Almost every other article or blog or survey I read nowadays discusses virtualization and cloud computing topics. Why? Partly because IT operations and infrastructure professionals are facing difficulty monitoring and managing computing resources in a distributed environment. They have to ensure that capacity is always available to be assigned as demanded by applications or users without affecting service levels and costs. This is easier said than done especially when your virtualized pool of resources will grow in size every year.
The benefits from server virtualization can’t be fully realized unless IT groups can track and analyze use, availability and performance from physical and virtual IT resources quickly and accurately. IT groups also need to measure virtualization successes in terms of what business units stand to gain – whether it is calculating reduced customer call waiting time or total cost per help desk contact per month.
In a recent articleavailable on BeyeNETWORK, I have described a step-by-step approach on how data center professionals can take an analytical approach to server virtualization initiative and get positive results. Two key steps are involved as you orchestrate large numbers of dynamically changing physical servers, network resources, and virtual machines:
- Model the physical and virtual IT resource availability and future needs before they start affecting the business performance. Strong data integration capabilities will help to enrich the IT data mart with statistically relevant, normalized and timely information for further analysis.
- A range of analysis and reporting techniques or capabilities is critical, each oriented toward optimizing IT resources, financial and service-level strategies (e.g., workload profiling, resource consolidation, service-level measurements and improvements, capacity planning, chargeback).
With an analytical approach to virtualization, IT departments can avoid being trapped into imbalance across the IT resource footprint. It will also help to link IT metrics to corresponding business metrics and help senior IT management staff to demonstrate business value. Of course, proper management and optimization of your server virtualization infrastructure also requires experience and contribution from (with) tools, processes, and people.
Agree or Disagree? Let’s open up for comments, arguments, additions, questions. Stay tuned for my future entries on specific topics like data mining, analytics, business intelligence for IT, Grid Computing and more.