Articles Tagged with Infrastructure Performance Management

VMware’s Systems Management Strategy – VMworld Update

For quite some time VMware has been letting it known that it intends to be a management software vendor on top of its own virtualization platform. In fact VMware has already taken a series of steps that prove that management is not just an intention, but will be a strategy fulfilled with product deliveries. These actions include buying B-hive and delivering the resulting AppSpeed product, buying the four management products from EMC/Ionix which resulted in Configuration Manager, Application Discovery Manager, and Service Manager (Fastscale seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle), developing and delivering CapacityIQ, buying SpringSource with which came Hyperic and integrating it into vCenter, and delivering Chargeback.

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Akorri and Xangati Raise the Infrastructure Performance Management Bar

When discussing Virtualization Performance Management, we separate the vendors that focus upon this area in to three groups:

  • Resource and Availability Management – this group of vendors focuses upon collecting the resource utilization metrics that are made available by the virtualization platform vendors for the purposes of capacity planning, capacity management, and ensuring the overall availability of the environment. Leaders in this category include Vizioncore (vFoglight), Veeam (Veeam Monitor), VMware (Hyperic), Hyper9, Netuitive, and Zenoss.

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

Configuration Management Databases (CMDB’s) have been a linchpin of the offerings from the enterprise systems management vendors like CA, IBM, BMC and HP. These products have been marketed as the foundation of both the ITIL framework for management processes, and the Business Service Management frameworks offered by these vendors. While these offerings occupy very important parts of the product strategies from the various vendors who offer them, it is also the case that CMDB’s are enormously expensive to purchase and implement – and due to the time required to implement them have a long time to value for the customer. For these reasons, relatively few enterprise customers have implemented CMDB’s.

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Virtualization Performance Management – A Focus Upon the Data

Prior to virtualization, there were a few relatively straightforward ways in which data about the performance of systems and applications was collected. Virtualization has introduced the need for new sources of data, and new methods of collecting that data. The reasons that new types of data and new methods of data collection are necessary in virtualized environments are:

  • Data collected by agents running in VM’s can become corrupted by what is known as the “Timekeeping Problem. VMware maintains an excellent White Paper on this subject which explains the reasons for this issue and its impacts. The bottom line is that time based metrics collected by agents (with agents built into the OS like the one in Windows that provides the Perfmon and WMI data or ones from third party monitoring companies) can get randomly corrupted by the virtualization process. Time based metric include CPU utilization, disk I/O rates, network I/O rates, page fault rates and context switch rates. Prior to virtualization these metrics were used in many products to infer the performance of the infrastructure. Once servers and networks are virtualized, this method if inferring infrastructure performance no longer works.
  • The dynamic nature of the virtual environment requires that additional data be collected, and that performance metrics be kept up to date in close to real time. The most important piece of additional data that is needed is a map of the infrastructure, and a map of each application system. Since VM’s can move around, both the topology of the infrastructure and the topology of applications can change. The rate of change in the infrastructure requires that performance data be collected much more frequently than the 5 minute and 15 minute intervals that were prevalent in the physical world.

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