Virtualization Management

Virtualization Management covers all aspects of managing a modern virtual or software defined data center. This includes managing across virtualization platforms and clouds, monitoring the performance and availability of the virtualization platforms (hypervisors) and the clouds, monitoring the capacity of the virtualization platforms and clouds, (Read More)

monitoring the performance of the applications running on these platforms and clouds, automatically provisioning these environments, securing these environments, and ensuring that the data in these environments is always protected and available.

Could the new vSphere vRAM Pricing Slow Down Virtualizing Business Critical Applications?

Watching VMware roll out vSphere was a bit surreal. VMware did a great job of explaining the mission of vSphere 5 (attack the next 60% – virtualize any application). VMware did a great job of positioning its cloud suite (vSphere 5 and all of the products announced along with it) as the suite of functionality needed to address that next 60% of un-virtualized workloads.  In fact all of the analyst briefings that occurred before the actual launch focused upon these two elements as did the first 90% of the launch. And then… Continue reading Could the new vSphere vRAM Pricing Slow Down Virtualizing Business Critical Applications?

vSphere 5 – Virtualize Business Critical Applications with Confidence

VMware’s vSphere team has done it again. The most important, and best systems software company on the planet is again announcing a major upgrade to its platform that once again raises the level of its came into a different orbit than the pretenders and the contenders. Continue reading vSphere 5 – Virtualize Business Critical Applications with Confidence

Countdown to Launch

Friday was the day that the last space shuttle will be launch in to space.  The shuttle Atlantis is on the launch pad and ready to go.  As I watched the clock countdown to zero, I found myself reflecting on the idea that this launch will be the very last space shuttle flight.  I grew up in Florida and have been able to walk outside and watch the shuttles, over the years, launch into space.  I have enjoyed watching the launches as well as feeling the sonic booms when the shuttle would fly overhead on the way to the runway for touchdown.  For me and many others, this launch signifies the end of an era and the start of something new. Continue reading Countdown to Launch

News: ExtraHop Releases Network Aware APM Virtual Appliance

ExtraHop is a “network aware APM” vendor that has historically focused on putting an appliance on a mirror or span port of a switch and then using deep packet inspection techniques and TCP/IP flow analysis techniques to understand the performance of applications running on the network from the perspective of the network.  Today, ExtraHop has announced the addition of a virtual appliance to its product line – allowing for the data collection appliance to be implemented entirely in software, and to us the virtual mirror port on the vSphere vSwitch to collect its data.

Adding a virtual appliance to the product line allows ExtraHop to accomplish two very important new things. The first is that conversations between VM’s on one host are now visible, and their response time can now be part of the picture of the response time of the entire application. But the second is far more important. Since ExtraHop can already measure the true performance (end-to-end response time) of every application on a physical TCP/IP network, adding the virtual appliance means that now ExtraHop can cover both the physical network (and applications that are not virtualized yet), as well as the virtual network (covering applications that are either completely or partially virtualized).

The New p2V Process

It is very clear that the difficulty of virtualizing business critical applications for many enterprises means that for business critical and performance critical applications the P2V process is either broken or completely fails to exist in a relevant manner. Measuring how much CPU and memory and application uses is a necessary but a completely insufficient step towards virtualizing a business critical application.

What is required to virtualize a business critical and performance critical application is a P2V process that is focused upon the performance of the application in the eyes of its owner and its owners. That means that performance is equal to response time, not resource utilization. This process must therefore start with building a response time and load profile of the application in its physical home, agreeing on the aspects of that profile that will be the basis of the SLA when that application gets virtualized, and then continuously updating that profile as the application gets virtualized.

Criteria for Application Performance Based P2V

With this announcement ExtraHop joins the fray for the set of solutions that are viable candidates for being the basis of an applications response time based P2V process. The criteria for selecting such a tool are:

  • Ability to measure response time for every application in the environment (or at the minimum all X86 applications that use TCP/IP).
  • Ability to automatically discover the applications in the environment and their topology
  • Ability to automatically measure response time for each application end-to-end and hop-by-hop
  • Measure response time on a continuous, real-time, and deterministic basis. This means no averages, no sampling of data, no synthetic transactions. It means seeing the response time for every transaction over the network, and being able to pass the slow ones up to the management system in real time.
  • The solution should work in the existing physical environment of the application, in the new virtual envionment of the application and any mixture of the two.
  • The diagnostics in such a solution should focus on providing pointers to where in the virtual and physical infrastructure the problem likely lies, as opposed to pointing to code issues which is what developer focused tools do.
Who to Pick From?

Other than ExtraHop there are two other solutions that are appropriate IT Operations oriented (as opposed to developer oriented) solutions. Those two solutions come from BlueStripe and AppFirst. All three of these solutions are profiled in an upcoming post about the use of these solutions in the context of the new capabilities of VMware vSphere 5.0.


ExtraHop has now made an important contribution to the question of how to measure applications performance across physical and virtual environments. Properly deployed ExtraHop can play a critical role in helping enterprises virtualize the 60% of the remaining applications that are “hard”, “performance critical”, and “business critical”. As vSphere 5.0 is right around the corner, the timing could not be better.

The full ExtraHop announcement is copied in below:

ExtraHop Creates Fastest Virtual Application Performance Management (APM) Solution with New EH1000v Appliance

ExtraHop’s New Virtual Appliance Provides Ideal APM Solution for Branch-Office Deployments and Virtual and Cloud Environments

July 10, 2011 – ExtraHop Networks, a leading provider of network-based application performance management (APM) solutions, today at Cisco Live announced its virtual appliance for APM, the EH1000v. The new appliance furthers ExtraHop’s commitment to building the fastest APM solutions available by providing real-time transaction analysis at up to 1Gbps speeds for applications running in virtual and cloud environments—more than 10 times faster than competing products. As a virtualized version of the company’s passive, network-based ExtraHop Application Delivery Assurance system, the EH1000v delivers a small-footprint solution for branch-office deployments and offers deep, end-to-end application visibility for virtualized environments.

The EH1000v virtual appliance lowers IT infrastructure requirements for monitoring network and application performance across geographically distributed environments. In line with Gartner’s prediction that 20 percent of companies will own no IT hardware assets by next year, the EH1000v eliminates the need to ship and install hardware for each geographic location. With more companies using virtualized systems in remote-office applications, the new virtual appliance from ExtraHop Networks will help these organizations deploy and remotely administer a powerful monitoring solution for branch-office deployments that also can monitor traffic within virtualized environments.

As they have increasingly virtualized their systems, many organizations have lost visibility into transactions passing between virtual machines on the same physical host, leading to a growing blind spot for heavily virtualized organizations. According to an InformationWeek survey, nearly 50 percent of companies using APM solutions run more than half of their applications in virtualized environments, creating a significant amount of traffic that enterprises cannot see on the network. The EH1000v can monitor traffic that passes only through virtual switches and restore deep visibility into applications running in such environments, even those with large traffic volumes among multiple virtual machines.
“While server virtualization offers many benefits such as flexibility, scalability, and lower cost, it also can limit visibility into virtualized environments,” said Jesse Rothstein, CEO and co-founder, ExtraHop Networks. “In these cases, the physical limitations of many APM solutions present obstacles to monitoring application performance. The EH1000v gives companies a small-footprint solution that helps them to get around these roadblocks and realize the benefits of virtual and cloud technologies without compromising application performance.”

About ExtraHop Networks

ExtraHop Networks is a leading provider of network-based application performance management (APM) solutions. The ExtraHop Application Delivery Assurance system performs the fastest and deepest analysis in the industry, achieving real-time transaction monitoring at speeds up to 10Gbps in a single appliance and application-level visibility with no agents, configuration, or overhead. The ExtraHop system quickly auto-discovers and auto-classifies applications and devices, delivering immediate value out of the box. ExtraHop Networks provides award-winning solutions to companies across a wide range of industries, including ecommerce, communications, and financial services. The privately held company was founded in 2007 by Jesse Rothstein and Raja Mukerji, engineering veterans from F5 Networks and architects of the BIG-IP v9 product.

Virtualization Performance Management and Misleading Averages

You teenager takes the car out for a drive. Your teenager does an hour of driving and comes back with an additional 30 miles on the odometer. Your teenager also comes back with a speeding ticket for doing 60 MPH in a 30 MPH zone. When confronted with this unacceptable behavior, your teenager responds that their average speed while driving the car was only 30 MPH and that the police officer was “unfair” for focusing only on the peak and not the average. You explain the obvious – that you only have to go 60 MPH in a 30 MPH zone for an instant to be guilty. Continue reading Virtualization Performance Management and Misleading Averages

News: VMTurbo Raises the Bar for Free vSphere Monitoring – Again

Back in May, VMTurbo broke some new ground in terms of what was available in terms of free vSphere monitoring tools, by making some right-sizing reports that were previously part of paid for capacity management and planning solutions available for free.  Now VMTurbo has built upon the earlier breakthrough by making a fully functional performance and capacity management solution that is not time limited nor limited to size of environment available in the form of the VMTurbo Community Edition (Download).

The What and the Why

VMTurbo, like any software company, is in business to make money. So of course there are paid for editions of the product. The table below shows the differences between the free edition (the Community Edition) and the two paid for versions.

The key thing to realize about VMTurbo is that unlike many vendors who simply collect vCenter data, store it, analyze it, dashboard it, report on it and alert on it, VMTurbo has some very unique technical capabilities (which of course they charge for in their paid products), that allow VMTurbo to make what is rapidly becoming “commodity” vSphere monitoring functionality available for free.

The secret sauce at VMTurbo is the ability to price (in virtual dollars) scarce resources, to allow you to assign budgets to workloads (applications running in VM’s), and to then either make recommendations or to automatically execute those recommendations. Strategically VMTurbo is therefore further down the path towards Service Assurance (the idea that the infrastructure adjusts automatically to ensure that the most critical applications perform as required) than any other vendor. The only thing missing from VMTurbo’s bag of tricks is a true view into applications performance (response time) which will doubtless be handled via partnerships with various APM vendors.

These unique capabilities (and the ability to charge for them in the paid products) allows VMTurbo to make baseline performance and capacity management for vSphere environments available for free.  This represents a significant redefinition of where the value is and where the value is not in the virtualization performance management business.