With virtualization technology we, the system administrators, have a lot of tools available to make our day to day operation and administration of our environments easier to work with and speeds up the time it takes to do a lot of administration tasks. Take for example the ability we have to add resources to a virtual machine. You can add processors, memory and or increase disk space within a matter of minutes and very little downtime. On a physical host you would need to purchase the hardware first and wait for it to arrive and then schedule the downtime to add the resources to the machine. This speed and power can be both a blessing and a curse. Once application owners understand how easy it is to add resources to the virtual machines then comes the requests for additional resources any time the application owners think there is the slightest bit of need for any additional resources.
“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.
VMware, Citrix, EMC, NetApp and Intel have all reported strong earnings for Q1/2009. This suggests that virtualization is helping the technology sector lead the economy out of the recession. This trend should continue as economies improve worldwide and these vendors can start to chalk up global growth.
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.
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 storage vendors:
* Data Robotics where we were introduced to the new Drobo FS
* EMC where we discussed stretched storage and other interesting futures
* HP where we were introduced to the IBRIX products
Cloud Computing ...
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VMForce is going to get announced on April 27th. Could this be a brand new cloud based upon SpringSource tc Server as a Java based Platform as a Service play for Force.com applications? This would benefit VMware, SalesForce.com, and the Force.com developer community.
One thing I have learned in the time I have spent working in IT is that no software product, out of the box, will do everything that you want it to do. This especially goes for VMware’s vCenter Server. This is a great product but yet still has its shortcoming. vCenter will perform a lot of the tasks that we need to do and has the ability to report on a information we need to know about in our virtual environments but unfortunately not everything we need to know about can be easily found in bulk about multiple servers.
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VMware intends to in an 18 to 24 month period come out with a true management stack that addresses capacity management, infrastructure performance, applications performance (and service assurance), configuration management, lifecycle management, extended provisioning and wrap all of that into a service catalog that lets IT provide a menu of services that can then be automatically provisioning on a dynamic (or even a cloud based) virtual infrastructure.
Cloud Computing ...
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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.