BSM to the Rescue
Survey Says: Monitoring and Managing the Cloud is Top Concern
January 11, 2011
Bill Karpovich
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In September, Zenoss released the 2010 Virtualization and Cloud Computing Survey, which took the temperature of over 200 IT professionals about their reasons for using virtualization and the cloud. Some of our results were about as surprising as rain in Seattle: 40.7% of survey respondents said they prefer to deploy servers virtually, 79.3% of them said they are using VMware and the number one goal with regards to using virtual infrastructure was to save money. Many of the results were more intriguing, but the conclusion that most piqued our interest here at Zenoss was that the number two concern about cloud computing, after security, was management/monitoring.

As cloud computing becomes more popular it’s also becoming more complex. In Pete Goldin’s article in BSMdigest last May (“Virtualization Changes Everything”), Olivier Thierry of Zenoss talked a little bit about the tricky new layer that virtualization has created. Virtualization makes many aspects of business easier by automating processes, but it also requires an entirely different set of tools from those used to manage a traditional, physical environment. Most legacy monitoring and management solutions are ill equipped to handle the cloud because they’re static, fragmented and single-tenant. In contrast, newer tools need to be real-time, unified and multi-tenant in order to offer visibility and control of a dynamic cloud infrastructure. All too often these old tools and new tools don’t play nicely together and the task of integrating them has created a need for specialists. As a result, virtualization management today can be a dreadful silo and as it turns out, nobody likes that: 70.7% of the people we surveyed prefer tools that manage all infrastructure rather than point solutions that are specific to virtualization.

There are many ways in which business service management (BSM) can help break up that silo and navigate the often challenging task of deploying a private or public cloud environment. If a business application fails, a common reaction is to reprovision (a.k.a. pile on more resources). But the only way to solve the problem is to find the problem first: figure out why something didn’t perform by using a tool that can keep up with a continuously changing configuration. Network monitoring and systems management providers like Zenoss and others can offer answers to critical questions about servers and dependencies. With the right set of management tools, processes and methods, businesses can be confident that their IT infrastructures are working efficiently.

But what if your organization isn’t ready to virtualize completely? After all, 73.3% of our survey respondents hadn’t made a decision on their virtualization management solution and only 29.3% said they wanted to use virtualization everywhere. Though I can understand their concerns, virtualization is here to stay and cloud computing’s numerous advantages are too compelling to ignore completely. I’d advise those who are hesitant not to wait, but to take things one at a time. Start by virtualizing part of your infrastructure. Integrate the management of your virtualized environment with your physical datacenter, and then with the proper visualization and management tool in place so as to mitigate the risks, continue the journey to a more virtualized IT world.

About Bill Karpovich

Bill Karpovich, CEO and Co-Founder of Zenoss, conceived the company's disruptive business strategy and has successfully guided the company from start-up to a category leader. As an IT management and cloud computing visionary, Bill has been featured on the cover of InformationWeek Magazine and is frequently consulted by the media and industry analysts for his insights on IT management and the broader open source software market.

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