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With virtualization and cloud technologies moving so fast these days, don’t blame IT admins with fighting off a growing case of Vertigo (my first U2 reference, stay tuned) - that feeling of motion and dizziness when one is stationary. Traditional IT management solutions were designed for a static and deterministic world. Applying these solutions and technologies to virtualized and cloud infrastructures pushes legacy management approaches outside their original domains and results in (and explains) the common symptoms we’ve all seen - virtual sprawl, virtual stall, VM blender effects, and vMotion sickness - perhaps that’s really “Virtigo” where there is a feeling of vMotion when your old IT management tools are standing still!

 

So what happens next?  With the overwhelming benefits derived from server consolidation and capital cost reduction, virtualization quickly spreads and before long becomes an operational issue, outstripping the capabilities of management tools that weren’t designed for the speed and scale of highly dynamic virtualized and private cloud deployments (which we call “cloud-speed” and “cloud-scale”).  And this applies to IT admins just getting started with a few VMs up to large-scale, distributed environments up over 10,000 VMs and beyond.

 

Search and You Will Find

With virtualization and cloud’s rapidly exploding data set most folks still haven’t found what they’re looking for (#2 if you’re keeping track), and the only way to manage across this expanding data set is through technologies specifically designed for the speed, scale, and flexibility required for that environment. Simplifying and analyzing this data requires just the right amount of metadata, modeling, and time-series histories to provide the essential structure to this ocean of unstructured data  - to make it easy to search, visualize, and analyze.   Instead of using a one-dimensional management approach that focuses on just time-series data or model-based analysis, it’s essential to use a multi-dimensional approach that applies both model-based and time-based structure and indexing so the hyper-connected relationships and dependencies that define the fabric we manage can be navigated, explored, searched, and analyzed. 

One Solution: Unify to Simplify Virtual Operations

In One, U2’s Bono asks us “Is it Getting Better?” and with IT management it really hasn’t – too many discrete point solutions and not enough unity. Virtualization and cloud management requires a unified approach to operations, as virtualization itself is unifying the infrastructure and the way we manage it. It requires us to manage across multiple domains (system, storage, and network), multiple disciplines (capacity, performance, configuration, and chargeback), and multiple dimensions (time-based and model-based problems).  A new unified management approach is now essential.  Instead of trying to glue together physical, siloed management methodologies into a virtual, unified solution, an approach that is purpose-built and unified from the ground is a new IT management imperative.

 

The More You See The Less You Know?

With the tsunami of management data out there, IT admins can get lost in a sea of data if they don’t have the analytics and virtualization to make sense of it all. From smartphones to iPads to game consoles, user experience expectations are changing at hyper-speed and have bypassed IT management altogether.  To create a richer and more intuitive experience, management needs to leverages modern visualization technologies including interactive dashboards, mobile widgets, live, interactive components, in-context data visualization, built-in recommendations, and active links.  Interactive dashboards that embed dynamic and mobile widgets provide the basis for rich, in-context data visualization and decision making.  These building blocks also are the foundation for realizing true self-service portals and private clouds with live, interactive components directly connecting the infrastructure to the end-user through highly visual representations of the services they are consuming.

 

A 360° Tour of Virtualization

So see it all from the virtual server layer down to the storage infrastructure that supports it.  Virtualization Manager v4.0 and Storage Manager v5.0 launch this week so check them out…and try to catch the U2 tour when it hits your town this summer.  Have a Beautiful Day!

So, really why all the hype around cloud? The need for ubiquitous services offered in an economic way has been always there. But, this time its different -- Cloud economics have the potential to actually work.

Here is what we are hearing from our customers.  As they virtualize more of their environments and restructure their storage infrastructure, the move to the cloud is a natural next step. In fact, we’ve seen that most of our customers move through three general phases as they go from their first virtual server to the public cloud.  So, where are you on this continuum?

  • Assuring Availability – Early in your adoption of virtualization the focus is on availability of this new infrastructure – typically we find customers who are less than 30% virtualized thinking about this.  In our experience the bulk of the market (# of customers) are here.
  • Optimizing Performance – Once most of our customers have gotten past the 30% virtualized stage the focus shifts to slightly more complex problems.Users are trying to figure out the impact of adding more hosts and when they will run out of storage, as well as optimizing the performance and density of VMs across their infrastructure.
  • Transforming the Environment – These are the trail-blazers… Businesses who are 80+ % virtual and have a solid foundation to implement and manage a cloud strategy.  This is when IT orgs begin to look at departmental allocation and chargeback opportunities.

The common element in mastering all three phases, and thereby mastering the cloud, is MANAGEMENT.

The challenge, for most businesses right now, is that the COST of the majority of management solutions available today cancel out the cloud ROI, undermining the value everyone is seeking.  We want to help.

We acquired Hyper9, in January, to put powerful and easy to use virtualization management within reach of a much wider range of businesses; particularly those who stand to benefit the most from cloud – the mid-market. Because like the other IT Management markets in which we compete, we believe that we have a distinct advantage.  We focus on our customer needs and deliver software that allows them to succeed in their day-to-day jobs.  And, we do that at a fraction of the cost of other providers.

We are now releasing SolarWinds Virtualization Manager and SolarWinds Storage Manager, Powered by Profiler to address not only the advanced use cases for virtualization and storage resource management in a virtual environment, but also to help users lay a solid foundation for managing the Cloud.

We understand that control and visibility are key drivers of cloud adoption. This foundation is all about giving that visibility and control to IT pros whether they are considering public, private or hybrid cloud deployments.

Take the products for a spin.  Like all of our other offerings, there are full-featured, free trials available that let you see the value in your environment in just a few hours.

Oh, and let us know what you think.

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