Managing enterprise IT has never been as easy as it should be. Most of the systems that support any application must be managed manually and there’s not a whole lot of clarity when it comes to understanding the dependencies between applications and multiple IT infrastructure components. Theoretically, virtualization was supposed to make things better. But while virtualization is a major boon from the utilization perspective, one of the downsides is that it makes an already complex IT environment that much more difficult to manage.
The good news is that the providers of virtualization technologies are starting to own up to that challenge. VMware, for instance, today announced the general availability of VMware vFabric Application Director 5.0 and VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite 5.6. In addition, VMware announced today that it launched the VMware Cloud Applications Marketplace, which provides access to a range of third-party applications that support vFabric Application Director 5.0.
According to Shahar Erez, VMware director of products for application management, it works by essentially creating a logical representation of the application that can by dynamically bound to any set of cloud computing infrastructure, not just instances of vCloud running on top of VMware vSphere. The goal is to not only create a blueprint of the application environment, but also make it possible for the IT organizations to respond to changes in the application environment dynamically.
While virtual machines can be provisioned in a matter of minutes, it can still take days to weeks for the IT organization to provision all the server, storage and networking resources needed to support an application. At a time when the business is demanding more IT flexibility than ever, all the manual tasks associated with deploying an application make it nearly impossible for IT organizations to respond quickly to either new or changing business conditions.
Automation within IT environments is, of course, a sensitive topic. Many worry that IT automation equals job elimination. Others will contend that skilled humans will always do a better job. The reality is that the IT environment in terms of complexity is scaling beyond any level most human beings can comprehend. It’s also true that as part of the process associated with dealing with that challenge, many tasks need to be automated. That’s not going to necessarily happen overnight, which means IT professionals who manage infrastructure have a fair amount of time and opportunity to figure out how they can add value. At the same time, however, the clock is ticking more loudly than ever.