Simplifying Virtualization Management

Michael Vizard

One of the biggest problems with IT process automation is that it's hard to do. Between setting up the systems and actually figuring out what to automate and, just as importantly, what not to automate, a lot of IT organizations simply decide to throw up their hands in frustration.

The end result, of course, is that nothing changes, except for the complexity of the IT task at hand. In fact, with the advent of virtualization, this complexity is increasing at an alarming rate. Where once an IT organization might have had 100 servers to worry about, there are now as many as five virtual servers running on each physical server. And with the next generation of physical servers, there may be as many as 20 virtual servers per physical machine.

Since the number of IT people available to manage all that complexity is not likely to increase, something has to give. That something will most likely constitute more reliance on IT automation tools.

The good news is that companies such as UC4 Software are finally getting around to making their tools easier to embrace in terms of managing virtualization. UC4 Software this week rolled out a Rapid Automation for VMware offering that comes with pre-defined templates for automating virtual machine management processes, according to Matt Busch, product marketing executive.

Priced starting at $34,000 and designed to work with vSphere and vCenter software from VMware, the UC4 Software offerings are a significant step in the right direction in terms of simplifying virtualization management.

Simplification of virtualization management is going to be a critical requirement in the months ahead, especially as mid-market IT organizations move to more aggressively embrace virtualization.

The advent of these tools also presents an opportunity for IT organizations to also start defining some processes where all too often there are none. We know that the ability to define an IT process is a critical requirement for compliance with the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) specification. One of the side benefits of any IT automation tool is that it defines an IT process by definition.

You may not love that particular process, but it sure beats having no process at all. So the next time you think about IT automation, think about it as essentially stealing an IT workflow process that comes packaged in a format that is ultimately designed to save you both time and money. There's no doubt you and your staff could probably do it better manually, but when you really think about it, don't you have more important things to do than manage virtual machine software all day?

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Jun 19, 2010 3:06 PM Gabby Gabby  says:
I know more good IT Process Automation vendors with IT Workflow, ITIL Templates and many other Automation Capabilities built-in in the solution available for download. some of them are ayehu and iwave i think they are much more flexible and scalable than the big ones... Reply
Jun 21, 2010 4:06 PM David M Lynch David M Lynch  says:
Automation is a crucial component when building a scalable virtualization architecture, and automating the standard process types that they currently deal with on the physical side of the datacenter; i.e. job scheduling, application integration, backup, maintenance, file transfer etc.. is a step in the right direction.. But to be truly effective, IT groups also need to automate the new processes that come with the virtual world; provisioning, information federation, and VM asset lifecycle management.. Reply
Jun 22, 2010 9:06 PM Colleen Colleen  says:
Thank you Mike for a concise article on new prepackaged VM management tools. This is just what businesses need! Research shows that only 20-30% of businesses' servers have been virtualized. For an introduction to the two biggest challenges to virtualization, Sprawl and Stall, visit: Thanks for the good info! Reply

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