Back in the old days when data center performance was largely a factor of the type and quantity of hardware available, resource management was a fairly straightforward matter.
Not to say it was easy, but improvements to server, storage or networking, as dictated by data requirements, could be made mostly independent from one another. An additional server here or router there would not impose a tremendous burden on storage, for example.
But a funny thing happened on the way to virtualization and the cloud. The decoupling of software from underlying hardware platforms made it much easier to push that hardware to its limits. Where once you had one server, now you had 10. A single network connection can now be split into multiple data pathways.
With this new holistic data center, changes in one portion of the data center can significantly impact others, so much so that data bottlenecks are starting to inhibit the continued deployment of advanced virtual and cloud technologies-the dreaded "virtual stall."
Not surprisingly, alleviating this problem has become the primary objective for data management platforms, particularly on the storage end. DataCore recently released the new SANsymphony-V, featuring a simplified user interface and a wide range of tools like adaptive caching and performance enhancement designed to separate virtual infrastructure from the underlying disk technology. This is intended to foster increased use of virtual storage networking by allowing existing arrays to keep up with virtual environments elsewhere in the data center.
NetApp is also taking virtual storage management very seriously, having just dropped a cool $60 million for management firm Akorri Networks. The deal brings a number of performance and capacity planning tools found in the BalancePoint platform to NetApp's OnCommand suite, effectively uniting application, server, network and storage management under one roof.
There aren't many IT professionals who would trade today's virtual environment with the siloed infrastructure of the past. But today's world does require a different approach to resource management, with the primary rule of thumb being that nothing exists in a vacuum anymore.
Enhancements to available resources continue to be a fact of life, but they require a lot more planning and integration now.