IT Management: At Home and in the Clouds

    Enterprise infrastructure is undergoing a dramatic transformation, so it stands to reason that the tools and platforms to manage this new environment must change.

    But while the need to integrate management capabilities across physical, virtual and cloud domains is obvious, the more difficult question is how. And this becomes doubly complicated once you realize that changes are happening within each of these domains as well.

    eG Innovations summed up the challenges recently following a survey of users of its IT management software. While everyone strives for high performance and reliability, along with lower cost and better resource utilization, a number of forces continue to complicate matters. Among them are the fact that virtual environments are increasingly opening up to mission-critical applications, along with the influx of virtual desktops and the proliferation of mixed virtual and cloud environments. eG is looking to address these challenges through intelligent, virtual-aware techniques that help streamline architecture and deliver IT initiatives on time and on budget.

    It is also becoming clear that IT needs to focus less on infrastructure and more on performance when it comes to management. Developers like VMTurbo are bringing the “software-defined” concept to management by stressing application performance and automated maintenance and configuration of IT resources. The firm’s VMTurbo Operations Manager 3.3, for instance, functions across heterogeneous environments within virtual and cloud infrastructure while providing a high degree of intelligent analytics to more closely match workloads with resource configurations.

    And since cloud performance depends largely on the smooth flow of information, network management has emerged as a top priority at many enterprises. F5 recently released the new BIG-IP Policy Enforcement Manager designed to provide intelligent traffic management for both fixed and mobile environments. The system employs a range of “context-aware” visibility and analytics tools designed to centralize core service management under a uniform architecture. In this way, enterprises and cloud providers can lower costs and increase flexibility and scalability by reducing the reliance on disparate and often redundant point solutions.

    At the same time, some firms are providing tailored management stacks as add-ons to popular cloud platforms. Smartronix, for example, has developed the Intelligent Cloud Hub for Amazon Web Services that simplifies the deployment of new cloud services and their integration into legacy data environments. The system, built on Cisco’s Unified Data Center Architecture, provides cloud brokerage, integrated service and security management and other tools to streamline the interplay between AWS and the enterprise — improving service and resource allocation for routine operations as well as burst situations when data loads spike.

    All of this activity points up the fact that the enterprise industry is quickly approaching the end of the initial phase of cloud computing, deployment, and entering the next chapter: enhancement. Going forward, the driving force behind virtualization and the cloud is to perfect these architectures, both in terms of cost and operations.

    Integrated management across physical, virtual and cloud domains is one of the most effective means of accomplishing that task. As in the past, the data environment consists of many moving parts, but it is still one.

    Arthur Cole
    Arthur Cole
    With more than 20 years of experience in technology journalism, Arthur has written on the rise of everything from the first digital video editing platforms to virtualization, advanced cloud architectures and the Internet of Things. He is a regular contributor to IT Business Edge and Enterprise Networking Planet and provides blog posts and other web content to numerous company web sites in the high-tech and data communications industries.

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