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Rethinking Management in a Virtualized World

Hello, my name is Rob Smoot. I’m Director of Product Marketing for VMware’s vCenter management products.
In my nearly 6 years at VMware it has been exciting to watch how
virtualization has started transforming IT.  Fortunately for customers
(and for us… I admit I like being at a company that is growing!), this
transformation is still in its early phases. This revolution started by
helping customers to eliminate excess hardware capacity and capex
spending. I believe our next wave of innovation will reduce the
overwhelming complexity and operational cost of managing IT. In fact,
this is essential for the industry and for customers to deliver on the
notion of cloud computing or IT as a Service.

If you subscribe to
a future like VMware envisions where IT acts more like a service
provider and builds private clouds for internal customers, it’s worth
examining how other large public cloud service providers like Amazon
manage their environments. Perhaps better stated, how they manage
to scale their provisioning and operations to satisfy highly variable
demand in a predictable way as customers serve themselves. To start,
they offer only a few options. They don’t custom build to each incoming
request, which is the norm for most IT shops who are struggling to keep
up with the overwhelming demands of the business. Next, management
functionality is built into the system and highly automated to limit
dependence on human intervention. IT cannot afford an army of skilled
staff waiting on other end of a self-service portal to provision and
manage each environment. Finally, cloud environments are built with
highly standardized components and a lot of resiliency. When low level
components in the digital supply chain break, redundancy is built in,
broken parts are removed, and IT services keep running. In short, a
self-service approach and IT’s journey to become more like a service
provider requires a new level of automation and policy-based
control that is not possible with physical infrastructure and
traditional management approaches.

Internal IT can and must
replicate these aspects of the service provider model to simplify the
overwhelming complexity of management for the cloud era.  Easier said
than done, I know. Fortunately, the starting point and foundation for
this model is fully virtualized resources that can be manipulated, well…
like software! Most customers are on this path today. Virtualization
alone improves management in areas such as instant provisioning, but it
also introduces new challenges such as keeping pace with dynamic
infrastructure which doesn’t fit traditional management processes
designed for static environments. It becomes critical that management
technologies understand and take advantage of virtual environments, not
only to survive during the transition from physical to virtual but to
thrive with a new and different approach to management where it is more a
part of the system itself.

In future posts I’ll delve deeper
into how management changes in a fully virtualized or cloud environment.
I’ll also give you an inside view into how we are thinking differently
about management as we strive to solve today’s challenges and prepare
customers for a different approach to management in the cloud era.

This entry was posted in Private Cloud, Virtualization Management on by .
Rob Smoot

About Rob Smoot

Rob leads the marketing organization for VMware’s Virtualization & Cloud Management business. In this role Rob is responsible for taking a broad portfolio of cloud automation, cloud operations and overall IT business management solutions to market. Previously at VMware he led product marketing for the flagship vSphere vCenter product lines. Prior to VMware he held various corporate, product and sales strategy roles at Veritas and consulted software and technology clients on improving business processes and results. Rob received his MBA from Wharton Business School with emphasis on entrepreneurship and marketing.