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.
One of the biggest things I took away from the VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas was the all advancements within the storage part of virtualization. For me, this was the year for storage. One product that really got my attention was the new NAS appliance, VMstore from Tintri. This 3U appliance, well 5U if you count the UPC, is a single datastore with 8.5TB of usable storage. This appliance was a collaboration of some very smart individuals from different companies like VMware, Datadomain, NetApp and Sun. They put their minds together and built this NFS appliance from the ground up with specially engineered file system to work with virtualization. What makes this VM-aware appliance different from other typical storage designs is VMstore uses VM’s and virtual disks as the abstractions instead of the conventional storage abstractions, volumes, LUN’s and files that we have all been accustomed to. Each I/O request will map directly to a virtual disk all while VMstore monitors, controls the I/O and presents disk performance statistics per VM or per VMDK.
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With vFabric APM VMware has announced a compelling entry into the APM space, joining the current set of APM innovators – New Relic, AppDynamics, BlueStripe, dynaTrace and ExtraHop. The innovations that VMware is bringing to the table will usher in a redefinition of what APM is, from a performance and availability tool for the development team, to a strategic applications management platform that enables price/performance comparison shopping by application owners. Once the price/performance features are fully implemented, this may do more to enable performance sensitive applications to move to public clouds than any other thing that VMware has done.
Nimbula is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) software stack analogous in its target market and its business model to commercial software like vCloud. It sits alongside a number of open source software products like Eucalyptus, Cloud.com (Citrix) and OpenStac k(Rackspace et al.) as well as the Amazon Web Service, and other hosted services.
I have had the opportunity to perform a few VMware Capacity Planner assessments over the years and I have been, more the most part, pretty happy with the process and the results of the reports. The assessment is really pretty straight forward. We had physical servers to the project, making sure we have proper permissions to perform all the tasks and then let the process run over an extended period of time. For the most part, this way of sampling over an extended time frame will give you a very good idea what can be virtualized and the number of hosts that will be needed.
Less than 5% of the applications that matter to enterprises world wide are under management by an APM solution that can help ensure application response time, application availability and the integrity of the critical transactions within the application. This is because first generation APM solutions have been too expensive to purchase, too limited in their scope and too expensive to configure, maintain and own.
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This month (October 2011) there are a slew of conferences on virtualization and cloud technologies being held in Europe. The question becomes which to attend! If you are in the United States, this could be expensive considering the current Euro to Dollar exchange rate but if you are already in Europe one of these events is well worth attending, each has there own take and focus. But after the success of VMworld US, is there anything more to announce?
Whether you are building a new or adding to an existing virtual or cloud environment on a shoestring budget, whether for work or for home use, there is quite a bit to consider before you purchase anything and it all boils down to your requirements which will dictate the technology you need for your virtual environment. In addition, this is a perfect time to address any deficiencies in your environment to not only address capacity issues, requirements, and security. Along with those considerations, planning the environment for the next three to five years can help shape the overall design. In fact that design, will be based on the answers from a growing list of questions.
The focus upon sharing real response time and transaction load data by SalesForce.com is notable when compared with the pre-historic approach to performance that is used by many cloud vendors (and for a matter of fact many enterprise IT organizations). Response Time correlates directly to end user experience and at the end of the day that is all that matters. Hopefully the industry will learn from SalesForce.com and advance this concept further.