Perils, pitfalls and problems of managing heterogeneous virtualization
Recently I spoke with Jasmine Noel, founding partner of Ptak Noel and Associates, LLC, regarding her research on the increasing drive for virtualization. What follows are some interesting observations -
"Enterprises keep asking for more agility (i.e. deploy more stuff even faster) and lower capital costs (i.e. minimize idle resources). Virtualization seems like the perfect answer. Virtual images can be deployed faster to provide more agility. More virtual images can be packed onto fewer physical systems to lower capital costs.
If only that were the end of the story.
Datacenter operations teams are realizing that virtualization is not a homogeneous, one-size-fits-all solution. Enterprises seem intent on acquiring different virtualization platforms as well as heterogeneous hardware platforms. This heterogenous virtualization is changing systems administration in some very fundamental ways:
• Virtualization decouples the traditional server and OS management from the physical hardware. This means administrators are being given a bunch of new, overlapping tools to manage the different virtual systems, which increases the potential for errors that impact business services.
• Virtual image management becomes more important (because someone will have to clean out the inevitable virtual sprawl) and more complex (because someone will have to minimize the business risk of high-speed image deployment).
• Matching dynamic workloads to virtual resources that can be easily and automatically added, deleted, moved or changed can’t be done manually. Imagine trying to hitch a bucking rodeo bronco to a wagon that changes size every few minutes -- which doesn’t bode well for guaranteed completion of critical business workloads.
There is no escaping these issues. Every enterprise has virtualization strategies for different types of infrastructure and applications. No single form of virtualization fits every aspect of those strategies. Thus there will be different hypervisors in the enterprise -- heterogeneity will persist. So what can be done about it?
• Start educating the executives that a virtual image needs proactive administration to keep it healthy They also need to understand that managing a roster of hundreds of virtual images is vastly different from keeping a spreadsheet list of 10-20 golden configurations. IT staff will need a major productivity boost keep up.
• Start seriously thinking about managing resources via policies, since it’s the only way to control changes that can happen automatically.
• Start evaluating which of the repetitive administrative activities can be done in a cross-platform, cross-VM manner. The more those tasks can be automated, the more time there’ll be to spend on avoiding the perils, pitfalls and problems of managing heterogeneous virtualization."
IBM is a client of Ptak Noel and has provided compensation to Ptak Noel for participation in this interview.
Perils, Pifalls and Problems of Managing Heterogenous Virtualization
barbara kennedy 2700025GG7 firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  virtualization tivz ztiv mainframe 2 Comments 2,532 Visits