I had the pleasure this week of hosting an expert panel on Intelligent Operations Management at the Boston VMUG USERCON https://www.vmug.com/bosvmug.

The panelists included:

The recurring theme from panelists and attendees, was that cloud computing is forcing IT organizations to drastically rethink how they manage their data centers. The conversation centered on a few key areas, including management vs. monitoring, automation and convergence.

Management vs. Monitoring

Michael Sheehan kicked off a spirited conversation, stating that customers need to leverage management solutions like vRealize Operations http://www.vmware.com/products/vrealize-operations.html more strategically, as “management solutions vs. monitoring tools.” Thinking further about Michael’s comments, he is spot on. Historically, management has been a very reactive game of chasing events, with operations teams often playing defense vs. offense. Operations teams often stare at screens, waiting for an alert when something goes wrong, and then spend valuable time and resources firefighting the issue.

But cloud computing requires a much more proactive approach to operations management that expands the conversation to the needs and requirements of the business. When considering cloud solutions, costing, performance and capacity become critical parts of the puzzle, and can shift dramatically based on the particular application or business use case. Michael’s point is important, because it requires a subtle, but important shift in the way we approach managing complex, hybrid cloud environments. Michael and his team have elevated operations beyond monitoring to true management, by aligning his operations strategy with the unique needs of a fast growing biomedical business and research organization.  By making this shift, Michael and his team have also transformed how he and his team are perceived within the four walls of their organizations, as innovators and enablers of his research team, so they are able to spend their time creating breakthrough treatments and pharmaceuticals.

Automation and Convergence

The second half of the panel focused on an equally important topic, automation and convergence, which was led by Marcus Puckett, Thomas Bryant and Mike Eisenberg. When many people think of automation, they think of products like vRealize Automation http://www.vmware.com/products/vrealize-automation.html, which have revolutionized the way IT groups provision and deliver new services. But the panel was quick point out that automation is a continuum, which starts with a solid operations management foundation. The panel emphasized that vRrealize Operations should be working hand-in-hand with vRealize Automation, ensuring that new services are being provisioned to bullet proof infrastructure. Michael Sheehan made another very important point, stating that the industry has to align their operations management strategies with more of a DevOps mentality, to help increase agility and respond more quickly to the requirements of the business.

Another theme highlighted by the panel, was convergence, meaning that operations teams can no longer manage compute, network and storage domains as individual stovepipes. The panel made the point that operations teams that continue to cling to this legacy approach, whether because of internal politics or a desire to maintain the status quo, will quickly be left behind because of the increasing pressures and economies of cloud computing. Panelists emphasized that managing cloud, means having visibility across all domains, and that virtualization has effectively broken down the walls between these compute, network and storage.

Thank you to the panelists for sharing their insights during this week’s Boston VMUG USERCON. if you are interested in learning more about best practices for managing cloud and virtual environments, please register for our upcoming webcast on November 15th. https://vts.inxpo.com/scripts/Server.nxp?LASCmd=AI:4;F:QS!10100&ShowKey=35482&AffiliateData=UWSocial_vSphereBlog.

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