CA … Automating Virtualization Management

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<ul><li> 1. White Paper www.butlergroup.com Automating Virtualization Management Critical Management Practices for the Next Generation Data Center Analysis without compromise </li> <li> 2. White Paper www.butlergroup.com Written by: Roy Illsley Published March 2009 All rights reserved. This publication, or any part of it, may not be reproduced or adapted, Butler Direct Limited by any method whatsoever, without prior written Butler Direct Limited consent. THE EXPANSION OF X86 VIRTUALIZATION The economics of globalization demand that organizations adapt business models and working practices more rapidly than previous paradigm shifts have required, which can be summarized by the need to be more responsive, more agile, and more cost effective. The role of IT is now central to many organizations and as such is seen as the catalyst for transforming organizations future prospects; virtualization of the x86 market has presented a plethora of new opportunities that IT departments must prioritize and harness if they are to drive the organization forward. Butler Group has identified three key opportunities that virtualization offers organizations wanting to operate effectively in the new global economy, and these can be categorized as: automation, flexibility, and business alignment. However, all of these need the technology to be managed effectively so that they can deliver against the promise. While many virtualization reports are focused on the reduction in Run The Business (RTB) costs enabled by increasing the utilization of the server estate, and by implication reducing the overall power consumption, we believe those benefits to be widely understood, and advocate that organizations to look beyond this use of virtualization towards how it and systems management can transform an organizations modus operandi and hence its future prosperity. According to Datamonitor research 70% of the cost of running a data center is attributed to the people costs, and many research projects have found that on average 80% of all system outages are due to human error. Therefore, the ability to automate the delivery of services, the change process, and the dynamic use of resources represents a major opportunity for IT not only to reduce the RTB costs, but also to increase the service levels, enabling its end users to be more productive and innovative in how IT is used. Agility and flexibility are terms that have been used so often by technology vendors that their impact on CIOs has been eroded; however, where real agility can be delivered, and when it is combined with automation, organizations are transformed. While it is true to say that x86 virtualization enables agility, it is not correct to say that it equals agility. Butler Group considers the role of systems management as the ultimate tool that provides the technology-agnostic management capability needed to orchestrate the environment and deliver true agility to the enterprise. Until recently only mainframe and enterprise-class server users have been able to easily flex the IT resources so that their performance and service levels are aligned with the business objectives. However, as x86 virtualization has evolved, this capability has become available to a much wider audience. The biggest question often heard is so how do I align my IT resources with my organization objectives, then? the answer is to use tools that have the visibility from an end-user perspective of the level of service received, the ability to prioritize workload automatically based on high-level business rules, and the underlying technology infrastructure that enables its resources to be dynamically adjusted based on the interpretation of these rules. We believe that only a few system management vendors have the current capability and future vision that support this need to manage transformational technologies from a business perspective. The Transformational Impact of x86 Virtualization on Management Many long-serving IT practitioners can remember when numerous organizational IT departments were run in a rather seat-of-the-pants fashion, with little regard for standards, formal processes, or quality-control procedures flexible perhaps, but unreliable as well. However, today many organizations have deployed not only standard processes and procedures based on frameworks like ITIL, but they also use systems and data center management tools in an attempt to make IT more reliable and predictable and to further ITIL goals/maturity. 2 CA Automating Virtualization Management Butler Direct Limited </li> <li> 3. www.butlergroup.com White Paper This situation has created its own set of problems, most notably the fact that more and more technologies have been developed and deployed, each with its own management capability, and that these products are often add- ons to an existing complex data center management picture. This is characterized by the siloed nature of the tools and those operational teams that use them, which provides a lack of consistency in the way the technology is managed, and this adds to the complexity and cost of managing a data center. Consider the task of starting Virtual Machines (VMs): each vendor has its own set of instructions and interfaces with which administrators control and manage the operation. Butler Group believes that the time has come to think strategically about systems and data center management, and how they can be used in a coordinated, automated, and effective manner to deliver real business benefit. Some leading vendors, such as CA, have strategies and solutions that are designed to operate at this level within enterprise deployments. Traditionally, organizational IT structures have evolved based on these siloed tools and are often characterized by many different siloed teams of technical specialists; these silos often drive the technology selection process within an organization, which to a large extent is governed by the existing skills within the organizations IT department. This approach has created tensions between the requirements of the business users and the capabilities of the IT department to manage the technology. The result of this siloed approach is that IT resources are locked into technologies, and organizations face expensive retraining or new hiring costs if technologies new to the organization are selected. At Butler Group we believe the new, more holistic approach to systems management where the simplification of management activities enables the IT department to manage the technology stack at a higher level, and therefore enables it to manage a wider range of technologies more efficiently is an important new development that will help take IT departments to the next level in terms of exploiting virtualization across systems, storage, network, desktop, and application infrastructures, for business benefit. We term this new approach Business Technology, where through the use of new technical capabilities (such as x86 virtualization) empowerment of the end user is enabled. However, to fully exploit this paradigm shift that virtualization exposes, organizations must revise the way in which their computing is funded and managed. This involves moving from a project focus to a usage-based scenario, which requires management tools to not only understand what is happening, but also what resources are being consumed to provide a level of service. Key technology requirements to enable the usage-based scenario are integrations and policy and models-based management engines. The Growing Significance of Automation The potential for virtualization to be a transformational technology is dependent on how it links with the business requirements, which the technology itself does not do but any management layer must. Butler Group has used the term Infrastructure Orchestration (see Figure 1) as the capability needed to link the high-level business investment and strategy tools (such as CA Clarity PPM), with the IT Service Management (ITSM) tools (such as CA Service Desk Manager) and Service Assurance and Business-Driven Automation (CA Wily Application Performance Management, CA Spectrum Infrastructure Manager and CA Spectrum Automation Manager). We believe that only an intelligent middle layer that can use the business language and variable business priorities and policies, as well as understanding the infrastructure resources available, can successfully enable organizations to deliver the quality of service to the end users in line with their expectations and with the organizations stated costs. Butler Direct Limited CA Automating Virtualization Management 3 </li> <li> 4. White Paper www.butlergroup.com Figure 1 Infrastructure Orchestration (Source: Butler Group) We believe that this business link is the missing component from many leading vendors systems management solutions, and yet while many vendors have embraced virtualization, they have done so from a technical perspective. Butler Group considers this to be at odds with what the end-user organizations are demanding in terms of business focus on how IT is used and delivered. We further believe that, as the economic conditions make growth prospects less likely, organizations will be looking to IT for leadership in obtaining a differentiated or innovative solution to drive the business to be more profitable. Therefore, the role of automation becomes more central to the management activities: as only by being capable of taking preventative action based on real-time information can IT provide the platform needed for organizations to be more responsive to market conditions. The role of automation has seen it move away from the early concepts of Artificial Intelligence (AI), where human-like responses were assumed to be the way forward towards a more pragmatic approach based on a systems ability to learn the required behaviors from a series of high-level rules or objectives. This approach takes a biological cell-like view based on the concept of a cell performing a single function that can be combined with others in a sequence to generate a solution to a particular problem. The systems management tools are beginning to embed this capability in products such as security products like CA IAM Suite, where a system knows normal behavior in terms of login attempts and if it sees this pattern being altered it assumes a Denial of Service (DoS) attack has been instigated and shuts down the ability to access corporate systems to deliver the kind of systems automation needed to manage the virtual resources dynamically and to ensure that systems availability is maximized. THE CHALLENGES OF MANAGING IN A VIRTUALIZED ENVIRONMENT Managing in a virtualized environment has a number of specific and unique challenges, and these are as much about having a tool as they are about having well-defined IT processes and procedures. The implementation of virtual environments has been characterized as an add-on, and not as a strategic core deployment; this adoption approach has created the conditions that have produced the issues and divisions at the management layer currently experienced by many early adopters. One of the biggest challenges is how to mitigate the risk of deploying a new technology that by its very nature introduces additional layers of technology to make the solution more flexible from an end users perspective. 4 CA Automating Virtualization Management Butler Direct Limited </li> <li> 5. www.butlergroup.com White Paper Butler Group advocates that organizations select any systems management tool carefully, ensuring that it meets at least these three basic objectives: that it makes the management tasks simpler; that it provides a comprehensive set of capabilities; and that it is fully integrated (this does not necessarily mean it must be a single vendors solution, rather it must have the ability to use and share information easily, i.e., integrated physical and virtual management. Organizations are looking for a simple, integrated capability for the entire data center, so any tool must manage physical and virtual platforms, and offer customers the opportunity to integrate across disciplines. Point solutions that are solely focused on virtual environments create the very problem that virtualization is designed to eradicate: the isolation of data, and fragmented management. Security is always a concern, but in a virtual environment this assumes a new significance: the Hypervisor executes under the operating system, which means the operating system does not know it exists. Therefore, the Hypervisor, or its technology, represents a new threat, one where a root-kit malware could potentially reside undetected by traditional security products. Butler Group believes that virtualization needs new solutions to solve these new security challenges, and any systems management tool must recognize that current techniques may not be appropriate in a virtual environment. Virtualization enables many more organizations to invest in the use of automation and service management; however, automation requires a source of data that can support its decisions, and a set of rules or policies that guide the automated decision making process. When this is combined with a services perspective, any tool must support the level of control, and hence collect data at the correct level of granularity, to enable the services to be managed effectively. The ability to understand, in near real time, how IT services are performing and incorporate this knowledge into automated workflows is a paramount management requirement. Another, often overlooked, aspect of managing in a virtualized environm...</li></ul>