3 Capabilities Needed to Manage the Cloud
September 08, 2010
Pete Goldin
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VMware's Al Sargent outlines the 3 key capabilities needed to manage cloud applications today ...

“One key goal for Hyperic going forward is to provide best-in-class monitoring of cloud applications, whether running on our vFabric cloud application platform or a platform from another vendor,” says Al Sargent, Sr. Product Marketing Manager at VMware. vFabric Hyperic is VMware’s application monitoring tool.

According to Sargent, fulfilling this goal requires the following three capabilities:

1. Support for Dynamic Architectures and Elastic Capacity

“Support for dynamic architectures and elastic capacity is critical because modern virtualized data centers have a very rapid pace of change, an outgrowth of IT being more responsive to business needs,” says Sargent. “But it is impossible to manage these virtualized datacenters with legacy monitoring tools and their manually maintained, complex configuration files. The only way to get ahead of it is to use a monitoring product that can automatically discover changes to your entire application infrastructure — everything from the application code itself down to the vSphere host.”

“Hyperic 4.4, with its automated virtual application infrastructure autodiscovery, frees up application operations teams from the labor-intensive processes of manually maintaining configuration files that you see in legacy monitoring tools that were designed for a previous era of physical infrastructure that rarely changed.”

2. Extreme Scalability

“A monitoring tool must be able to collect the fire hose of performance data from all those VMs in the data center,” Sargent explains. “And it is not just about writing this data to disk. It is also important that your entire monitoring system is able to keep up with processing the millions of metrics per minute, performing tasks like aggregating statistics, generating the alerts based on those statistics, displaying charts requested by users, and processing search queries from users without falling behind.”

“If your monitoring tool does fall behind, it will get out of sync with the constantly changing virtual application infrastructure which will lead to blind spots - servers you don't know about because they haven’t been added to your performance management database - and false alarms for servers that have been intentionally powered down. And that in turn will damage the credibility of the application operations team and impede their ability to get things done with the larger IT organization.”

3. Broad, Extensible Monitoring

“You need a tool that is built to the reality that our industry is one that is constantly changing, constantly innovating, and constantly producing new application infrastructure components that are continually being introduced and updated,” Sargent concludes. “Cloud applications can be built from a wide range of components - WebSphere, WebLogic, JBoss, and our own vFabric tc Server, as well as public cloud platforms, for their Java application server tier. So you need a tool that can monitor a vast number of infrastructure components out-of-the-box.”

“A monitoring tool also must be easily extensible, because no one single vendor can keep up with the innovations of the thousands of vendors in our industry. For Hyperic, that extensibility is obtained with a well-documented fully-supported API and with open source monitoring plug-ins that provide code that can be referenced and reused to monitor new technologies that can come out.”

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