At VMware we understand it’s not enough just to build a dynamic, virtualized infrastructure – you also need to manage it. So we’ve been hard at work simplifying and transforming infrastructure management by building functionality such as dynamic workload balancing and high availability into the VMware vSphere platform. On March 8th, we took another big step on our journey to be the leading provider of infrastructure and management solutions for dynamic virtualized and cloud environments. We announced a new management product and strategy to help customers on the journey to the hybrid cloud – VMware vCenter Operations.
This launch is proof that VMware is delivering on its commitment to being the leader in the virtualization and cloud management space. And, as they say, the proof is in the pudding -- I’m happy to report that the response from the press and industry analysts has been overwhelmingly positive. According to IDC, vCenter Operations addresses “… a critical set of functionality that is required for effective operation of highly virtualized datacenter environments.” SiliconAngle wrote that it “…proactively ensures service levels in dynamic cloud environments, getting to the root cause of performance problems faster, optimizes deployments in ‘real-time’ to enable self-service provisioning, and maintains compliance in the face of constant change.”
So what was the thinking behind the vCenter Ops launch?
If you’re like most of our customers you recognize that cloud computing is a fundamentally new and different approach to IT, and you probably have a cloud initiative underway. You’re looking to implement the power of virtualization to build a new, dynamic infrastructure and new models for IT service delivery and consumption. That’s great, but what’s not so great are the new management challenges you’re encountering. I’m hearing loud and clear from my conversations with customers that delivering on the benefits of cloud – greater agility, lower cost – is difficult to impossible without a new model for managing operations.
Let me take a minute or two to talk about why that is. Virtualization – the foundation for cloud computing – provides a much more dynamic and pooled infrastructure. The traditional way of running IT – tightly bound vertical technology stacks – has given way to elastic pools of infrastructure resources. Now, these pools are constantly changing, and they need to be dynamically reconfigured to ensure availability and quality of service. Ops teams are having difficulty handling all this change and it’s impacting the availability and performance of the services they deliver to the business.
I believe the root of the problem is complexity – complex processes, complex tools and a lot of costly, elbow grease to fix things when they go wrong. Your ops team just doesn’t have the bandwidth to deal with the sea of red generated by underlying systems based on static thresholds. That is, until end users start complaining about a performance problem. This situation is only getting worse with the explosion of data from constant change at the infrastructure layer. What IT needs is a way to break through the noise. Manual effort doesn’t work; you need a way to automatically correlate changes to identify situations that have to be dealt with before the complaints start flying.
Not to be too provocative or anything (but what’s the point of a blog if you don’t say at least one thing that could get you into trouble?), many of traditional datacenters I’ve visited are fraught with complacency and risk. Cloud computing is a paradigm shift and traditional tools, disciplines, teams and processes need to evolve in order to deliver more standardized services. If you’re not making these changes you’d better get a move on if you ultimately want to benefit from the opportunity and promise of the cloud.
We built vCenter Operations on the simple but powerful insight that in virtual and cloud environments the relationship between performance, capacity, and configuration is intricately linked. Configurations are fluid, capacity is shared and sourced from many places (multiple providers, infrastructure tiers, etc). The fact is all of these moving parts can impact performance. In vCenter Operationss we’ve built in visibility across your systems with the intelligence – through advanced analytics – to get to what’s important from the millions of pieces of data that feed into the tool. At the end of the day what you get is more integration and more automation around these three core management disciplines. And that means fewer complaints and fewer headaches for you.
So what’s next? Well, for one thing we’re not stopping at infrastructure and operations management. In the brave new world of cloud the next challenge is how you manage your applications – how you build them, how you deploy them, how you ensure their performance and availability and, ultimately, how you retire them. The infrastructure changes I’ve discussed are going to force some pretty fundamental changes to the incredibly complex way that apps are developed and released and then managed in production. We’re working on some innovative and cool new solutions that we aren’t ready to talk about just yet but trust me, we’re excited and I think you will be, too.
The launch of vCenter Ops is now successfully behind us, but we’re going to keep working hard not only to help you simplify and transform the way you build your cloud infrastructure but also how you automate and manage it. If you’re ready for the next step on your journey to the cloud, contact us at VMware – we’re ready to help.