Cisco Nexus 1000V brought in for troubleshooting

* Why Transplace thinks the Cisco Nexus 1000V will help ease troubleshooting in its virtualization environment

In the last edition, I wrote about virtualization's visibility challenge from a systems management perspective. Now I want to look at the issue from the network side.

In the last edition, I wrote about virtualization's visibility challenge from a systems management perspective. I talked to Ambers Ferrara, senior systems administrator at Transplace, a third-party logistics provider in Dallas, about how the company is addressing that problem -- which it's doing via the vFoglight virtualization management tool by Vizioncore, a Quest Software company. Now I want to look at the issue from the network side.

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At Transplace, as it turns out, lack of visibility also has troubled Ferrara's network counterpart, Scott Engel, director of IT infrastructure. Here's what he told me:

"From the network side, one of our biggest challenges revolves around VMware and the shifting of some of the network functionality over to the systems admin group. We need to move that back into networking's hands."

Toward that end, Transplace plans on deploying the Cisco Nexus 1000V, which delivers network services to the virtual machines on a host server. Granted, the 1000V might not exactly be the first product that typically comes to mind when considering how to address network management problems. But, when the goal is increasing visibility into network traffic between VMs on the same ESX host, it definitely qualifies. 

"If the data never touches the wire… but we need to troubleshoot an issue, we have to do that at the host level and not the network level because we don't have visibility," Engel said. "That's not a daily occurrence, but when we do have that need, isolating and troubleshooting the problem is pretty cumbersome from a network perspective."

In the absence of 1000V, Transplace system administrators, responsible for the vSwitch on the ESX host, need to step outside their traditional roles and assist with the network troubleshooting. "That places an unnecessary strain on our resources and isn't a good use of their time," Engel said.

Fortunately for Transplace IT, politics and red tape don't enter the picture -- as they well may do at many other companies. "We're a relatively small group and we work close together. Regardless, it does change the landscape a bit when we run VMware with virtual switches and there are grey areas in terms of who's responsible."

Engel said he hopes to have the 1000V out of testing and into implementation within two months.

Are you worried about visibility into the data moving between VMs? Write me bschultz5824@gmail.com to share how you're dealing with that or other management challenges.

Schultz is a longtime IT journalist. You can reach her at bschultz5824@gmail.com or find her at http://www.linkedin.com/in/schultzbeth.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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