Virtualization has done wonders to combat server sprawl in the data center, but it comes at the expense of systems resources management, which is now contending with sprawl of the virtual kind.
In this Q&A with The Yankee Group's George Hamilton, we learn of the pitfalls of trying to apply standard monitoring techniques and technologies to a virtual environment. Suffice it to say, there's not much you can do if your network is reporting hundreds or even thousands of performance-related alerts based on the number of virtual servers being created out of the ether.
A number of vendors are working on the problem. uXcomm is one, having recently purchased Virtugo Software, developer of the VirtualSuite virtual management stack. Incorporating VirtualSuite into uXcomm's Xmanage software will provide a common platform for overseeing both physical and virtual environments.
Over at ZDNet, Dana Blankenhorn, for one, is impressed with the idea of a single workstation with the capability of managing an entire virtual environment. But are the problems of virtualization now solved? No.
Another noteworthy development on the management front is the new XenEnterprise 3.2, which offers a number of management upgrades. The system is designed to oversee an unlimited number of virtual machines and now offers support for Windows and Linux guests, including the Windows 2000 virtual server. One of the key advances here is the ability to run the system with higher-level applications, like database machines, rather than the standard file, print and mail servers.
We suspect that as virtualization becomes more ubiquitous in the enterprise, management challenges will only increase. When users are launching virtual environments as easily as they launch applications today, the management side of the house had better be up to snuff, or all that investment will result in productivity lost, not gained.