The Top 5 Features to Look for in VM Management
May 24, 2010
Pete Goldin
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Industry insiders recommend the top features to look for in a solution to manage performance in the virtual environment.

1. Integration of Physical and Virtual Environments

“Look for a tool that integrates physical and virtual environments into a single pane of glass,” says Olivier Thierry, CMO of Zenoss. “You don’t want to create more silos.”

Thierry warns that it is very easy to establish a new silo of tools and operations staff to handle the virtual environment, but this only makes business service management more complex.

“You will always have a mixed environment of physical and virtual,” agrees Troy DuMoulin, ITIL Service Manager, AVP Product Strategy, Pink Elephant. “I can see the logic of having a single tool that allows you to manage both physical and virtual. You want one management interface that allows you to model and manage all different types of objects, regardless of where they are.”

2. End-to-End Visibility

“End-to-end visibility is a requirement,” says Javier Soltero, Chief Technology Officer for Management Products for SpringSource, a division of VMware. “You need the ability to see not just the hypervisor but through the guest operating system and whatever application components are running inside of that guest.”

3. Change Awareness

“Look for a tool that understands the dynamics of motion,” Thierry advises.

Javier Soltero defines this as “change awareness”, noting, “In a virtual environment, you have the ability to move workloads, and start and stop workloads as whole machines, basically by just going to vCenter and dragging things around, and starting and stopping them. You need to have a management tool that successfully operates within that environment.”

Soltero says the tool must honor the fact that when you VMotion from one hypervisor to the other, nothing happened from the perspective of the guest operating system in the application. On the other hand, from the hypervisor perspective, the tool must also recognize that you actually moved this workload from this vSphere host to another, and make sure that was successful and had no impact on the application running on top of it.

4. Built for the New Virtual Environment

“Many legacy tools just build virtualization management onto their products,” warns Thierry. “Unless the tool has a real-time model with dependency mapping configuration built into it, the tool will not be able to do it.”

“Look for a tool that has been purpose-built for this new virtual world,” he continues. “You can’t take a 1930s car and bolt on a brand new turbo charger. It was not designed for that.”

5. Cost Effectiveness

“Look for a management tool that is cost-effective,” Thierry concludes. “The reason for virtualization is to save money, so you do not want to go back and add a seven-figure systems management tool on top of that. The last thing you want to do is take a brand new cost-effective agile platform and dump a whole bunch of legacy, inappropriate, expensive, cumbersome, complex tooling on top. The cost equation must be maintained.”

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