Recently I discussed Virtualizing Business Critical Applications and security, which includes availability, confidentiality, and integrity. However, that discussion was more about visibility into the environment for security operations. I purposely left off the discussion of gaining integrity and confidentiality of the data housed within those business critical applications.
Virtualizing business critical applications requires an operations management solution that is designed from the group up for a dynamic and shared data center. Virtualizing performance critical applications requires an infrastructure performance management solution that can monitor the end-to-end latency of the infrastructure in real time or near real time. As enterprises virtualize more than low hanging fruit, these solutions will become essential elements of the virtualization process.
The process of virtualizing business critical applications should start with using a modern APM tool to establish a response time and throughput baseline for the application while it is still on physical hardware. That baseline should then serve as the reference SLA once the application is virtualized. Performance needs to be defined as response time and throughput, not resource utilization.
Transaction rate, an average response time goal, and an allowable upper bound, combined with transaction rate will come to define performance and capacity. These new metrics will get monetized allowing applications owners to shop for price/performance curves across internal and external service providers on a rational and economic basis.
The ROI from virtualizing tactical applications is driving by the consolidation in the number of physical servers needed once tactical workloads are virtualized. However, when virtualizing Tier 1 or business critical applications, it is likely that significant consolidation in the number of cores per workload is not possible – leading to the requirement to find a new way to cost justify these projects.