Virtualization & Cloud Computing Management Products

Nonetheless all the benefits Virtualization & Cloud Computing have brought to the table, they have came with their own challenges. Virtualization has reduced the cost and time of deploying an application, where Cloud Computing has added Agility & Self Service to the equation that has caused virtual machines to get out of control in many datacenters.

As IT departments have no acquisition time  and cost associated with creating VMs from existing resources, VMs creation madness could hit most new Virtual Infrastructure Admins though it normally take them only a short while to realize they are burning out to manage the endlessly growing number of VMs in their environment. Increasing number of applications in the datacenter, with a IT budget cut can make the admins life miserable without a good management tools. This shall bring you to the importance of an  Enterprise Management Products that has been built from the ground up with Virtualization/Cloud Computing in mind.

As I have noticed that most companies  fall for the mistake of ignoring Enterprise Management Products when they are planning for their Virtualization or Cloud Computing Project, I thought I will share VMware Enterprise Management Products & Some Third Party Management Products & How they fit in a virtualized or Cloud Computing environment. This page here will do a quick introduction to many Virtualization/Cloud Computing Management Products & will link to a more detailed posts of each product (That I will be putting in the future). This page will serve as kinda of an Index to my Enterprise Management Products That I will be covering on my blog.

While researching around VMware Enterprise Management Products offering, I have came across a great video by Ramin Sayar (Vice President of Products Enterprise Management @ VMware). The video was not available for public, but as I thought it was a great video not to share I have asked his permission to share it & was granted that. If you are not to read anything in this post scroll right down to the end of this page and watch his video as it totally summarize what I am going to cover on this page. It should give you a great brief of VMware Enterprise Management Products and how they will fit in your Virtualization or Private/Hybrid Cloud.

Ramin terminology of how the two elements that critical of the success of building your private Cloud is summarized into two main items. The first is what we like to call a Zero-Touch Infrastructure & the second one we like to refer to as Automated Operation. After that he succeed into pairing VMware Enterprise Management products and how they fit in achieving these two goals. I believe its a great way of seeing how management products will help you succeed in building your Private Cloud, so I will adopt the same in here.

Zero-Touch Infrastructure:

In order to achieve a Zero-Touch Infrastructure, there is three critical requirements that you will need to cover.

1- Enhanced Resource Utilization

Most of you will be familiar with VMware vSphere features that Enhance Resource Utilization, below just a quick recall for some of it:

DRS (Distributed Resource scheduler): Balance VMs across hosts, which ensure an optimized performance for the VMs as well allow you to better utilize your hosts.

Storage DRS: Balance VMs across Storage Volumes / Datastores

DPM (Distributed Power Management): Help you save on power & Cooling (Reduce Power usage & required cooling), by shutting down none required hosts at low utilization hours.

Memory Optimization Technologies: VMware has multiple layer of memory management technologies that optimize memory utilization (Ex: Transparent Page Sharing, Ballooning, Memory Compression)

Thin Provisioning: Help you save on Disk Space.

* The beauty of this its already a part of vSphere, so you don’t have to buy anything extra to achieve this.

2- Availability Optimization

Most of you will be familiar with VMware vSphere features that Optimize Availability, below just a quick recall for some of it:

VMware HA(High Availability): Protect your VMs against a host failure by automatically restarting them on another host.

VMware FT(Fault Tolerance): provides continuous protection for the protected VM’s during a host failure, it does this by creating a live shadow of the protected VM and keeps the primary and secondary VM’s in sync using lockstep technology which provide a Zero-Downtime failover to the secondary VM.

VCenter Site Recover Manager(SRM): Provide best of bread Disaster Recovery solution for your Virtualized environment. It covers the requirement of having a dependable DR solution/Plan in place.

3- Self Service Provisioning

An Important part for achieving zero touch infrastructure is the ability to enable standardized services while defining, measuring, and managing policies around access control and around what type of services you want to offer to end users.

vCloud Director: vCloud Director help customers to Agile & Standardize their services through Self-Provisioning, access control, and policy management.

vCloud Request Manager: Request Manager help customers not only with the request & approval process, but as well complying with their software licenses.

Charge Back: Charge Back help customers with measuring the usage & being able to report it back to the users in line of business. It can help increase accountability for IT Infrastructure usage by different business units.

Automate Operations:

The same way the vSphere platform help you achieve Zero-Touch Infrastructure, VMware has introduced multiple management products that help you Automate Operations and cover the main three critical requirements to a fully Automated Operations as shown below:

1- Proactive Performance Management

Customers have always complained about performance management products reporting too many false positive alerts, as well they still hear about their performance problems from the users before their performance management tools has reported it. For that reason VMware has introduced:

vCenter Operations Manager: vCenter Operations Manager has an enhanced patent Algorithm and  Analytic mechanisms that highly reduce false positive alerts as well ensure the IT department can spot upcoming performance problems & respond to it before it affect the users which in turn enable a Proactive  Performance Management.

2- Integrated Capacity Management

As most IT Admins in the market today has came from the physical infrastructure world, many still apply the same sizing of physical servers to virtual machines which usually over-provision resources for the VM that could have been utilized for other VMs. As the number of VMs in an environment increase, its critical to right size the VMs to reduce resources waste,  reduce administration over head, improve consolidation ration and reduce Licenses cost associated with it.

vCenter CapacityIQ: vCenter CapacityIQ not only could help administrator report idle VMs, claim unused VMs, report over-provisioned VMs, but it can as well help them correctly size their VMs, Infrastructure, & model future growth and what if scenarios.

3- Configuration & Compliance Management

One of the most challenging tasks for most organization is to ensure that all their systems are compliance with their own standards, vendors best practices, and Industry standards that enforced on them. Further, enforcing change management & ensuring no one is doing non booked changes have been a hassle to track for most organizations. To help with this VMware has introduced:

vCenter Configuration Manager: vCenter Configuration manager have many vendors best practices, Most used industry standards and regulatory mandates (such as Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, PCI DSS, DISA, ISO 27002, and 802-53) built in into it which update regularly & it can check your environment compliance against it & rectify it when needed. Further, organization can have their own standards created and enforced by vCenter Configuration Manager. vCenter Configuration Manager can as well be utilized for deployment of ESXi, OS, Patching, & applications. Further, it can be integrated with many third party service desk management software, which allow you to see if any changes has happened to your environment without a record in your service desk management, which enhance change control.

As you can see VMware has at the moment a complete Management Products portfolio that many people are still not aware of many of its abilities. I thought to share it on here & each product name will be changed into a hyper-link as I post about that particular product which is the plan. For now please enjoy  Ramin Sayar video below that greatly summarize what I have covered here in this articles in a great easy to understand manner.