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.

Systems Management Frameworks have provided an indispensable function to enterprises with large and business critical networks and data centers. However, frameworks have become a category of expensive and slow to innovate legacy software leading many enterprises to conclude that they must move beyond these products in order to properly monitor their newest environments including those that are based on virtualization and public clouds. New virtualization and cloud focused tools are providing support for these environments that is not present in legacy management frameworks. Self-learning analytics may replace the frameworks as the “manager of managers” or new frameworks may emerge out of the open source movement.

Virtualizing tier 1 business critical and performance critical applications will require that the virtualization team be able to provide assurances about infrastructure performance and applications performance to the applications teams and their constituents. This is a dauntingly complex requirement to meet due to the fact that meeting it requires the integration of tools that are not integrated today, and that virtualization adds risk to the equation due to the dynamic behavior of virtualized systems.

Is the CMDB Irrelevant in a Virtual and Cloud Based World?

The CMDB’s that were designed and architected for static physical systems appear to be unwieldy, too difficult to keep up to date, and not real-time enough to make the transition into the virtualized and cloud based world. Virtualized environment change too fast for existing CMDB’s to keep up, and the notion of keeping a CMDB up to date as assets are moved into and out of public clouds seems hopelessly beyond the intended original use case of a CMDB. A new category of datastore is needed that will address the needs of virtualized and cloud based environments, while incorporating performance information with configuration information.

Java based applications can now be moved between not only a SpringSource TC-Server Java platform on VMware vSphere, but also between the same platform on VMForce, and now Google AppEngine. This level of support from VMware, Salesforce.com, and now Google is starting to make SpringSource look like the early leading technology for PaaS Clouds. This is a significant advance in the state of PaaS clouds as there were previously no examples that offered such broad support for one platform by such a diverse set of industry leaders. However as is always the case, platform advances have outstripped security, management and performance assurance capabilities.

CA Technologies (CAT) has announced three new virtualization management and performance offerings. This is the first example of a “big 4″ enterprise systems management vendor getting serious about providing virtualization and cloud focused solutions. This will be very reasuring for CAT customers and may will accelerate stalled virtualization projects.

Virtualizing Tier 1 business critical applications is a challenge for many enterprises due to the resistance to the concept on the part of applications owners and their constituents. Service Assurance for these applications is required in order for their owners and their users to go along with virtualization. Service Assurance requires the integration of Applications Performance Management, Configuration Management and a new category of solutions like VMTurbo to dynamically allocate resources based upon their highest and best use.

VMware will offer enterprises a very inexpensive Java run time platform that is tuned to virtualization, that facilitates very rapid deployment of Java applications into a virtualized environment, and that offers applications portability between VMware TC-Server run time environments and Java PAAS clouds like VMforce. This may well prove to be an irresistible combination to enterprises that are used to paying millions of dollars to Oracle and IBM for an equivalent platform that is harder to manage.

A new Applications Performance Management opportunity has arisen driving by virtualization, the cloud, scaled out deployment architectures, lower cost open source middleware, and agile development techniques. AppDynamics has raised an $11M series B round to address this opportunity. New Relic is the current market leader. BlueStripe and VMware with AppSpeed are also targeting this space.