With the introduction of Hyperic 4.4 VMware continues their development of tools that allow business to monitor and maintain their custom applications, not only physical instances, but also the virtualized ones running across the enterprise. This ability is critical to the success of any custom application deployment in a virtualized infrastructure.
There are other vendor tools designed to manage and monitor application flow and throughput, and to allow IT to keep ahead of any potential bottlenecks that could impact the users of these custom applications. These applications all seem to offer a very similar feature set, with web-based consoles that allow IT to monitor end-to-end application flow, along with canned sets of metrics for analyzing application components and the ability to develop custom alerts and automated reporting that is specific to the custom applications. One of the most interesting things to me about Hyperic is its ability to analyze the impact of virtualization on the applications that are being monitored.
By determining if the performance of an application is being negatively impact by being virtualized, along with determining which components of the application is the performance bottleneck, Hyperic allows IT to make sure that applications are performing optimally in a mixed physical/virtual environment. It also allows IT to determine the suitability of an application for virtualization and assess potential risks in moving to a virtual application instantiation.
As VMware points out, there is no cloud without virtualization, and it is clear that the success of any cloud contender will be based on the ability if the cloud application to consistently deliver the service it provides. Delivering a heavily utilized virtualized service will require detailed, management and performance focused tools that allow for proactive management before users reach for the phone for the help desk.