Tag Archives | Virtualization

Will client virtualization efforts reap ROI rewards?

Server virtualization success stories seem infinite, perhaps making the appeal of client virtualization technology almost irresistible, according to recent survey data, but still IT managers report concern over achieving the ROI needed to justify an investment in desktop virtualization and related technologies.

CDW recently polled some 200 IT managers at U.S. businesses with more than 100 employees to learn what’s behind three categories of client virtualization: presentation, application and desktop virtualization. The technology solutions provider discovered an overwhelming majority intends to implement some sort of client virtualization solution in the next 12 to 24 months — 91% to be exact, according to the survey. Yet 97% if those that had already implemented the technology noted they had encountered challenges.

Among the reasons client virtualization appeals to IT managers is the potential for reduced costs. Sixty-percent of those polled pointed to decreasing hardware, support and management costs as reasons to adopt the technology. Forty percent said that the technology would make the software distribution process easier, and 38% cited IT productivity gains as a driver for implementing the technology. And 37% said they believed client virtualization would improve IT support.

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Figure 1: PDU breaker-level energy data view

Making energy resource monitoring a part of your datacenter management strategy

Datacenter management is a complicated IT discipline that continues to grow more complex as IT departments embrace virtualization and consider cloud computing for future high-tech projects. And now managing technology isn’t the only task IT executives must address in their datacenters; energy and resource monitoring is also required to achieve a full datacenter infrastructure management (DCIM) strategy, according to research firm IDC.

IDC evaluated 15 vendors in a November 2010 report entitled “Datacenter Infrastructure Management: A Competitive Landscape of Energy Efficient Management in the Datacenter” and found that most have strengths in different areas, all of which are required for a complete, holistic approach to DCIM.

“Almost all the vendors IDC spoke with monitor more than their own hardware or environments, but simultaneously no single vendor can detect, monitor and control 100% of existing datacenter environments,” the report reads.

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The IT management-cloud computing conundrum

As interest in cloud computing reaches new levels, speculation on how IT organizations would manage services across private, public and hybrid cloud environments also grows. With management often being an afterthought when adopting new technologies, industry watchers warn that without proper visibility, controls and monitoring, the benefits of cloud computing could be lost.

Cloud services by IT management challenges
As is often the case with new technologies, the excitement over the promised advantages of emerging technologies can muddy the decision-making process, causing IT organizations to worry about managing said technology after it is already in-house and perhaps experiencing performance problems. The flurry of hype around cloud computing in 2010 has experts in the IT management technology realm now wondering how easily cloud environments and cloud services will be able to bring into existing management practices and what updated processes and tools might be necessary. At the very least, industry watchers are noting that server virtualization challenges physical management approaches, and considering virtualization is a significant component of cloud computing, experts are sounding the alarm for IT organizations to be aware of the potential hurdles associated with managing cloud computing.

“One of the primary characteristics of a cloud computing solution is virtualization, and the most commonly deployed form of virtualization is server virtualization,” reads “The 2010 Cloud Networking Report” by Jim Metzler, president of Ashton Metzler & Associates, a report sponsored in part by Ipanema Technologies. “Unfortunately, server virtualization creates a number of management challenges including: the breakdown of network design and management tools; limited virtual machine-to-VM traffic visibility; poor management scalability; multiple hypervisors; and management on a per-VM basis.”

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Virtualized Resources

New technologies, same old management problems

There’s no doubt network professionals are adopting technologies such as cloud computing and virtualization, but it is less certain how IT organizations are working to monitor the advanced environments and troubleshoot performance problems. Recent survey results show that while industry watchers often advise keeping management in mind when deploying new technologies, many IT shops tend to focus on monitoring and troubleshooting after experiencing problems in production.

Network Instruments this week released the results of its 2010 State of the Network Survey, which polled some 265 network professionals regarding emerging technologies and ongoing management challenges. The network and application management vendor focused its questions on cloud computing adoption, virtualization, video conferencing and performance management. A recurring theme cropped up among these survey results, according to Stephen Brown, product marketing manager at Network Instruments.

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Bruce Milne

Capacity management for dynamic data centers

Adopting new technologies often requires IT operations to also adopt new approaches to various management disciplines. For instance, virtualization is forcing IT managers to think differently about planning for capacity. Bruce Milne, vice president of product management in the Virtualization and Automation Customer Solutions Unit at CA Technologies, says the technologies acquired with Hyperformix will enable IT managers to better predict the capacity needs of their virtual environments and prepare to best meet the business’ needs.

Bruce MilneComing from Hyperformix, why are you excited about CA Technologies acquiring the company?
One of the growth pillars for CA Technologies is virtualization and automation, which is very exciting. One of the real problems if you separate computing capacity from the workloads and virtualize the workloads, then it is much more difficult to track capacity and efficiency of resources. This capacity management problem is just a stop off point to the destination to the real vision, which is dynamic capacity.

How does Hyperformix technology enable dynamic capacity planning and management?
We offer the ability for systems management infrastructure to pull together information how the IT infrastructure is being utilized right now. We are able to monitor that and bring information to the surface about exceptions as well as project into the future. We can predict if there will be a shortage of capacity based on business demand, which creates a demand for capacity. We can feed that information to, say, Automation Manager, the run-book automation application that then says supply this capacity to that server or this host for a certain period of time to support a business load. That is the dynamic data center, that is true automation, when you can remove manual processes.

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CA Technologies closes Hyperformix acquisition

CA Technologies secured its bid for Hyperformix Tuesday in a move that industry watchers say will equip the IT management software maker with capabilities to take on complex virtual environments as well as cloud computing.

CA Technologies announced its plans to acquire Hyperformix in late September, and the software maker touted Hyperformix’s technology that could manage capacity in real time – a must-have function for virtual and ultimately cloud environments. In a September blog post, Andi Mann, vice president of product marketing for the Virtualization and Automation customer solutions unit at CA Technologies, explained the company’s motivation.

“First, it directly supports the many organizations that have been asking us for sophisticated capacity management to support their virtualization strategy (and, increasingly, their cloud strategy), beyond what we do already with performance and reporting,” Mann wrote. “The acquisition also directly solves some of the biggest problems our more mature customers are facing today in their virtualization deployments – things like the VM sprawl that is exhausting available capacity and dramatically reducing virtualization ROI; and the VM stall caused by low capacity awareness and risk-averse business owners that slows or stops rollouts and stalls the major benefits of virtualization.”

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Ask the Service Assurance Expert: How virtualization affects network performance

IT organizations deploying virtualization across servers realize that management technologies and practices must evolve to incorporate the virtual realm into their service-centric management approach. Jerome Simms, senior director of product management at CA Technologies, says IT managers responsible for network and application performance want to ensure virtualization doesn’t create blind spots in their environments.

Management technologies enable virtualization growth, survey says

The adoption of x86 server virtualization seems to be here to stay. Are network managers updating their approach to managing performance to account for growing virtual environments?
Virtualization is a huge area and it extends down to the network. Customers are well aware of virtualizing servers. And they are keenly aware of the new data center and the converged data center, which also impacts the network because vendors like VMware and Cisco are embedding virtual switches as part of the hypervisor. That ultimately changes the paradigm of how management applications deal with the network.

Do virtual switches eliminate any blind spots that previously represented challenges for management applications?
These virtual switches play the same role as physical switches, and a vendor like NetQoS, [acquired in 2009 by CA Technologies] which has the ability to look at traffic between the virtual machines (VM) on the hypervisor is able to eliminate that blind spot. NetQoS has the ability to look at that traffic. Management applications can discover, map, model, manage and alert on physical switches, and now some are able to do the same with a virtual switch. Ultimately the goal is to uncover the root cause of any problems.

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Management technologies enable virtualization growth, survey says

Management tools can often become an afterthought for high-tech leaders deploying emerging technologies, but the majority of IT decision makers recently polled confirmed that management is not only important, but a key priority for expanding virtualization across an IT environment.

CA Technologies Tuesday released at VMworld 2010 Europe the results of a survey of 473 IT decision makers in large and mid-size enterprise in the U.S. and Germany. The survey, conducted by the international management consulting firm Oliver Wyman on behalf of CA Technologies, revealed that while budget restraints and limited headcount are often a primary cause of stalled virtualization deployments, IT decision makers also cited: the high operational risk of a failed migration; the inability of available tools to meet management needs; and the lack of resources skilled in virtual server management.

Stalled virtual deployments were evident in the number of servers virtualized and the type of servers that have become virtual machines. For instance, 34% of organizations have only deployed virtualization for five to 20 servers – or what CA Technologies dubs the ‘low-hanging fruit’ of test and development systems, Web servers and print servers. The majority of respondents (87%) have virtualized less than 40% of their servers, with just 12% reaching the final phase of virtualization with more than 40% of systems virtualized. Survey respondents on average have virtualized 39% of their servers.

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Virtual capacity planning drives IT management acquisition

On the heels of the Hyperformix acquisition by CA Technologies, BMC Software Tuesday announced it had acquired the software business of Neptuny, a European provider of capacity management and IT performance optimization technology.

The deal, according to a BMC press release, will enable the IT management software maker to extend its existing capacity management products and augment BMC’s “dynamic Business Service Management (BSM)” and cloud management products. This type of technology, also recently acquired with Hyperformix by CA Technologies, will be critical to any IT management software maker looking to lead its customers from traditional environments to virtual data centers and potentially private, public or hybrid cloud deployments.

Capacity management posed a challenge even in traditional environments, but typically required planners to prepare for business growth perhaps per quarter using rudimentary tools or spreadsheets. The dynamic nature of virtual machines (VM) essentially breaks previous capacity management practices and requires the process to move from a static state to real-time monitoring and planning. Because the promise of virtualization and ultimately cloud computing is that environments can be quickly ramped up or scaled back, capacity planning needs to operate in real time as well.

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CA Technologies acquires virtual capacity management with Hyperformix buy

CA Technologies announced this week that it has entered into an agreement to acquire for an undisclosed sum Hyperformix, an Austin-based company with expertise in real-time, virtual capacity management capabilities.

The deal would equip CA Technologies with capacity planning and management technology as well as dynamic IT resource optimization capabilities, according to the IT management software maker, which has in the past 18 months completed a string of acquisitions including those of 3Tera, Cassatt, NetQoS, Nimsoft, Oblicore, Arcot Systems and 4Base Technology. And like many of those buys, the acquisition of Hyperformix will enable CA Technologies to help its customers better manage virtual environments and potentially more smoothly evolve those deployments into private cloud implementations, says Andi Mann, vice president of product marketing for the Virtualization and Automation customer solutions unit (CSU) at CA Technologies.

“The key to the Hyperformix deal is that CA Technologies has virtualization management capabilities across such a wide range of disciplines, but our capability for capacity planning has been limited to deployments we can control,” Mann says. “Hyperformix’s technology will let us look at capacity across the whole enterprise and control what needs to be controlled where it is being controlled. It is imperative to connect business policy with how we implement IT resources, especially in virtual environments and this technology gets us there.”

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What network managers need to know about cloud computing

IT and business leaders can’t say enough about the potential benefits of cloud computing. But for network managers, the technology could represent a new source of bottlenecks and traffic congestion without proper planning and execution on the underlying network infrastructure.

Cloud computing takes a bite out of IT budgets in 2010

Network management technologies depend on some level of visibility – in most cases, very granular insight into network traffic and performance metrics. But network performance details could increase in volume or become obscured with the introduction of cloud computing. While IT leaders explore the potential of private cloud now and consider evolving to a hybrid or public cloud, industry watchers speculate on how the transition could affect the network.

“The single biggest thing to consider when you put things in the cloud is bandwidth. The state of things is much better today and there are many tools to address that, such as MPLS and WAN optimization technologies, but network engineers need to build a network to avoid any type of bottleneck that might occur when using the public cloud,” says George Hamilton, principal analyst at Yankee Group.

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From sprawl to stall: How to clear the hurdles of virtual deployments

IT managers deploying virtualization technology first worried about their implementations sprawling out of control, but now industry watchers say that many organizations could be facing virtual stall — or in other words, IT managers are now seeing their virtual deployments slow down before they achieve maximum benefits.

While IT managers a few years ago struggled to track and control the number of virtual machines popping up across their environments, today IT managers are working to get more out of the virtualization technology they’ve installed to achieve reduced costs and optimized environments. As part of CA Technologies “Quit Stalling” campaign launched at the VMworld 2010 U.S. conference in San Francisco, Vice President of Virtualization and Product Marketing Andi Mann presented at the event on clearing certain hurdles to achieving more complete benefits. (Watch a video interview with Mann here.)

Now CA Technologies published a white paper on the topic, which Mann further explores in a recent blog post. Both discuss how enterprise IT managers can get beyond partial virtualization to more fulfilling implementations, which deliver the real promise of the technology.

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