VMware is going to make progress on its automated service assurance vision this year, with initial steps coming in the Q1/2012 version of vCenter Operations and the initial release of vFabric APM. On the third party vendor front, progress is most likely to come by partnerships between vendors who have interesting pieces of the puzzle, but do not have the entire puzzle themselves. On this front the most interesting vendors are Netuitive, Prelert, Blue Stripe, ExtrHop Networks, and VMTurbo. The wild card in this equation is how service assurance will fit with cloud management and offerings from vendors like DynamicOps, Abiquo, Platform Computing and Gale Technologies.
VMware has combined resource monitoring, capacity management, configuration management, with the self-learning analytics that came from Integrien into vCenter Operations – creating an attractive bundle of functionality for the management of the performance and capacity of vSphere environments.
It is also interesting to speculate what long term role the Hyperformix statistical modelling technology will play in CA performance management and performance assurance products. VMware has puts its stake in the ground via the acquisition of Integrien that only a real time and self-learning approach will be able to keep up with variability inherent in a virtualized or cloud based system in order to provide effective root cause analysis. It is possible that over time this modelling technology will evolve into a real time self learning performance management capability analogous to what is p; provided by VMware/Integrien and Netuitive. If this occurs this will mean that CA will be the first and only one of the big four systems management vendors with an effective root cause strategy for the new dynamic data center.
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.
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.
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.