How to breathe new life into your virtualization deployments

CA rolls out trio of virtualization management products aimed at providing better problem diagnostics, greater automation and improved control

As those of you who read the last edition of the Network and Systems Management Alert know, Denise Dubie has left the building -- but not the industry. She's moved over to CA, where she's sharing her insights in Service Assurance Daily, a regularly appearing blog. I'll call this a loss for Network World, a gain for CA and an opportunity for me.

From here on out, I'll be the voice sharing the interesting management-related product, technology and trend news that I come across in my daily travels. Hopefully I'm a familiar name to many of you as I've been an IT journalist, well, for more years than I care to remember. (Let's put it this way: Back when I started out, PCs were a workplace novelty.) After a longtime stint at Network World, most recently overseeing in-depth coverage of next-generation IT infrastructure, today I'm out and about on my own, digging into technology topics and management challenges of all sorts.

For starters, I want to pick up on a technology Denise has hit on time and time again in this newsletter and that I know is top of mind for anyone having incorporated virtualization into their IT environment -- virtual systems management. As Denise reported in the newsletter last month, 36% of 105 network engineers, managers and directors polled while attending Interop 2010 said they lacked the appropriate tools to monitor their virtual servers and desks. They cited this as the greatest problem with virtualization.

Interop's hot new tech products

It's such a problem that virtualization deployments at many organizations have reached a wall. CA, one of the vendors trying to address the issue with virtualization management tools, dubs this situation "virtual stall" and reports that it sees organizations getting to the point of around 15% to 30% of servers virtualized and then their projects come to a halt.

"The real problem for them is not being able to see into their virtualization deployments -- to see what resources they're using, what sorts of performance they're delivering or whether they're meeting business goals and expectations," says Andi Mann, former Enterprise Management Associates research analyst and now vice president of product marketing at CA.

Hence the company's recent launch of a trio of virtualization management tools: CA Virtual Assurance, for detecting performance issues, diagnosing root cause and automatically remediating the problems; CA Virtual Automation, aimed at enabling the rapid deployment of virtual infrastructures and applications, including via self-service automation; and CA Virtual Configuration, for automating virtual environment configuration discovery, change tracking, and compliance auditing against standards and policies.

Using such tools should help IT organizations re-energize around virtualization, Mann says. "My personal feeling is that you can probably virtualize somewhere around 90% of applications, but you've got to have better manageability and better automation -- there's absolutely no doubt about that."

How far have you virtualized your infrastructure? Is 90% virtualization a reality? Drop me your thoughts:

Schultz is a longtime IT journalist. You can reach her at or find her at LinkedIn.

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