IT management nirvana? Smells like virtual and physical control

Discussion created by Chris_Hackett Employee on Oct 30, 2009
Latest reply on Oct 30, 2009 by Chris_Hackett
Published: October
28 2009, 03:27 PM by Jay Fry
I was very amused by the headline on Denise Dubie's Network World article this week about
CA's big multi-product announcement. It noted that CA and other
management vendors were working toward IT management "nirvana" -- a state that
IT has been pretty far away from. Especially when virtualization gets
involved. So, what's the main difference between where we are now and
what she described? "Now" might be described (with a little help from a certain
'90s grunge band of the same name) as "Come As You Are," "Nevermind," or
something equally dire. "IT management nirvana," on the other hand,
requires a coherent way to control your IT environment, regardless of whether
you're talking about physical or virtual components. The good news: I think CA
is addressing that combined requirement pretty well, and this week's
announcements help.
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One of the things I've liked about the CA story that I've heard since I
joined is the way in which the company directly addresses the day-to-day,
pragmatic interests of users. Breaking down management silos is one of the keys
to that. It's also worth noting that a bunch of other aspects of IT control --
big, grown-up, important concepts -- are front and center. Management,
governance, automation, and security are all in the first paragraph of CA's press release regarding virtualization management --
topics that were certainly not highlighted nor addressed by many industry
players even just six months ago. Getting to "IT management nirvana" may
not be exactly only about pragmatism, but nevertheless, I think it's some of the
practical parts of this week's announcements that are worth noting. In
particular: · Single pane of glass for physical & virtual
management. The root-cause analysis capabilities of the new CA Spectrum
Service Assurance product take both the physical & virtual into account.
It's designed to offer one place to display the impact of the physical &
virtual IT infrastructure on the services it supports. Mike Vizard's CTO
Edge write-up about this announcement gives you a peek into what the product's interface looks like, in case
you're curious. · Provisioning across physical & virtual
infrastructures. Enabling application configuration management and
dynamic resource provisioning is hard. Being able to do that across internal
physical, virtual, and even external cloud environments is really hard. CA
Spectrum Automation Manager has now added this, plus another neat little trick:
rapid physical-to-virtual and virtual-to-virtual server
provisioning. · Cross-virtualization management. Add to
the things mentioned above broad support for virtualization technologies like
VMware vSphere, Citrix Xen, IBM LPAR, and Sun Solaris, and it's another reason
it's worth noting. There are a few more holes to fill (Microsoft Hyper-V comes
to mind), but it makes a great cross-VM story. What CA Spectrum Automation
Manager now has in its cross-virtualization support is beyond what we were doing
at Cassatt. You can see some earlier discussion of across-multiple-hypervisor management in this
post . · For VMware lovers out there, there's even
more. A couple of the other products (you can find details about which
ones in the CA press
release ) help discover more about VMware and performance issues, including
database performance before, during, and after VMware VMotion migrations. In
fact, there are a bunch more virtualization features scattered across many
product lines that work in conjunction with your VMware technology. (Again, it's
kind of nice to have answers to a lot of the broad management questions that
customers are asking by virtue of an extensive product
portfolio.) Making a bet that integrated management is
better You'll notice that CA is putting its weight behind
the concept that having a unified management capability is more efficient and
more powerful for an IT organization. That's not unexpected given the breadth of
management capabilities that CA can offer a customer. But, it's also in line
with the complex environments that large customers actually have. But is it how
they want to manage things? Mike Vizard, again in his CTO Edge article, weighed in with one view: "At the
moment," said Vizard, "customers seem to be favoring [an] integration strategy
between existing systems management tools and providers of dedicated virtual
machine management tools. Over the long haul, odds are good that customers will
ultimately want to see more convergence of these tools rather than continuing to
pay separate licensing fees for both," wrote Vizard. Delivering tools
that can provide this convergence, and seeing customers have great success with
them, is the thing that will tip the balance. And in the end, that's probably a
balance that will favor the customer. Vizard said something similar back in September when CA
announced the deal to
acquire NetQoS , postulating that "it will also ultimately prove a lot less
expensive [to have unified management tools] than managing a whole slew of point
products." All that certainly sounds more like IT management nirvana (and
certainly more harmonious and under control than the aforementioned namesake
band from Seattle often was). Hopefully, these tools and others it inspires in
the marketplace will gets us a step closer. And, if any of my Nirvana
references don't quite hit the mark: All Apologies. Blame Denise. Or her headline
(The original version of this blog post appeared on the Data Center Dialog
blog .)