Tech Talk 3 by Tom Smart
Find and Fix Problems Faster Anywhere Across Your Physical and Virtual Infrastructure
Virtualization is one of the hottest trends in enterprise data centers today, and for good reasons. Adding virtualized resources to an underutilized physical infrastructure allows IT managers to meet business needs for ever-greater processing power and storage capacity while minimizing the need for new IT investments and maximizing the return on existing investments.
With a typical enterprise server running at perhaps 15 percent resource utilization, virtualizing and consolidating multiple services on one physical server can yield up to a seven-fold increase in data center efficiency making a compelling business case for virtualization.
At the same time, virtualization reduces cooling, electricity and floor space requirements—potentially delaying or even eliminating the need to build expensive new data centers. It can also enable a much more “fluid” data center, allowing dynamic resource allocation and workload migration to adjust to ever-changing business needs. In short, virtualization is a breakthrough technology for more efficient and responsive IT services in support of a more competitive business enterprise.
Managing the Challenges of Virtualization
In addition to efficiency, however, virtualization can also significantly increase your IT complexity. As a result, it can increase your risk, especially when it comes to managing changes to the IT infrastructure. As you create, deploy and migrate mission-critical applications, your IT organization can’t afford to have its engines of commerce performing poorly or even becoming completely unavailable.
You must deal with several virtualization challenges, including:
- Identifying and isolating IT issues when they arise. Because virtual machines and their associated application workloads can be so dynamic and fluid, it’s often difficult to isolate IT infrastructure problems.
- Re-creating IT issues in the correct context. To ensure predictability when creating and testing fixes, IT issues need to be re-created using the same parameters that existed when the workload failed in the first place. In a dynamic, virtualized environment, diagnosing and reproducing the specific mode of failure can be difficult.
- Determining the root cause of IT issues so you can develop effective fixes. Even if you can isolate a problem to a specific workload, discovering the root cause often requires manual correlation and analysis of data from any number of siloed IT management tools.
Novell Business Service Management Dashboard: Designed to Simplify Management of IT Complexity
To simplify management and reduce risk in a complex IT environment, Novell has created a solution that aggregates and correlates data from disparate IT management systems—presenting the data in formats tailored to the specific decision-making needs of IT, operations and business managers. (See Figure 1.)
Novell Business Service Management Dashboard (BSM Dashboard) gives you availability and performance monitoring for both the physical and the virtual IT infrastructure, aggregating data from multiple management platforms. It breaks down silos by showing in real time how virtual resources map to physical resources. It also shows how these IT assets map to the business services they support, such as e-commerce, order processing and online trading.
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In this way, BSM Dashboard provides you, business executives, IT managers and operations directors with the specific information you need, in one place and in a format that’s easy to analyze and act upon. (See Figure 2.) Instead of manually monitoring and collating data from multiple management platforms, while the problem continues to fester, you can drill down to the root cause with just a few clicks.
How It Works
If you're like most large IT organizations, you use any number of IT network, system and application management tools to monitor the health of your enterprise. For example, a typical set of data sources in a virtualized data center includes:
- BMC Remedy
- HP OpenView
- Platespin Recon
- Tivoli IBM Micromuse NetCool
- VMware vSphere
- Company-specific business service data, such as e-commerce key performance indicators
All these tools and data types exist as silos of information that you must be manually correlate, which makes effective end-to-end enterprise availability and performance management a daunting, resource-intensive task.
However, working within the Novell BSM Architecture, BSM Dashboard employs adapters that reside on the Novell BSM server to cull essential IT management data from all the sources listed above. The information includes performance data for physical and virtual resources as well as key performance indicators and business metrics.