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5 Deadly Landmines on the Path to Virtualization


5 Deadly Landmines on the Path to Virtualization


Overcome them to reduce outage and downtime risks and realize virtualization efficienciesThe savings from moving to virtualization may be considerably less than expected if you don't address some major hurdles. And making things worst: poorly managed virtual environment can risk the performance and availability of your business application, and that's something you really can't tolerate – can you?

Virtualization offers great promise to IT environments, and enterprises are adopting it at a rapid pace. However, as enterprises strive to exploit virtualization opportunities and the deployment of virtual machines expands, new challenges have arisen, particularly in the area of change management and configuration management.  

Limited Visibility into VM Content

Virtual machines encapsulate application and infrastructure configurations, rendering visibility of virtualized infrastructure into an impenetrable 'black box' – complicating efforts for identifying, tracking and validating a configuration and changes for each virtual machine. As a result incidents become more difficult to diagnose and resolve, and environment drift is inevitable. The management is driven by the VM rather than the application, due to the separation of virtual information from guest content.

Abundant amounts of environmental information hide the real issues.

The Risk of Sprawl

Creating and provisioning a virtual server is so simple, allowing hundreds of virtual machines to run throughout the enterprise.  And, with limited management control over image configurations, the unimpeded growth of virtualization increases the risk of mistakes.  Drift and deviation from desired configuration creates risk from the application to the virtual infrastructure. With the presence of "Invisible" images propagated in the virtual server, managing them goes beyond the reach of today's IT professionals, jeopardizing the environment's stability.

Limiting Infrastructure Perspective

The majority of existing tools managing virtualized environment focus on infrastructure management at the level of virtual machines and down, monitoring their availability, performance and configuration. Yet none of these tools evaluate the state and status of business applications that are distributed between numerous virtual machines. From collected experience in IT, it is clear that the infrastructure perspective is just one component of the business service management. However the best way to serve business needs of an organization is to manage IT from a business application perspective. The focus of virtualization vendors on just the virtualization platform complicates business application management for the enterprise.

Compromised Environment Integrit

With virtualization, IT environments have become more heterogeneous - operating as a mix of physical and virtual environments, hindering IT environment consistency – a critical factor for stability. As discrepancies grow exponentially within an environment or between environments, the risk of incidents increases. For example, a heterogeneous production environment is liable to drift as the discrepancy between production and non-production environments become even greater over time.

Complexity of incident investigation due to added virtualization layer

Virtualization technology expands the environment stack. When environment incidents occur, Incident Management and root cause analysis needs to penetrate even more layers. For example, a virtual machine can inherit changes introduced in a template used to create and deploy it, and those changes need to be tracked to stay on top of incidents triggered in that particular virtual machine, and the layers of complexity add to the difficulty.

On the surface migrating to a virtualized environment holds great promise for IT. With your applications hosted in virtualized data centers, you save the capital expense of updating hardware, cut maintenance costs, use less power, and even free up floor space.

But as we have outlined here, there are a number of barriers to fully adopting this new infrastructure, and reaping the rewards. It is well worth addressing how to properly take on these hurdles before 'going virtual', otherwise, say 6 months down the line, your finance team may be asking where are all the promised savings, and your CIO or LOB executives may be asking about business systems availability and performance issues.

Luckily, a solution is in sight – visit our Virtualization solution page to learn how Evolven Change Monitoring allows you to control sprawl, increase visibility and manage drift– resulting in reduced outage risk, minimized system downtime, and increased efficiency. Click Here.

Have experience with managing virtual environments? Share your insights with us in comments area below.

About the Author
Martin Perlin