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Related Topics: Virtualization Magazine, Netmagic Solutions Journal

Virtualization: Article

Maximizing Your Virtualized Environment

Getting the right people, process and tools

While virtualization brings tremendous benefits to today's enterprises, many may find the added complexity and management too daunting to undertake the adoption of virtual technologies and so forgo opportunities to lower CapEx, reduce power consumption, optimize space requirements, and bring operational efficiencies.

Seventy-five percent of IT managers call virtualization management important to their operations, according to an October 2007 survey of 100 IT managers done at the Interop New York tradeshow by technology vendor ScienceLogic. Among that 75 percent, 39 percent call virtualization management "very important." [1]

For anyone deploying server virtualization technologies, the costs typically cluster around four areas: infrastructure, IT management systems, server/application software, and administration resources. For infrastructure, the more virtual machines (VMs), the more processing, memory, storage and networking for applications that's needed. Further, software licensing adds to the tally, as does increased costs for both management and administration. The virtual machine sprawl is becoming unmanageable and IT managers have reasons to control it. They want to prevent the unnecessary over-allocation of infrastructure resources and reduce impact on the IT support staff.

In a recent Gartner survey [2] of the many companies that use virtualized environments, the key challenges associated with managing server virtualized environments could be categorized broadly within the following areas:

  • Identification of virtual machine configuration information
  • Determination of virtualization candidates
  • Optimization of physical machine consolidation
  • Capacity planning and modeling
  • Performance, availability, metering
  • Security, audit and compliance

It would be hard to believe that many virtual servers are over-provisioned and under-utilized, not very different from their parent physical machines before they were virtualized. This means that companies are not only spending more on CapEx (disk, network, etc.) but also on management: overall it can add to the TCO. Management could be made easier if IT could easily find the configuration information of the virtual machine including software, patches, and accounts. For example, if they can discover, track, and compare virtual machines via a common repository, IT can surely centralize the monitoring and management better. In fact some of the biggest issues that IT managers face around problem isolation in the virtual environments include:

  • Lack of information on dependencies between virtual and physical machines
  • Inadequate change management/auditing to know what has changed
  • Management tools which lack analytic capabilities

Most of the IT managers have not seen the staffing/workload improvements expected through virtualization. Automation surely could improve this ratio unless the complexity of the virtualization environment goes down. Often IT managers are not equipped or trained to deploy and manage virtualization environments, an obstacle that can slow implementation and provisioning time and consume excessive operational resources.

In a recent survey done by Rackspace around virtualization,[3] IT managers focused on various obstacles to virtualization, but expertise and immature technology were the two key obstacles to adopt/grow virtualization in the IT infrastructure.

More Stories By Sandip Gupta

Sandip Gupta is the President of Netmagic Solutions - a leading managed IT hosting provider specializing in data center, managed hosting and remote infrastructure management service to global customers. Most recently he was the President and CEO of Ensim – a pioneer in virtualization and a provider of hosting automation solutions to 200+ SPs around the world. He has various executive roles and more than 20 years of experience working with product and services companies in diverse industries. He continues to be on advisory boards of many emerging companies where he provides strategic guidance in are areas of growth, funding and operations. He has an MBA from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University. He has been a speaker at various industry trade shows including ISPcon, HostingCon, Internet World, Afcom, Technosium, SIPA, TiECON, VON, Outsourced World and also at various vendor user group meetings. More information is available at www.linkedin.com/in/sandipgupta

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