Why IT Operations Management and Virtualization should be best friends

Not that will be the first to say, but virtualization has really come into its own. One analyst prediction shows over 20% just in 2011 for virtualization infrastructure solutions. Virtualization is no longer a neat tool for the lab and for developers. It is an enterprise-level solution for getting the most out of your data center hardware, and to reduce capital expenditures going forward. This whole process has happened in the midst of the cloud computing revolution, which has both turbo-charged the growth of virtualiztion, but also overshadowned some of the real, fundmental values of building out a virtualized infrastructure. friends.gif

When IT operations management software joins the party, the message has become more muddled. “Well, I am using stamping out virtual templates faster then you can say the word ‘virtualization’ now. Do I really need automated provisioning, patch management, or compliance management?” “I am baking my apps into my virtual templates. No need for automated deployment”. I think it is safe to say that the perception of IT management is lagging virtualization adoption. That amazes me, since automation is one the best ways, if not the best way, to make virtualization. So, why can’t virtualization and IT operations management be friends? Well, let me state the obvious. THEY CAN!


There are many reasons, and we could spend hours pontificating on it. But let me recount the top hits:


1. How do you know what you have?

     The good ‘ol spreadsheets doesn’t hack in VM land. Virtual machines are being produced at an amazing clip, and they aren’t staying static either. Virtual motioning can shuffle running VMs from one cluster to another in seconds. If you are really going to use virtualiztion in production, you need to integrate your virtual systems in your Config Mgmt Database (CMDB) in real time. You might say – “My virtual console says it all”. Not if your database is physical, and your web servers are virtual…


2. How are you going to build it?

     Virtual templates are extremely powerful – allowing you to reproduce an OS again, again, and again. But we run into the same problems we did with OS imaging earlier in the decade. The more you include in the template, the more likely you are going to have to version it every time one of your apps changes. Oops – need a new version of our monitoring agent. Need to update all of my virtual templates. It makes a lot more sense to use VM templates to stamp out a “thin” OS, and then provision applications on top it like building blocks. Provisioning automaiton is your friend again. And what about the complex applications like application servers and databases. Those tools may need to be install on multiple nodes, inter-connected in a multi-tiered infrastructure. Application automation to the rescue!


     And what about the underlying virtual infrastructure. Who is building that? It is fine to install from CD in the lab, but if your business wants to quickly stand up several hundred virtual machines, you need to automate that install. Unless you want to stare at screens pressing buttons for days on end. If that is your thing, well, go for it…


3. How do you run it?

     How is that we have such selective memory in IT. Virtualization is new! Actually, no. Ask the mainframe guy with the great beard in the next cubicle. Same thing with management. Just because you virtualized a system, doesn’t mean you virtualized IT management. You still have maintain configurations and compliance over time. How will you know when you need more, or when you are not using your capacity? Capacity Management tools. Have virtualized applications become more reliable? Maybe a little (less pesky hardware), but just look at the news to know that clouds can fail too. So, you still need your powerful systems monitoring tools. And you need to integrate with the rest of your physical systems.


So, do you want your virtualized infrastructure to grow and thrive. Then get your VM  and your IT operations teams in the same room, buy them pizza, and tell them to get to know each other better. They are destined to become best friends.



Check out this link for BMC’s solution to get the most out of your virtualization infrstructure.

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