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.

I saw a question get posted on twitter that kind of intrigues me a little. The question was pretty straight forward. “How many virtual machines should I be able to run on a host?” That is really a fair question in itself but what I find intriguing is that this is the first question he asks. Is this really the first thing administrators think to ask when designing their environment? After all there is no set formula on how many virtual machines you can run on a host. You can be a little more exact when working with VDI because for the most part all the virtual machines would be set up pretty much the same way and the numbers can be a little more predictable. That would not be the case when working with server virtualization. You are going to have servers all with different configurations and amount of resources provisioned to the virtual machines. This variation is what will change your slot count and the amount of virtual machines you can run on the host.

Buying the Managed Objects assets of Novell would give VMware a credible entry into the Business Service Management realm with product assets that could compete head to head with those from CA, IBM, HP and BMC – especially on the VMware platform. However there were significant issues with BSM as implemented by all of these vendors, and acquiring a BSM product set would not in an of itself address those all of those (Integrien helps with root cause) issues. The real answer here remains a virtualization and cloud competent performance assurance capability which should be attainable without recreating the baggage of BSM.

VMware’s 5 Businesses and the “New Stack”

VMware dominates the enterprise virtualization platform business with vSphere, and is poised to create a vSphere compatible public cloud ecosystem around vCloud. Layering Management software on top of these platforms is a logical progression up the value stack, as is layering an applications platform (vFabric) on top of vSphere and vCloud. VMware’s end user computing strategy seems to be too tied to VDI to be able to break out of the fundamental limitations associated with this approach, and will likely leave the larger question of how to manage the next generation desktop to the previously mentioned startups and perhaps Symantec.

Self-learning performance management solutions like Integrien and Netuitive are going to be absolutely an essential part of the migration to dynamic data centers and IT as a Service. Once these dynamic data centers scale out to the thousands of applications in a typical enterprise, and scale up to address the most performance critical applications, the rate of change in the environment will be too high for legacy tools and manual administration to be able to keep. up. These automated self-learning approaches will be the only way in which IT Operations will be able to stay on top of these new environments while staying within staffing and budget constraints.

VMware’s Systems Management Strategy – VMworld Update

While VMware has articulated the need for a management strategy and has provided some building blocks for its management stack, there are currently and will be for the near term future significant gaps in the VMware management offerings even when the domain of the problem is constrained to the management of the VMware platform. Once the domain is expanded to include the physical infrastructure which underlies the virtualization platform, and once it is again expanded to include multiple virtualization platforms the use case is outside of what VMware intends to provide. For these reasons, third party solutions should be considered for each component of the diagram above when evaluating solutions from VMware.

There are some applications that are “never” going to go into a public cloud and the monitoring of those applications is not going to be done on a MaaS basis either. However, the ease with which these solutions can be purchased, initially deployed and then managed on an ongoing basis means that for applications that fit into a public cloud deployment scenario (you can live with the security and performance issues of the public cloud), MaaS is a very viable option for the monitoring of these applications and may represent the future of monitoring just as Cloud Computing may represent the future of computing.

Virtualization Performance and Capacity Management spans Configuration Management, Resource and Availability Management, Infrastructure Performance Management, Applications Performance Management, and Service Assurance. A broad range of solutions in these areas exist from third party vendors as well as from virtualization platform vendors like VMware. Correctly choosing these solutions is essential for organizations that wish to virtualize business critical applications and guarantee the performance of both the virtual infrastructure and the applications.