One of the great advances provided by virtualization is that a server ceases to become a monolithic combination of hardware and software that is brittle and difficult to manage. Instead a server is encapsulated into a virtual machine which can then be managed independently of its underlying hardware. Since every server is now a file and since files are much easier to manage than hardware/software servers, just putting servers into images was a huge step forward. But as is always the case in this industry where an innovation simply produces a new problem to solve, anointing the image as the unit of management for a server created some problems.
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In “VMware Articulates a Compelling Management Vision – Automated Service Assurance“, we gave credit to VMware for (finally) articulating why their management stack was going to be different and better than every management stack that we have known and hated in the physical world. That difference was that VMware was going to focus upon automated remediation of problems instead of “monitor, alert, and then fix manually”.