For all the great work being done on the management of virtual machines these days, much of it may be missing the point.
That's one of the tenets behind a new FactFinder application management offering from a startup company called BlueStripe Software that is making its debut at the Demo conference.
Instead of tracking all the virtual machines, BlueStripe allows IT managers to manage all the applications that are running on top of those virtual machines.
As we all know, virtual environments can be pretty dynamic. That means that underlying virtual machine infrastructure can be a little volatile, which means that resources that any given application can be tapping might change frequently as customers launch new virtual machines on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, most existing application management tools are blind to virtualization. They typically rely on gathering information on the applications they manage by relying on physical servers to relay they information. But the insertion of a virtual machine layer on a physical server cuts them off from the data on the physical server.
Even with existing application management tools, a lot of the folks in IT are never really sure what IT assets any given application might ultimately be using. As we move from a world where an IT organization might have thousands of virtual machines running across hundreds of servers, keeping track of what applications are using what resources is only going to get more complicated, especially in fluid environments where virtual machines can come and go with little notice.
Ultimately, IT organizations are going to find themselves trying to manage applications that will be relying on a mix of virtual and physical servers to power them given the fact that not all server technologies, such as databases, support virtualization equally well.
In the meantime, the advent of tools such as FactFinder should give the people that have responsibility for delivering applications more confidence in virtual environments. A lot of applications that could run across virtual machine environments are being held up simply because the people charged with managing those applications don't have complete faith in the performance attributes of virtual servers.
This doesn't mean that every application tomorrow is ready to run across a virtual server. But it does mean that a lot more applications that tend to be not be as performance sensitive might be ready to make the move now that the people running the hardware can finally show the folks responsible for the applications what is actually going on under the covers.