Fine tuning the virtual engine

You know that thing that happens right after you buy a canary yellow Ford Escort Mark II with the racing trim and go faster seat covers and you start noticing all the Ford Escorts on the road like it’s every third car? It’s the same thing with virtualisation news threads isn’t it?

You know that thing that happens right after you buy a canary yellow Ford Escort Mark II with the racing trim and go faster seat covers and you start noticing all the Ford Escorts on the road like it’s every third car? It’s the same thing with virtualisation news threads isn’t it?

As soon as I packed up my toothbrush and netbook for next week’s Parallel’s Summit 2009 in Las Vegas (aka Lost Wages), I started to tune my virtualisation sensor up a notch or two. It’s been a year now since I attended VMworld Europe and I met Parallels chairman and CEO Serguei Beloussov back then.

Since that time we’ve read much of virtualisation in terms of server consolidation efficiencies, co-related IT management and cost saving efficiencies arising from that consolidation… and ultimately there has also been talk of application virtualisation too.

From these areas, we can now pick up news of companies who provide capacity management analytics software. I suppose it’s a logical progression: first we build the engine, then we learn how to run it, then we look at the user experience – and ultimately we start to look for ways of fine tuning performance.

Before I get to the show next week and get swamped (albeit quite willingly) with messages coming from Parallels, I wonder if I can pick up the scent of some of the partner and the ‘related by marriage if not by birth’ companies in this space.

Stick a finger in the air for capacity management analytics and once again it’s Sun and CA that pop their heads over the cubicle. Smaller (I would logically imagine) but on the same side of the virtual coin is CiRBA who contend to be able to combine technical, business and resource constraints to determine optimal workload placements and resource allocations within virtualised data centres.

Well, I suppose virtualisation is all about planning for more dynamic capacity requirements, so this makes pretty obvious sense. What is disappointing about companies like this though is that they make a song and dance over their latest management dashboard and (however new and collaboratively enabled it might be) claim that it is some sort of virtual data panacea.

We get the idea – you have a neat product that looks slick and works great, so how does it do what it does then? If I’m a Formula One racing car engineer you’re not going to sell me on your new car management solution because it includes a new coat of paint and a shiny wax job. I’m going to want to look under the bonnet.

Hang on – I found a good bit with some guts. CiRBA’s web site talks about data-level integration enhancements that enable its product to be used as a centralised repository for enterprise capacity data. This repository design, it says here, combines centralised storage of capacity data with open data access capabilities.

I like it, how much have we got and how can we get to it. This is the: who, what, why, where and when of enterprise capacity management that I wish these companies would sometimes spell out to start with.

I don’t doubt that there’s now a broader spectrum of stakeholders (I hate that term) involved in capacity decision-making. But making sure these people are aware of virtualisation plans, hardware refresh schedules and other pending optimisations that affect their application systems must be a good idea.

Right – time to stop this rant. There is going to be bags of this stuff to delve into. The only trouble is I’ve used up my car analogy for virtualisation before I’ve even got to the conference next week. Any suggestions for a new virtual world parallel will be gratefully accepted. Think laterally please – start at beans on toast and work your way up.

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