Planning Means Real Benefits for Virtualization

By Amy Newman (Send Email)
Posted Nov 11, 2008


Editor's note: Two weeks ago, we quoted Virtual Iron CEO Ed Walsh as saying that Virtual Iron is the most frequently selected virtualization environment for Dell servers. Although many instances of Virtual Iron do ship on Dell boxes, it is not the most popular. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

Virtually Speaking: Planning and managing a virtual deployment is key to its success. Here are two new products designed to put you on the right path.

There is no such thing as overplanning when it comes to a virtualization deployment. The importance of knowing your server room from hardware to software to data to workflow can't be overemphasized.

Not surprisingly, products are cropping up whack-a-mole style at a carnival to fill these needs. Of course, if the analogy continues, a mallet comes into play, which should have some bearing on your ultimate decision of what to deploy.

Regardless of deployment constraints or preconceived notions, it never hurts to look at products. Even if it isn't something your enterprise would ever deploy, at a minimum, finding out what various solutions will give you a sense of what's out there and might give you ideas for how to plug holes in what your organization lacks.

Recently, two companies, GDCM and Replicate Technologies unveiled new offerings.

GDCM, or Global Data Center Management, released a new version of its flagship data center management solution, nlyte.

Although nlyte is listed as bringing a host of benefits to customers, chiefly improved service delivery, a reduction in costs and improved ROI, it's first a foremost a data center planning and modeling tool designed to give insight into physical capacity and understand the redundancy present.

It focuses on "physical, process-oriented challenges in data centers," Daniel Tautges, U.S. president of the company, told ServerWatch.

The key enhancements in the release are an added level of mediation with orchestration integration, and the addition of Live Power and zoning.

In addition, data center staff can see the actual, average and peak power consumption of their data centers and compare actual consumption versus planned consumption, thus gaining more timely insight into existing capacity and enabling more accurate heating and cooling forecasts and more efficient cabinet planning.

A floor planner with functionality based on a CAD-style graphical interface has also been added, along with an open service bus architecture and a Web-based workflow engine enabling them to model and manage complex business processes and best practice for DCIM.

Tautges described it as "Google maps of the data center ... You could drop in from another country and find your way through." It's very physically oriented.

Keeping Up on Downtime

No matter how well you understand the topology, downtime remains a factor. Figuring out downtime is one way to mitigate this. Replicate Technologies believes Replicate Datacenter Analyzer (RDA) 1.0, which it unveiled on Monday, offers a panacea to this dilemma.

Others agree. Prior to the launch, the company already had more than 50 customers on board, Oren Teich, vice president of product, told ServerWatch.

RDA 1.0, a virtual appliance in a Web-based user interface that integrates with VMware VirtualCenter, aims to change the conventional break-fix cycle by predicting and preventing faults before they cause downtime. It uses both preventive and remediation analysis to avoid and solve configuration errors in virtualized data centers.

Specifically, RDA offers active discovery, deploying virtual appliances to discover and model the combined virtual and physical datacenter systems; predictive analysis to discover and diagnoses latent issues data center; and resolution guidance and knowledge modules.

Replicate Datacenter Analyzer is available for immediate purchase and download. If the introductory price of $500 for an annual subscription per managed dual socket isn't enough to grab you, you can also take it out for a spin with a trial version.

Although RDA currently supports only VMware, in the long term Teich sees it evolving into a tool for analyzing the entire infrastructure. Support for additional x86 hypervisor environments is already planned.

Amy Newman is the managing editor of ServerWatch. She has been covering virtualization since 2001.

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