Virtualization and automation have become mainstays of the modern data center with the latest versions of vSphere® and, more recently, Hyper-V®, as well as increasing automation built into applications, storage arrays and networking. These technology innovations have greatly increased the speed and flexibility with which changes can occur in each of these areas. Today, IT professionals can create new virtual machines in minutes and move existing machines across town without downtime.

 

The problem is that this innovation and flexibility has developed largely within silos, such as those created by compute, storage and applications. While the ability to make changes within an individual technology area rapidly and automatically has evolved, the ability to coordinate with the other technology areas affected by those changes has not kept up. For example, if one VM is overloading the CPU of a given host, the hypervisor can move the VM easily and automatically to a host that has more CPU capacity. However, that move may not be optimal for the underlying storage systems, so that fixing the CPU problem creates a storage bottleneck.

 

What is needed to address this problem? Many groups and companies are working on it, with capabilities such as software-defined data centers or cloud orchestration aimed at improving the cross-domain automation and coordination.

 

Unfortunately, having one company’s technology control and manage (and some would say commoditize) all the supporting infrastructure of the datacenter is not in the best interest of many of the big IT players, or for that matter, the consumer. As a result, cross-silo automation has not yet materialized, which leaves the responsibility for much of that cross-domain coordination with the administrators running the systems. That also increases the need for cross-domain visibility and monitoring so that administrators can see across domains and can get the information they need to coordinate between the various infrastructure and application environments in the data center quickly and automatically.

 

That is where SolarWinds® comes in. With SolarWinds Virtualization Manager Version 6.0 releasing today, we have begun putting together the end-to-end visibility that is becoming more and more necessary to keep up with the rapid change occurring in the individual technology silos. Virtualization Manager 6.0 includes integration with Server & Application Monitor (SAM) to provide visibility across the full application stack from Applications to VMs, hosts and datastores to physical server hardware and even all the way down to the storage disks via integration with Storage Manager (STM).

 

In a recent survey of our systems admin customer base, 47% of respondents indicated that the hardest problem for them to answer was, “Is the problem with my application being caused by virtualization or storage?” Additionally, having a “Single View of Application, Virtualization and Storage Data” ranked as the most important capability needed by the survey respondents.

 

With this latest release, a customer can now see the key components of the application’s underlying infrastructure in context of that application. Alternatively, the virtualization administrator can quickly understand all of the applications that are running on a given resource, such as a host or datastore, and then take appropriate actions to optimize resources and performance.

 

By providing that integrated, single view of the end-to-end application stack from within the SAM console with Virtualization Manager, administrators can now better coordinate across the silos. In this way, they can do more than optimize one resource area—they can optimize for the application (i.e., the business service) that customers need.

  

Specifically, the new capabilities in Virtualization Manager 6.0 include:

 

  • Integration with Server & Application Monitor (SAM) for in-context views of the virtualized application stack from application to virtualization to the datastore/storage
  • Deeper virtualization visibility to the datastore for SAM & NPM users
  • Enhancements to Microsoft® Hyper-V storage objects (e.g., clustered storage volumes)
  • Updated libraries and components, and improvements to the GUI, collection speeds and supportability

 

The integration will be delivered with Virtualization Manager 6.0 and will be part of SAM, so implementation should be simple. Combined with the very affordable price of both SAM and Virtualization Manager, end-to-end visibility should be very accessible to all types of users. At SolarWinds, we are still trying to keep it simple, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t taking aim at the big problems!