Look for the “Perfect Storm” in Virtualization Management in 2011

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day tasks and activities.

We are already seeing an increased demand for management functionality to manage the increasing complexity and improve the internal viability without the need to add non-administrators to VirtualCenter or vCenter.

These market drivers discussed are making it clear to a lot of organizations that VirtualCenter or vCenter virtualization management systems by themselves are no longer sufficient to ensure control in their growing virtual environments.

In 2010, the market reacted to this by complementing the VMware management platform with point tools to address specific pain points that were starting to impact virtual environments; discovery tools, capacity planning tools, performance management tools etc.

But the increased learning curves, the need for integration and consistency started a movement away from point tools towards integrated VM management systems.

We predict that the market will see a continuing this trend if not accelerate it. To be effective, this has to be true integration, not just a collection of tools that are stitched together to look like they are integrated, as these will ultimately fail as the complexity rises.

We also predict that we will see new features added to best-in-class virtualization management systems.  Features such as VM monitoring, configuration and change management, lifecycle management, capacity/performance management and self service will become key components of any VM management system, as will some level of automation and workflow.  All these features are needed to manage the increasing complexity within virtual environments.

As virtual environments increase in size and increase in impact to the datacenter, the need for coordination and process change across all the datacenter management silo’s and support groups also increase.  Providing these untrained stakeholders with access to the VMware management platform is something that most virtualization groups would prefer not to do.  Yet, they need the real-time access to information on the aspects of the virtual environment that involve them, and in some cases need to manipulate the VMs themselves. For example, support groups or development teams frequently need to re-boot VMs.

The answer to this dilemma is some form of service portal that provides access to information, as well as access to VMs themselves without the need for training for vCenter access.

Integration will also be a key requirement in the coming year.  Virtualization management solutions that integrate and automate all these features and disciplines within an enterprise architecture will be essential.  Standardization and automation is the only way to move from the tactical implementation of virtualization to a more strategic one. It’s the only real path to the private cloud, and the only way to get true efficiencies.

For example, when we looked at the increased complexities of the virtual environment, configuration management was used here as a discussion point.  It’s relatively easy to establish a policy that says “all VMs must be created from an up to date and approved template”.  In fact a lot of organizations have a policy like this today.  The question is, how do you enforce it?

Given the current admin team workload, manual inspection adds more work and is not likely to be consistent. Basic policy-based automation is needed, something that checks new VMs coming into the environment and highlights ones that don’t meet the standard, leading to more consistency and much less work.

That said, management systems will also have to become easier to deploy and use: Administrators simply don’t have the time for the traditional complex implementation and high learning curves associated with IT management systems. And, the shortage of experience and trained administrators is not helping either.

The challenge to virtualization management vendors will be to marry simplicity of use

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