Future of Virtualization Management – Interop Vegas

Michelle DeFiore

virtualization managementThe official title of this Interop session was “Management Futures: The Final Frontier”. (Graphic from FOCUS Research) Barb Goldworm, President & Chief Analyst for FOCUS (market research firm focused on virtualization) served as the moderator for a panel of vendor experts on the topic of the “future of virtualization management”.

On the panel: Anders Vinberg – Technical Fellow, Management and Services Division, Microsoft Ben Verghese , CTO for Virtualization Management, VMware Kia Behnia, CTO, BMC Stephen Elliot, Vice President of Strategy, CA.

So as you can see, it was a nice mix of folk and most of the players you’d actually want to talk to. Perhaps missing some important contributors with different perspectives (like ScienceLogic…) or more seriously one of the virtualization management point solution vendors would have been good to include.

In general, Goldworm sees the future of virtualization management as a shift away from device management and move towards user management and service management. There’s a lot of integration in the vision she shared and certainly in the Virtualization Management framework she put up on screen (see graphic).

FOCUS points on virtualization management: – Fast-growing ecosystem consisting of hypervisor vendors, virtualization management startups, traditional management players, systems/storage vendors – hypervisor specific vs hypervisor agnostic – virtualization management lines are blurred – doesn’t stop at performance management but also extends into capacity management, fault management, etc.

And Virtualization Management Challenges: – management of both physical and virtual to get complete view from application through OS and virtual layers to associated hardware resources – Rapidly changing landscape (still) – Many choices – point solutions, best of breed, integrated suites, frameworks Comments from the panel were both interesting and almost surprisingly in line exactly with what company they came from.

So much so that we could play a quick game here; try to guess which vendor is quoted – Microsoft, VMware, BMC or CA. Answers at the end of this post. My comments in parentheses (because I couldn’t resist).

A) One of the few pure-play management vendors (nice knock against their biggest big 4 competitors) – i.e., they don’t dabble in hardware, storage, etc. We have to be good at helping our customers manage new and emerging technologies.

We do this by designing modular solutions that address all the piece-parts of the problems new technologies bring. Customers look to us for an integrated architecture that allows them to manage across everything and transition from physical to increasingly virtualized infrastructure.

We’re going through a natural maturation process. We saw it when the Web first came out as well. Eventually it will be and should be about managing the broader data center not about “islands of compute”.

B) “Virtualization management” makes it sound like virtualization has overhead associated with it. The first benefits of virtualization included the TCO play and rapid provisioning, but people have also focused on downsides like virtual sprawl and the overhead associated with managing that.

So instead now think about it as “virtualization-enabled management” (some marketing person earned their paycheck with that one). In the end, you should be reducing operational costs and use complete automation on the infrastructure part to free up time for your people to spend against the higher-level functions and processes.

What we hear from customers: we’ve helped them with the CAPEX issue but now help me with OPEX. Virtualization gives you more levers than they had with purely physical infrastructure. We’ve made a conscious choice to focus on managing the virtual. Many orgs ask themselves, “how do we fit virtual into our existing processes?”

That’s okay as a first step but they really need to get to “how do we change processes to accommodate the unique possibilities opened up by virtualization”?

C) Management is the killer app. You group management to reduce friction. We’re going to see a revolution over the next 10 years as we learn how to take advantage of the technology. Virtualization is the enabler but is not a market by itself; rather the market is data center management, and virtualization management is a part of that.

The message from our customers is about the need for a “holistic solution”, a cohesive view of data center management. Please don’t do point solutions.

Don’t separate the physical from the virtual or the hypervisor from the system. (Hint – the panelists from BMC and CA seemed to find this pretty funny.)

D) There is a re-definition going on now in platform management that is focused more on aligning IT with the business outcomes that the CIO wants to achieve. Of course, virtualization has major impacts on infrastructure, but it should also push you to redefine management processes and search for the right tools you need to get to scale in this new highly virtualized environment.

Customers don’t want individual/point solutions; they want a dashboard across all of them, for example. CIOs are beginning to recognize and talk about internal IT as private clouds and also beginning to augment internal IT with on-demand public cloud resources.

Managing this plus automation, plus enabling self-service is what our customers are looking for.

(Hint – this speaker is a long-time analyst in the space who recently made the jump to industry.)    

Match the Quotes to the Vendor – Answers A – BMC B – VMware C – Microsoft D – CA

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