The Virtualization Practice

Virtualization Management

Virtualization Management covers all aspects of managing a modern virtual or software defined data center. This includes managing across virtualization platforms and clouds, monitoring the performance and availability of the virtualization platforms (hypervisors) and the clouds, monitoring the capacity of the virtualization platforms and clouds, ...
monitoring the performance of the applications running on these platforms and clouds, automatically provisioning these environments, securing these environments, and ensuring that the data in these environments is always protected and available.

The Freemium sales model is a business model innovation best suited to inexpensive products that are very easily understood (and therefore not very new or very different) and that solve an obvious problem in a manner that is more convenient for the customer to acquire and implement. There are not many new virtualization and cloud technology companies who set out to produce undifferentiated products which suggests that a general application of the Freemium model to startups in our ecosystem is ill advised. Enterprise customers should pay great attention to products that are being marketing in this manner to ensure that they do not end up growing the use of something that was purchased in a tactical manner into a strategic use case.

If we are going to start over, why not really start over and reinvent the entire infrastructure and management software industries in the process. That way we end up with an infrastructure that was actually designed for the dynamic, agile, and scalable use cases that we are trying to address with a green field approach, and an appropriate set of management tools as well. Is this going to happen? You can bet that there are already VC funded startups in stealth mode working on it.

One thing I noticed while attending this year’s VMworld in San Francisco was how many people attending the event had iPads. Actually, it was the hottest item being given away by almost all the vendors in attendance at the show. I was lucky enough to get one of the iPads that EMC was giving away. I recently heard that the iPad is the hottest selling tech item in history so far. During VMworld I got a chance to see the VMware iPad application to control your virtual environment and was really impressed. I really think the iPad might have a chance to become the tool of choice for the IT admins to monitor and administrate their environment. I am hoping that by VMworld 2011 we will be seeing a lot more client applications written and ported to the iPad and/or other mobile devices.

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.

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.