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Matt McSpirit on Virtualisation, Management and Core Infrastructure

Are you unhappy with your virtualisation management?

Are you unhappy with your virtualisation management?

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Well, there's a poll that's been carried out by Netuitive that suggests a high proportion of IT Pro's out there are.

Now, I'm not going to jump on the 'VMware-bashing' bandwagon here - it's just interesting reading to see, that in general, management is seen as one of, if not the most important feature of a strong virtual infrastructure....

""There has been a lot of talk around the value of virtualization and we can't argue that this area of technology opens up a whole new realm in terms of flexibility, cost savings and agility," said Daniel Heimlich, vice president at Netuitive. "The problem is that organizations started implementing VMs without first thinking about how they'll be able to manage them. Now we're starting to see a lot of questions being asked about how to do just that.""

I think Daniel has hit the nail on the head there.  Organisations implement 'virtualisation' very quickly, as by many, it's seen as a quick and fairly painless silver bullet.  They see the opportunity to quickly consolidate workloads onto fewer machines, providing near-instant savings in energy bills as one positive, and then many start rapidly exploring how they can do even more with virtualisation, with more virtual machines, migrating all over the place.  Virtual server sprawl has even more of a chance of going out of control than physical server sprawl!

"As virtualization deployments grow, substandard performance management prevents organizations from realizing their full potential. Without good performance management, there is no certainty into how applications will behave, or whether SLAs can be met. All of this stops organizations from expanding their virtual deployments, maximizing resource utilization, and achieving virtualization goals," said Mann. "A new approach is needed - one that uses sophisticated, real time analytics to reduce the massive manual effort of managing VM complexity and ultimately creates confidence and restores performance predictability to managing VMs.""

I couldn't leave without explaining how Microsoft differentiates itself in this respect.


Microsoft has a number of virtualisation offerings, be it around Server, Presentation, Desktop or Application Virtualisation.  What brings them all together, acting almost like the glue between the parts?  System Center, our management platform.  If you need to deploy applications, patches, updates, AV definitions and more, SC Configuration Manager 2007 handles it.  If you need to monitor your servers, your clients, your specific applications and server apps, SC Operations Manager 2007 handles it.  If you need to back up, intelligently, SharePoint farms, SQL Databases, File Servers, Exchange Mailboxes and configurations, and Virtual Servers, Data Protection Manager 2007 handles it, regardless of whether you want to back up to disk, or to tape.  The great thing about these 3 platforms are, its the same set of tools to manage your physical, as your virtual environment.  The final tool in the arsenal of System Center products, is SC Virtual Machine Manager 2007, which integrates straight it will the other tools, and at the same time allows you to manage your physical estate, and the virtual machines running on top.  It also provides functionality around snapshots, P2V conversions, V2V and also integrates strongly with Group Policy.  You can read a great review here:,1000001814,39352978,00.htm?r=3

You can also take a look at the complete System Center offering, here:

  • Matt - any ideas where we can get our hands on Visio stencils\objects like those used in your example illustration? I do a lot of virtualized design and have to hack some virtual symbols a lot. Ones like those would be mighty handy ...

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