Infrastructure Management Software Blog

Virtualization provisioning: 6 minutes to server! 6 hours to service?

(A guest post from Kalyan Ramanathan, virtualization expert from HP’s Business Service Automation group.)


It is one of the key promises of virtualization - it makes IT move very fast. You can scale up and down in minutes - all you do is stand up more virtual infrastructure and you are done.


But, does it really work as advertised? Are you just scaling servers or launching full business services?


It turns out that making this new infrastructure IT service-ready isn’t exactly that simple. While provisioning a virtual server is fairly simple now - all you is clone the server template and start the new virtual server (and many virtualization vendors already provide tools to do so), the virtual server still needs to be provisioned with storage and network resources to make the server usable. And this requires coordination with the storage and network teams - tickets need to be created, server/storage/network details need to be provided and cross-silo tasks need to be orchestrated to make this all work. And this “weakest link” can now eliminate the agility benefits of virtualization.


A virtualization customer recently described the problem as the 6 minute, 6 hour conundrum – it takes 6 minutes to provision the server and then it takes another 6 hours to provision and configure storage and network resources and scale up the service.


The HP Business Service Automation suite focuses on provisioning complete business services, across applications, servers, network and storage. The solution accelerates the time to scale the IT service. It includes the following products.
• HP Operations Orchestration coordinates the end to end process and the various steps in the process
• HP Server Automation provisions the virtual servers and applications
• HP Storage Essentials creates and provisions storage to the virtual server
• HP Network Automation configures network resources and settings
• HP Client Automation can configure thin clients and server images to support the scaled up service.


All these solutions work across physical and virtual infrastructure from HP and other vendors.


Is your IT group bragging about 6 minutes to a new server while the line of business managers are left waiting for their service to go live? How long does it take you to provision a service so it is completely ready to run?


For business service automation, Kalyan Ramanathan.

Should Your CIO Share a Console With the Server Admin?

Dell recently issued a press release announcing its plans to launch an enterprise console that uses a single console vs. “up to 9 for HP”.


HP’s approach has been to provide role-based tools that are optimized for a specific functional area. Each of our tools shares information across related domains.


Let me make an analogy. If you are building an office building, do you want a single set of plans or ones that domain experts can use to make fast and accurate decisions? The structural engineers need to understand loads on beams and columns. Electricians need to determine how to place the conduits and wiring. Plumbers need to know where to place pipes and how to calculate pumping loads and pressures.


Although each ‘discipline’ has their own tools to plan their work (engineer, plumber, electrician) they also have VISIBILITY across what the other disciplines are doing - the shared information model. They can see enough to make sure that (e.g.) electrical wiring is not routed too close to water pipes, or that routings are not planned to go through parts of the building which are fire control areas etc. They can see what they need to know to be successful but they do not have the tools (or skills) to plan the building structure – they are focused on the areas for which they are responsible - the wiring or plumbing.


The point is, each discipline needs specialized information to do their job correctly. The same is true with our IT management products.


Operations Manager consolidates events from ALL domains and ANY vendor, both physical and virtual. This includes servers (from HP and other vendors), storage (from HP and other vendors), networks, applications, middleware, and end-user events and even business transactions. It provides a single pane of glass to understand and identify the root cause of IT problems and greatly reduce trouble shooting time. It delivers tremendous value to our 10,000+ customers. Many use Operations Manager to consolidate events from their S**, I**, and D*** hardware, running Windows or UNIX. The primary users are in the Operations Bridge (ITIL terminology) or Network Operations Center (NOC).


Fixing incidents is closely aligned with the Service Desk. So, HP Operations Manager can automatically open service tickets in HP Service Center or other ticketing products. The service desk has a different tracking paradigm, so they view the information through a more appropriate user interface.


HP servers come with the most complete set of instrumentation available. SIM, Insight Control, Insight Dynamics, Insight Orchestration allow customers to provision, manage, and troubleshoot their systems at a very granular level. The user interfaces are optimized for server administrators, as opposed to first line operators or IT service desk staff. Any event information flows to Operations Center which can use it to open service tickets, if necessary.


For executives (both IT and line of business) who might want to see everything and think a single console is appropriate, we have such a product for that market. Business Availability Center creates dashboards that show the status of Business Services, including the dollar volume of transactions, service levels, and other high-level metrics. While a single pane of glass to the IT infrastructure may sounds appealing at the surface, this audience does not care about the status of individual servers or network devices. They want to know whether their business services are meeting performance and availability targets. And yes, if a problem appears in this console, there are tools to diagnose problems, identify the root cause, and get that information to the experts who can fix them.


And, I have not even discussed our comprehensive suite of business service automation products (BSA). These too deliver specialized functionality and tightly integrate with their respective domains (Server Automation, Network Automation, Storage Essentials, Client Automation) and share information with related products (Operations Orchestration can automate virtually any IT process across any domain).


HP has been doing this for over 15 years. We lead the market - check out the reports from any of the major analyst firms.


How many consoles do you use to run your IT infrastructure (event management, ticketing, troubleshooting, executive dashboard)? What is the ideal number?


For Operations Center <http://www.hp.com/go/opc>, Peter Spielvogel

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