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Five new virtualization challenges

As virtualization capabilities are built into networking, storage, applications and databases giving shape to the software defined data centre, problems with management and visibility across data centre boundaries will emerge. A recent survey by SolarWinds revealed that more than 700 IT professionals in six countries across the globe agreed that virtualization technology contributes significantly to management challenges, indicating the impact is undeniable and vast.

With the software defined data centre transition an imminent reality, the following five management challenges arising from the survey should be considered by every business continuity manager:

Virtual mobility impacts network optimization
Virtualization has typically operated within a contained portion of the network such that changes in the virtualization environment didn’t usually impact the broader network. With improvements and increased adoption of workload mobility technologies like Metro vMotion and storage vMotion that make it easier to move workloads geographically, the rapid movement of workloads could cause new problems for the overall enterprise network.

Storage tries to keep up with virtual mobility & software-defined networks
If both compute and networks become more software-defined and flexible then storage can get left behind. Advanced planning and technology investments will be required for storage to make sure that the storage systems can handle the mobility enabled by server virtualization and software-defined networking.

The virtual I/O blender becomes mission critical
Storage I/O has been a limiting factor for virtualizing many I/O intensive applications, such as databases. With technologies like solid state disk (SSD) opening the door to many of these mission critical applications, failures in performance and capacity management will have an even greater impact on the business and end users. Further, IOPS demand created by desktop virtualisation can be significantly different than server virtualization, requiring more low-latency, and usually more expensive hardware.

Application control meets real-time automation
Most failures are caused by something changing. As a result, applications teams have traditionally put very tight controls on changes to mission critical application systems. Virtualization and automation on the other hand, make it very fast and easy to create new systems or make changes to existing systems or even entire clusters of systems and application stacks. These two cultures will have to find ways to leverage the power and flexibility of virtualisation without introducing instability into critical virtualized applications.

Virtualization reaches across silos
Network, storage, applications, and compute all come together at the virtualization layer. While server virtualization is by far the most mature component of a software defined data centre, the next challenge will be to look outside the compute boundaries to figure out how to best manage and coordinate changes/actions with other technology areas. As the pace of change increases across all the interrelated technology, the IT professionals managing the virtualization layer will increasingly have to be the coordinating ‘glue’ to keep other teams aligned.


•Date: 23rd August 2013 • World •Type: Article • Topic: ICT continuity

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