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.

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.

“What do you wish to monitor?”, is often my response when someone states they need to monitor the virtual environment. Monitoring however becomes much more of an issue when you enter the cloud. Some of my friends have businesses that use the cloud, specifically private IaaS clouds, but what should the cloud provider monitor and what should the tenant monitor has been a struggle and a debate when dealing with them.

Storage Networking – Time to TAP the SAN

Virtual Instruments new SANInsight TAP for the Fibre Channel SAN allows organizations to collect critical performance data on a real-time, deterministic and comprehensive basis. This will allow organizations to TAP all of their SAN ports in advance of SAN or storage array performance problems so that the foundation is in place to allow for rapid problem diagnosis and resolution.

Both Infrastructure Performance Management and Applications Performance Management vendors who are targeting the virtualization and cloud markets have realized that new and unique data is needed in order to performance manage these new environments and the applications that run on them. This is dramatic departure from the old physical world where most vendors simply relied upon the data that were provided via standard OS API’s to infer systems and applications performance.

GestaltIT Tech Field Day: Virtualization Line Up

I participated in GestaltIT’s TechFieldDay which is a sort of inverse conference, where the bloggers and independent analysts go to the vendors and then discuss the information they have received. We visited the following virtualization vendors:

* vKernel where we were introduced to their Predictive Capacity Planning tools
* EMC where we discussed integration of storage into the virtualization management tools as well as other hypervisor integrations
* Cisco where CVN and CVE were discussed in detail.

Depth vs. Breadth in Virtualization Performance Management

Enterprises who are going to support business critical and performance critical applications on a virtual infrastructure should at the minimum address two needs. The first is to get a true and complete picture of Infrastructure Performance based upon Infrastructure Response Time. The second is to put in place the tools required to monitor these applications in production.

Infrastructure Performance Management Heats Up

Infrastructure Performance Management is the single most important performance and capacity management issue that owners of a virtual environment need to address. The reason for this is that since the low hanging fruit has been virtualized, what is left is business critical and performance critical applications in the hands of applications owners and their business constituents. In order to convince these groups that the virtual infrastructure is performing acceptably in support of these important applications Operations groups in charge of virtual environments need to move beyond trying to infer infrastructure performance from resource utilization patterns.

VMware + Ionix Assets – Impact Upon the Virtualization Performance Market

Existing VMware offerings competed in the Resource and Availability Management space prior to the acquisition of the Ionix assets, and the acquisition has done nothing to change the fact that vendors in this space face strong competition from VMware (or certainly will do so once Hyperic is integrated and ships as a VMware product). Infrastructure Performance Management is the key category that IT Operations needs to focus upon to understand the performance of their virtual environment, and the acquisitions do not change the positions of Akorri, CA/NetQos, Virtual Instruments and Xangati in this space. Adding ADM to VMware’s assets in the APM space adds a significant capability, but at the end of the day does not yet put VMware in the position to be able to provide an APM solution across physical and potentially multiple virtual environments as can AppDynamics, BlueStripe, Coradiant, New Relic and OPNET.