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Virtualization continues to pose management challenges

Survey of enterprise IT managers shows three-fourths continue to be challenged by managing virtual environments

Network/Systems Management Alert By Denise Dubie, Network World
May 06, 2009 12:07 AM ET
Denise Dubie
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Industry analysis by Beth Schultz, plus the latest news headlines.

A majority of IT departments are deploying virtualization, but still most don't feel comfortable with the tools and technologies they have in place to manage application performance or troubleshoot problems in the virtual environment, according to recent survey results.

A recent survey of 442 IT professionals around the globe by Network Instruments revealed that while 75% of respondents were deploying virtualization – 50% of which put the technology in place to save costs and resources – they admitted that they lacked the adequate tools, visibility or information about their virtual environments to troubleshoot problems.

The vendor, which asked about virtualization in its State of the Network Global Study 2009, discovered that respondents might not be able to invest in tools to manage these advanced environments, considering 73% were being asked to do more with fewer resources. More than half of those polled that are tightening budgets said such actions can lead to IT degradation and failures, and 65% haven’t experienced layoffs in this economic climate.

The network and application performance management vendor also inquired about the percentage of applications residing on virtual systems. In 2009, an estimated 27% of applications are sitting on virtual servers. Estimates for 2010 jump to 44%, and in 2011, forecasters expect 60% of applications to reside on virtual infrastructures. With more applications residing on virtual servers, IT manages need to be able to troubleshoot performance problems – which many don’t feel confident doing now, according to survey results.

Twenty-seven percent say they lack the appropriate tools. Twenty-four percent reported that they lack visibility into the virtual infrastructure. And 24% said they lacked information on the cause of the problem. About 14% indicated concern over securing virtual environments, and 11% said tracking virtual machines posed a problem.

Digging deeper, when asked what the primary troubleshooting problem was, 78% said identifying the problem source. A distant second (37%) identified monitoring bandwidth consumption as a problem area, while 36% pointed to measuring latency on applications as a concern. About one-fourth reported that handling user complaints challenged them most when managing application performance and 16% cited managing application patches as their primary problem.

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Read more about infrastructure management in Network World's Infrastructure Management section.

Schultz is a longtime IT journalist. You can email her or find her here.

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