As a follow-up to our initial Dev in the Cloud series installment on continuous integration, today we’ll explore Code Management (CM) and the cloud’s impact on this core tenant of agile development. After briefly explaining CM fundamentals and relationship with agile development, we’ll identify the primary benefits and concerns associated with migrating CM to the cloud. We’ll also highlight the marketplace for the growing number of cloud CM products including recommendations for those evaluating cloud CM. Continue reading Code Management in the Cloud
VMworld 2012 is upon us and one of our tasks is to figure out which vendor’s booths to go see. With over 230 booths to choose from this is a daunting task. If you are interested in finding creative new solutions to your management, monitoring, deployment, security, data protection, and desktop management problems, this list will help you.
Virtualization Management Categories Defined
Here are the definitions of the eight virtualization management categories profiled below:
- Application Performance Management (APM) – APM is about the end-to-end and hop-by-hop (across application tiers) measurement of response time and the diagnostics required to pinpoint degradations in response time (or flat out failed transactions) in the applications themselves or in the supporting infrastructure. APM tools come in two varieties. Developer focused tools help developers (or DevOps teams) support custom developed applications in production by quickly identifying and diagnosing application code problems in production. Operations focused tools support every application in the environment (custom developed and purchased), and focus their diagnostics more on infrastructure issues that are impacting application performance.
- Operations Management – Operations Management is a broad category of products that are used to support the day-to-day performance, capacity and configuration management tasks that face virtualization administrators. While all of these products support vSphere, some support other hypervisors as well.
- Infrastructure Performance Management – IPM is APM for the infrastructure. It is all about the end-to-end and hop-by-hop latency of the infrastructure in support of the workloads running on the infrastructure. The thesis of this category is that in a virtual environment you cannot infer the performance of the infrastructure from resource utilization metrics, you have to measure it directly and continuously.
- Automated Server and Image Management – This category has come into its own this year. The focus is upon allowing you to automatically manage what runs on your servers (physical, virtual or cloud), update them at scale, and keep them consistent. Think of this category as BladeLogic Version 2.0.
- Cloud Management – Cloud Management is about building clouds on your vSphere infrastructure, and extending those clouds to other hypervisors, as well as to public cloud infrastructures.
- Virtualization Security – Virtualization Security is about protecting the infrastructure, the systems software, the middleware, the applications, and all data from unauthorized use or attacks.
- Virtualization Backup and Data Protection – Backup and Data Protection ensure that your data is always available for you (and no on else), irrespective of what failures or disasters have occurred in or to your IT environment.
- Desktop Virtualization – Desktop Virtualization is about using virtualization as a catalyst to combine the benefits of user flexibility and centralized management.
Your VMworld 2012 Short List
We wish you safe travels to and from VMworld 2012 and a great show. The one certainty is that the virtualization and cloud landscapes will be different after VMware and all of the vendors in the ecosystem make their announcements next week. VMware’s new Software Defined Data Center strategy is going to usher in a set of changes as profound as those precipitated by virtualization itself – and that entire journey lies in front of us.
Today, Splunk has announced the general availability of the Splunk App for VMware. Splunk and Cloudshare have also announced that they will be presenting a session at VMworld, “How a Cloud Computing Provider Reached the Holy Grail of Visibility” which will take place Wednesday, Aug. 29 from 4 – 5 p.m. (PT). This session will highlight one of the key new features of the new Spunk App for VMware – the ability to collect cross tier and cross silo data, and demonstrates an important shift in Splunk’s strategy.
The Old Splunk – Log Analysis
Splunk made its name by popularizing and making easily accessible analysis of logs from a variety of sources. By indexing those logs on the basis of their time stamp and other identifiable information, it was possible to turn these logs into rich sources of analysis for system and application behavior. Splunk built out this log analysis strategy by building collectors for an astonishing variety of log sources (see the diagram below).
The New Splunk App for VMware – Physical and Virtual Operations Management
The Spunk App for VMware is significant not only in that it collects log data from vSphere. It is significant in several other respects as well:
- The Spunk App for VMware does not collect its data in 5 minute intervals from the vCenter API’s as do many other Operations Management products in the VMware environment. The Spunk App for VMware collects its data directly from each vSphere host on 20 second intervals. This means that the Spunk App for VMware gets the exact same raw data that vCenter gets, and the exact interval that vCenter gets it. The only other vendor that operate at this level of data granularity and frequency is Reflex Systems.
- The Splunk App for VMware collects more than just the log data from the vSphere hosts. It collects all of the normal resource utilization data that vCenter collects (and passes along to vCenter Operations) as well.
Since the Spunk App for VMware is simply an addition to the existing set of data collectors for Splunk, it is useful to look at the picture in its totality. If we combine the data the Splunk can get from the physical infrastructure (and from non-virtualized physical systems) with the data from the virtualization layer (vSphere), and from many applications layer products as well (WebSphere), Splunk is now arguably in the position of having one of the richest depositories of operational data around.
This fact was probably not lost on VMware, who has seen this coming for a long time, and who reacted last week by acquiring the product assets and team for Log Insight from Pattern Insight. This means that we should probably expect log data from Log Insight to become a feature of a future release of vCenter Operations.
The New Bar in Operations Management
These actions by both Splunk and VMware raise the bar in operations management. The diversity of data collected is increasing rapidly. The frequency with which it is being collected in increasing rapidly. Splunk will hang its hat on being able to use its analytics to automate the interpretation of this stream of diverse data for its customers. VMware will likely rely upon the self-learning analytics in vCenter Operations to do the same. The ecosystem will be forced to partner up or acquire adjacent capabilities to compete in what is rapidly becoming an Operations Management Suite game.
The new Splunk App for VMware adds a significant new capability to the Splunk offerings, opens a new Operations Management frontier for Splunk and creates a new standard for functionality in the Operations Management space.
Intelligence gathering is an oft overlooked aspect of system and data defense in depth. On the 7/12 Virtualization Security podcast we discussed new and old sources of such intelligence. We were joined by Urvish Vashi, VP of marketing, Alert Logic. Alert Logic has updated their report on cloud based security attacks. Add to this the yearly Verizon Breach and other reports, and we start to have a good handle on intelligence of past and possibly future attacks. Continue reading Defense in Depth: Intelligence Gathering
Cloud based security is about securing the data, yet compliance requirements are often about securing the environment, such as PCI’s requirement for web application firewalls, which protect web servers and perhaps applications and imply protection of data. But they do not directly protect data. How can a Software Defined Data Center implement a form of Software Defined Security automatically to meet not only compliance requirements, but security around a particular mote of data? Continue reading Software Defined Security: Is it Achievable?
For quite a number of years, VMware has made it very clear that it views virtualization not only as a technology that provides significant benefits to data centers, but also a technology that disrupts the existing virtualization management solutions, and opens an opportunity for new management solutions to be offered and adopted by enterprises. VMware has also made it clear that it intends to capitalize upon this opportunity by fielding a family of strong products in the Virtualization Management area. Continue reading VMware’s Heterogeneous Virtualization Management Strategy