New Thinking Behind Virtual Management

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Top 10 Benefits of Virtualization

Virtualization has taken a firm hold at most enterprises these days, but the fact is we've only just begun to unleash the true potential of the technology.

The basics of virtualization have not changed much since the modern version hit data center environments close to 10 years ago. However, the way it has been implemented and optimized certainly has seen a fair number of refresh cycles.

Every time we see a new iteration of server virtualization, storage virtualization, I/O, desktop and even data virtualization, it adds a new wrinkle to the overall enterprise infrastructure, which usually makes its presence known by unforeseen management challenges.

Analytics firm Evolven says that 73 percent of enterprises rate the management challenges of new virtual infrastructure as either high or extremely high. Of that group, nearly 80 percent say they can get by with tweaks to their existing management infrastructure, while the remainder say it will require a complete revamp.

Fortunately, powering up a new virtual management stack is becoming easier, and cheaper, than ever. VMTurbo recently launched a free download of its Community Edition workload management software, offering real-time monitoring with unlimited scalability and a complete historical report library. The Community Edition, of course, is the basic version of the company's software. Higher-end versions include the Enterprise Operations Manager that includes optimization and planning modules and the Cloud Operations Manager that reaches across multiple data centers and cloud environments. In other words, the free version lets you see what's wrong, while the paid versions help you fix it.

Still, small organizations do have access to more fully realized management systems at relatively low cost. SolarWinds, for example, has taken the best of the former Hyper9 platform and folded it into its Virtualization Manager stack that lists for less than $3,000. The package includes performance, capacity, configuration, chargeback and lifecycle management, although it is limited to only 50 virtual machines. The system can also be integrated into the company's Storage Manager to optimize relationships between VMs and available storage.

These days, management of virtual environments will only provide moderate benefits unless it can be extended over the cloud. That will require the management stack to accommodate not only the environment at hand, but any additional resources that may be provisioned at a moment's notice. That's what VKernel has in mind with the latest version of the vOperations Suite. The package features capacity reservation and enhanced modeling and performance capabilities that can plan for virtual machines and resources that do not even exist yet. This helps eliminate resource conflicts and capacity constraints before they arise.

Without doubt, management of virtual infrastructure is significantly more challenging than management of physical resources. Once you've decoupled software environments from underlying hardware, system configuration and resource allocation enter an entirely new level of complexity.

It's probably safe to say that none of the management systems in the channel today address the needs of virtual environments completely; although, it's a sure bet that development will maintain a steady pace as long as virtualization remains in demand.