The Virtualization Practice

Performance Management

Performance Management covers monitoring the physical infrastructure, the virtual infrastructure and applications for end-to-end performance and service levels. It covers Application Performance Management, Infrastructure Performance Management, Operations Management, Capacity Planning, and Capacity Management. ...
Environments covered include Virtualization Performance Management, Software Defined Data Center Performance Management, and Cloud Performance Management. Key issues include ensuring the performance of virtualized and cloud based data centers, ensuring the performance of software defined data centers (SDDC performance management), ensuring virtualized application performance, cloud application performance, and SDDC application performance. Key vendors covered include VMware, AppDynamics, AppEnsure, AppFirst, AppNeta, Astute Networks, Aternity, BlueStripe, Boundary, Cirba, CloudPhysics, Correlsense, Compuware, Dell, Embotics, ExtraHop, GigaMon, Hotlink, HP, Intigua, ManageEngine, New Relic, Prelert, Puppet Labs, Riverbed, Splunk, Tintri, Virtual Instruments, Virtustream, VMTurbo, Xangati, and Zenoss.

If you are going to try to virtualize performance critical applications in 2012, you should arm yourself with a tool that can measure how those applications perform in the eyes of their end users – which is their end-to-end response time. The approach you take should be a function of the mix of applications you have to support – including whether they are purchased or custom developed and if custom developed with what language or framework.

VMware is going to make progress on its automated service assurance vision this year, with initial steps coming in the Q1/2012 version of vCenter Operations and the initial release of vFabric APM. On the third party vendor front, progress is most likely to come by partnerships between vendors who have interesting pieces of the puzzle, but do not have the entire puzzle themselves. On this front the most interesting vendors are Netuitive, Prelert, Blue Stripe, ExtrHop Networks, and VMTurbo. The wild card in this equation is how service assurance will fit with cloud management and offerings from vendors like DynamicOps, Abiquo, Platform Computing and Gale Technologies.

The 2012 Cloud Management Challenge

Private cloud management offerings are today very well suited to create and manage self-service scenarios for workloads that are either transient, or that require significant scaling of resources during the daily or weekly cycle of business activity. Private cloud management offerings are today not well suited to be the management solution through which all future workloads get provisioned an managed – but must become so, so as to participate in the further progress of virtualization. The best way for private cloud solutions to leverage the further progress of virtualization, is to help drive it- by helping to drive the concept of automated service assurance for business critical applications.

While the legacy enterprise management vendors might like to think of themselves as the Borg (prepare to be assimilated – there is no escape), the new technical requirements and the new buying patterns in the virtualization market do not lend themselves to a repeat of history. Legacy management vendors are unlikely to be able to acquire themselves into this market because their core platforms and business models do not work with the customers who are running virtualized environments and buying management solutions. So to my good friend Andi Mann, I respectfully disagree.

2011 Winners and Losers in Virtualization Management

The management ecosystem for virtualization started to transform significantly in 2011, driven by VMware’s new management strategy and management offerings. The big four are now boxed into an untenable position with expensive software that is hard to buy and hard to deploy. In 2012 there will be aggressive partnering in the ecosystem as vendors try to compete with the VMware suite by integrating with other vendors who have adjacent functionality.

VMware has had a great 2011. Product execution was excellent on all fronts except for VMware View where there are also larger strategy issues afoot. VMware is and likely will remain next year not only the most important, but the best system software vendor on the planet. We can only look forward to continued progress with vSphere, the management offerings, and the applications platform offerings.

Toward Converged Virtualization Management Suites

VMware has articulated and is starting to deliver on a compelling strategy of Automated Operations for its virtualization and cloud platforms. This will precipitate profound changes in the vendor ecosystem as third party vendors partner up and acquire in order to come up with the same depth of functionality that VMware is offering, but on a broader set of platforms (Quest buying VKernel is just the start of this process).

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.