Managing Virtual Environments

Arthur Cole

We all know that virtualization has made it easier to manage server farms, but there is growing recognition that more needs to be done to manage the sheer number of operating systems being created and the storage systems they need to access.

Symantec recently released some of its market data, which revealed that complexity is on the rise in the datacenter as new hardware begets new OSs, applications and management layers. The company said the average user has at least nine server and application management tools, with more than half looking to pare down that number. And upwards of 80 percent report a need for storage allocation, capacity and resource management, and virtual server management.

Managing servers in a virtual environment is one thing, but what about all the new OSs that are created with each partition? If you're not careful, you could suddenly find yourself trying to manage data flow between hundreds of entities in the blink of a virtual eye. In this Q&A, FastScale CEO Lynn LeBlanc explains why the tools that come with VMware and Microsoft might not solve all the management problems you face.

Improved virtual management can help get those electric bills under control, too. Blogging on ZDnet, analyst Dan Kusnetzky sites workload management as a key tool in keeping the fewest number of physical servers operational. Of course, this is only possible in environments where the links between applications and physical servers has been broken.

But what good is an efficient server farm if the storage side of the house can't keep up? That's why it's becoming increasingly necessary to manage virtual environments right down to the storage provisioning level. EMC has this as a target with the latest version of the ControlCenter storage management stack for VMware Infrastructure 3. The system eschews menu-driven interfaces to provide real-time management of up to 10 TB on arrays from Symmetrix, Clarion, HP, IBM, HDS and Sun.

Virtualization itself is a giant step toward improved datacenter management. But a well-organized management stack can make even more of an already wise investment.

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