Throughout 2009, virtualization will continue to be disruptive and impact IT management on multiple fronts. First, VM Administrators and IT Management will be pushed to drive ROI from virtualization efforts. Second, managing business applications will stress relations between Application Owners (those responsible for keeping applications available and performing well), and VM Administrators/IT Management (who are pushing to convert more servers -especially those with business-critical applications running on them.) This culminates in application management becoming a focal point - as the datacenter becomes more dynamic, with pieces of applications and services using a variety of resources for businesses to realize ROI from their virtualization efforts and drive business efficiency.
Today's organizations are pushing hard to realize the benefits of virtualizing their systems. But as easy conversions are being completed, new challenges are arising.
According to industry analysts, initial server conversions - roughly 12-15% of total servers -represent the easiest to convert. These are typically non-criticalservers; print servers, file servers; those that are low risk, low transaction,and non-critical to the business. If the conversion fails, it won't trulyhurt the business. If it isn't functioning at its highest capacity, the impact is still minimal.
This can't be said about the next challenge for VM Administrators. Converting servers with integrated, complex business-critical applications is next on their list. But application owners are hesitant to risk converting their application if it means less manageability. To manage the application, they need complete application visibility down to the individual process-level, in order to understand the dependencies and ensure it's functioning and operating properly.
Better management solutions will be a necessity for effectively handling applications running on a virtual infrastructure. Though many tools deliver strong value, managing complex business applications cannot succeed by solely managing the VM or the server. Inherently, managing the dynamic data center in this manner doesn't enable the application owner to see how the application is functioning and what is impacting its performance, as well as where it is actually residing.
In tomorrow's virtual, dynamic data center, application management needs to become application-centric versus hardware and VM centric. This involves following the application wherever it goes, tracking dependencies and understanding from a process-level what the application is dependent upon to ensure it is operating optimally.
Once the application can be viewed and its performance measured, potential bottlenecks and performance problems can be isolated. If there are service-level issues,those need to be highlighted and brought to the attention of both the application owner and IT Support team for quick triage and fast resolution inorder to keep the application available and ensure "business" is not interrupted.
Today, a new generation of application service management (ASM) tools is capable of capturing real application-centric performance data - a first for the virtualized data center environment. This gives application owners the confidence to virtualize complex applications, knowing they will perform as expected.
With visibility and ASM providing details on service levels within the application, IT service management (ITSM), service-oriented architecture (SOA), and business service management (BSM) can offer additional insights into services being used. ITSM requires a process-based approach to align the delivery of IT services with the needs of the enterprise. This allows enterprise executives and IT management personnel to determine the status of various processes and identify potential problem areas - all beginning with delivering application visibility at the process level.