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March 2008

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The
Right Spin

Managing your data center
just got a whole lot easier
Tech Talk 5 By John Stetic

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Business moves faster every day. To keep up, organizations need an agile IT infrastructure that immediately responds to changing business conditions. IT needs to be a strategic productivity center rather than a rigid cost center. However, new levels of infrastructure complexity and heterogeneity make it more difficult for IT to respond to its business users' requests.

Historically, every time the business user needed a new service, the solution was to provision a new physical server with a single application or purpose. This practice is an inherently expensive, rigid and inefficient approach. Virtualization has emerged to offer new efficiencies and represents another powerful tool in the CIO’s arsenal; however it is not, in and of itself, the silver bullet.

Virtual infrastructures must coexist with new and legacy physical infrastructures, creating a new set of management challenges, including cross infrastructure management, security, provisioning and IT chargeback. To solve these emerging challenges, you need to answer several key questions:

  • How do I find existing physical workloads that would be better served running in a virtualized environment?
  • How do I find virtualized workloads that are consuming a disproportionate amount of shared resources and should be moved to a physical server?
  • How can I easily assemble and move workloads between physical and virtual infrastructures?
  • How will I manage the entire lifecycle of workloads and ensure sufficient resource capacity to accommodate current and future business needs?
  • How do I deliver the right business services and align IT to the business?
  • How do I allocate IT costs in the shared resource environment that virtualization enables?
  • How do I control and manage growth of the data center? Provisioning virtual machines eliminates the need to purchase new hardware; yet it often leads to virtual infrastructure sprawl and management headaches.
  • How do I change process and policies founded on principles of the static, physical-only data center to accommodate the new flexibility of virtualization? How do I build a new data center that includes both a physical and a virtual infrastructure?

Data center agility requires more than holistic management of the data center. Greater agility in desktop and server provisioning, change control, and access management is also required to serve the needs of the business. Different solutions are needed to plan and execute change projects, whether for server consolidation and virtualization, hardware migration or entire data center relocation initiatives. Organizations embark on all of these initiatives with the goal of reducing costs and improving efficiencies.

Sadly, many suffer critical delays and unnecessary risks because of insufficient planning or the lack of solution-focused products to assist them.

The Ideal Solution Framework

By helping dissolve the bonds between software and hardware, virtualization encourages organizations to see the data center in a different way—not as a collection of static servers, but as a set of portable workload units. At the most basic level, a workload encapsulates the data, applications and operating systems that reside on a physical or virtual host.

A next-generation infrastructure management solution that meets the following criteria is needed.

  • It's equally at home in both physical and virtual environments;
  • It helps data center managers and architects choose the best environment, whether physical or virtual, without vendor lock in;
  • It's a unified solution that can assess your workloads, tell you which environment is best, easily provision, relocate, protect and optimize that environment throughout its lifetime.

Announcing PlateSpin

With some 5,000 customers worldwide including nearly half of the Fortune 500, Toronto-based PlateSpin has focused on cross-platform functionality and interoperability throughout their product portfolio. Its solutions offer enterprises the ability to separate server workloads from underlying hardware. They make it possible to profile, deploy, move, copy, protect and replicate these workload units anywhere in the data center across physical and virtual boundaries. PlateSpin has successfully completed more than 700,000 server workload migrations—the most of any player in the virtualization market.

Next

  • Figure 1

    PlateSpin PowerRecon provides scenario modeling, forecasting and planning capabilities to take the guesswork out of server consolidation, disaster recovery, capacity planning and virtual infrastructure management.

  • Figure 2

    With PlateSpin PowerConvert, enterprises can perform anywhere-to-anywhere server workload migrations across heterogeneous IT infrastructures spanning physical and virtual hosts.

  • Figure 3

    The PlateSpin Forge recovery hardware appliance provides an ever-present Web-based dashboard that enables IT operations specialists to view the status of server workload protection at all times.



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