fibre cut that would have taken the proper people no more than 15 minutes to fix, but we were way down on the list due to the nature of the storm that hit New England and took 3M people off the grid. Even our backup mechanisms were out of power. While our datacenter had power, the rest of the area in our immediate vicinity did not. So not only were we isolated from reaching any clouds, but we were isolated from being reached from outside our own datacenter. The solution to such isolation is usually remote sites and location of services in other regions of a county, this gets relatively expensive for small and medium business, can the Hybrid Cloud help here?

As business critical applications move into production virtualized environments, the need arises to ensure their performance from a response time perspective. Legacy Applications Performance Management tools are not well suited to make the jump from static physical systems, to dynamic virtual and cloud based systems. For these reasons enterprises need to consider new tools from vendors that have virtualization aware and cloud aware features in their APM solutions. Vendors like AppDynamics, BlueStripe, Confio, dynatrace, ExtraHop, New Relic, Quest, VMTurbo and VMware (vFabric AppInsight) are currently leading this race to redefine the market for APM solutions.

Looking at the Entire VMware Operations and Application Management Strategy

VMware is clearly serious about extending its management reach into the application layer of the stack. New products like vFabric AppDirector, and vFabric APM make this into more than intention – they make VMware’s participation in these markets a reality as well. The move to remake the APM industry has thus far been lead by creative startups like New Relic, AppDynamics, BlueStripe, dynaTrace and ExtraHop. Now VMware has joined this effort will add considerable mass and velocity to the effort. The message is clear – it is time to instrument all of your applications for response time and the legacy APM vendors do not have the products that are up to the task.