Making your service management processes and solutions play in a virtual world
After you decide to go virtual
Kia Behnia, Chief Corporate Architect in CTO Office, BMC Software
So, you’ve decided to go virtual. Despite the complexities that virtualization brings to the IT environment, the rewards are too compelling to pass up. To reap these rewards, however, you’ll need to do a lot more than simply migrate services from physical to virtual machines. You’ll have to control the full lifecycle of virtualization in your data center across a broad range of virtual and physical server technologies.
It’s not an easy thing to accomplish. In more dynamic virtual environments, infrastructure services continually hop from one physical resource to another. It’s complicated to keep track of which virtual resources are delivering which services, and which physical devices are hosting which virtual resources.
To address this complexity, you have to carefully plan and configure your migration and then manage, control and support your environment once you have “gone virtual.” If you don’t address all three areas — planning, configuration and management — you could end up simply replacing one set of problems with another.
To achieve a successful outcome, you must also evolve your service management strategy to fully support the highly dynamic nature of the virtual environment. You’ll need to consider the impact of virtualization on every area of service management, including service automation, service support and service assurance.
Planning, Configuration and Management
In planning your virtual environment, you’ll need to architect an adaptive infrastructure that accommodates technology and business change without an overhaul of technology, processes and management solutions. A thorough assessment will help you determine the mix of virtual and physical servers that will deliver optimum resource utilization while maintaining desired performance and availability — not only for the near term, but also for the long term as well.
Effective planning is based on full visibility into the assets you have in place. Discovery tools can help in this effort, as can a tool that models various combinations of virtual machines on physical servers.
The architecture needs to support dynamic configuration and reconfiguration of the infrastructure to meet changing conditions. Tools should automatically and dynamically provision virtual servers to physical ones, while adhering to corporate policy and regulatory requirements.
Controls ensure that only standard configurations are used on virtual resources and that only fully tested and approved (gold) images are moved to virtual machines. Patches and updates must occur with the same care and scrutiny.
To manage the virtual environment effectively, you should view the IT environment from both the service (end-user) perspective and the technology (virtual and physical infrastructure) perspective. This comprehensive view permits you to effectively manage performance and availability and quickly detect and resolve problems before users are affected. It also helps you to understand the business implications of events so you can prioritize action based on business impact.
Enhanced service management solutions can enable you to exploit the full potential of virtualization. As these solutions evolve, you can confidently move ahead with your virtualization initiatives.
Kia Behnia, chief corporate architect in the CTO Office at BMC Software, is responsible for leading the design of BMC Atrium, the industry-leading, service-enabling architecture for Business Service Management. He was previously CTO for the change and configuration products at BMC, and CTO for Marimba, Inc., which was acquired by BMC. Prior to joining Marimba, he served as a senior member of the technical team for Tivoli Systems, Inc. Behnia has more than 15 years of experience in the management of distributed systems and databases.