The Business Case for Virtualization Management: A New Approach to Meeting IT Goals

The following is an excerpt from a 10-page special report, exclusive to ECT News Network, that looks at specific advantages of virtual infrastructure management and provides examples of ROI for companies adopting these solutions. The complete report is available as a free download to ECT News Network subscribers.

The process of deploying virtual machines has led IT managers to discover that the value of virtualization — the ability to pool resources, rapidly deploy new applications, increase resource utilization, and much more — can only be realized if the process is well managed.

Thus, IT management’s evergreen goals of maintaining high service levels, reducing infrastructure costs and increasing IT staff productivity — all well in place before virtualization — are even more important in today’s data center. IT must not only justify the business case for virtualization implementation but also ensure that when a company becomes virtualized, its business-critical applications will run at a level of service that is as good or better than before.

Traditional Tools Unequal to the Task

Traditional systems management tools, built only to view and understand the virtualized connections between applications and their server and storage resources, cannot model the underlying physical complexity that is created by virtualization sprawl.

A new set of virtualization performance and utilization management tools in the market is providing the ability to achieve the following results:

  • Maintain high service levels by reducing troubleshooting time
  • Reduce infrastructure costs by improving utilization
  • Increase IT staff productivity by automating management

These new solutions significantly reduce the time IT staff spends isolating problem areas, understanding root causes and resolving issues, and reducing the number of critical events. They enable IT staff to understand how application workload and utilization impact performance and, ultimately, optimize the balance between maximizing resource utilization and assuring application performance.

As IT shops seek to extend the financial benefits of resource virtualization deeper into the data center, they are discovering a significant gap when it comes to assuring performance to end-user applications. Simply allocating resources from a shared virtualized resource pool doesn’t actually assure peak performance — and adopting the outdated practice of overprovisioning as a means of performance insurance defeats the resource optimization promise inherent in virtualization.

Even tougher, when multiple IT domains offer virtualized services that are layered or nested, as with virtual servers accessing virtual storage, serious performance contention inevitably creeps into the end-to-end architecture. Finding these kinds of bottlenecks between virtualization layers is like looking for a time-traveling needle inside a rolling haystack.

Implementing production virtualization projects with poor overall capacity and performance management practices quickly negates any positive project ROI. In the worst case, this can eventually wedge a transitioning organization between its IT budget “rock” and the very real “hard place” of degraded user service.

Virtual Infrastructure Management

There is a way to meet IT economic goals and assure high-quality service, but it takes a new approach to virtual infrastructure management. By recognizing that resource virtualization technology is focused on allocating capacity from within its own resource pooling but that the job of assuring performance requires system-wide intelligence about what is happening both upstream and downstream, IT management can gather the right information to deliberately control and balance IT spending with service requirements.

In other words, it’s hard for a domain-specific virtualization technology deployed within an IT silo (like servers or storage) to “know” enough to be smart about delivering optimal performance. Optimization requires lifting the curtains not only on the virtualization wizardry, but also on each IT silo contributing to an application’s infrastructure. With that broader knowledge, IT can be more effective and efficient.

Virtualization was rumored to be the death of capacity planning and performance management, but the opposite is actually proving true. …

Click here to continue reading this 10-page special report.

Rich Corley is founder, chief technology officer and vice president of engineering ofAkorri, a developer of analytical software solutions designed to optimize performance and utilization in the dynamic data center. BalancePoint virtual infrastructure management software provides automated, infrastructure-wide visibility and analysis to help enterprises fix problems, optimize utilization and improve performance for both virtual and physical servers and storage. Follow Akorri on Twitter.

1 Comment

  • I completely agree. Companies are spending way too much money on IT staff and too much time imaging and fixing machines. This is the essence of why InstallFree (www.installfree.com) was created – to provide a seamless user experience when transitioning into a virtual world. Give it a few more years and major companies that actually recognize virtualization as a viable solution will be able to save time and money when it comes to their IT.

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