A Matter of Virtualization Trust

Michael Vizard

On paper the adoption of virtualization seems like a no-brainer. After all, typical server utilization rates are somewhere less than 10 percent, so the amount of money being spent on underused hardware resources is phenomenal.


Alas, not all applications lend themselves to virtualization equally well, and the people who pay for the applications tend to be a little skeptical of anything tied to the concept of shared resources. As far as they are concerned, their applications are mission-critical and they don't want them moved to any type of platform scenario where the performance of those applications could be compromised.


The good news is that the performance of virtualization software is getting a whole lot better. Offerings such as VMware vSphere 4, at least according to VMware, can now run applications as fast or faster than they would have run on their native hardware. But as always, seeing is believing.


That's what makes a new management tool from Xangati kind of interesting. Instead of providing one of a hundred tools that allow IT organizations to manage their virtual machines better, Xangati is giving the people that own the applications a tool that allows them to monitor the performance of their applications on an ongoing basis.


The Xangati AppMonitor for Virtualization Management tool offers the potential to bridge the divide between IT people who are typically in charge of the hardware platforms and the business owners of the applications. Rather than having to take the word of the IT department about performance issues, the people that pay for the applications can now monitor the performance of those applications themselves. That may prove to be especially handy when it comes to diagnosing performance issues that occur only intermittently.


Those perceived performance issues may become a lot more pronounced as we start to move more mission-critical applications on to virtual servers. Most IT organizations have not put applications such as Microsoft Exchange, SAP, or any type of SQL database on a virtual server because of I/O performance concerns. VMware claims to have now solved that problem, which if true would create massive opportunities for cost savings given the expense associated with running these applications in terms of both hardware and the number of software licenses required for each platform.


This issue, of course, is that there is almost no tolerance for performance degradation when it comes to these applications. And the sad fact is that lot of the people in charge of these applications don't always trust the people in charge of the hardware to look out for their interests.


The Xangati AppMonitor platform, which has a flat fee of $21,000, works by aggregating the application performance data collected by routers and switches on the network. The application then takes that data to create a series of reports that are easily digested by the application owners. In a virtual environment, Xangati charges another annual $2,100 fee for the virtualization module that sits on top of the base platform.


Does your organization need help embracing virtualization on a larger scale?

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