Infrastructure Management Software Blog

Virtualized service management for real-world environments

A guest blog by Judy Redman, who has been writing about software for over 20 years.
- Peter

Virtualization is a technology that first proved its effectiveness in lab environments where it was deployed for testing and development. Now customers are asking how they can extend the successes from the lab into mission-critical production environments.  HP has recently published a white paper that can help you employ virtualization in your real-world environment.  As we are all aware, production environments are much more complex, involving a plethora of relationships and dependencies among IT elements often across distributed networks. 

To support business services in this context, production environments must offer:
• high availability,
• redundancy protection,
• data persistence,
• integration across a wide range of applications,
• and links to other business processes.

These are no easy feats for the IT department.  With the introduction of virtualization into production environments, the ease and speed of provisioning virtual machines comes at the cost of increasing complexity.  This must be managed in order to realize the full potential of virtualization in the production world. Otherwise, enterprises run the risk of trading capital expenditure savings for operational costs.

Companies report mixed results

As a result, less than one-third of companies are completely satisfied with their virtualization deployments, says an Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) study.

Other findings from the same study reveal that:
• Seventy-nine percent of organizations deploy virtualization technology in heterogeneous environments.  Each organization uses an average of 11 different platforms, technologies and vendors for management purposes.
• Fifty percent use only the management tools provided by the vendor for each virtualization tool in their environment.
• Sixty-seven percent of organizations maintain multiple departments for delivery and support functions.
• Thirty-four percent of organizations report a lack of internal skills required to manage virtualization adequately.
• Forty percent of organizations say they do not have the resources to implement virtualization or expand existing implementations.

Service management approach needed

So what do these survey results tell us?  Companies need to manage virtualization in the same way they oversee other mission-critical technologies -- via a common service management approach.  This holistic approach accounts for both physical and virtual assets alike.  And, IT is able to orchestrate the provisioning of virtual machines across heterogeneous infrastructure tiers.  This way software configuration changes in the real-world environment can be coordinated with the simultaneous provisioning of applications, VMs, physical servers, network, and storage elements.

A service management approach to virtualization allows IT operations to:
• monitor the health of the virtual/physical infrastructure before production;
• gain a full understanding of how system updates and patches will impact the business service before the updates are rolled out;
• monitor the infrastructure in production in context to the applications that it depends on along with the network where it resides.

To learn more about how to implement a service management approach to virtualization, download the related white paper, Key management strategies for your virtualized environment: maximizing your ROI on virtualisation.


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