Oren Teich, Ken Wallich and Ashish Patel of Sun Microsystems spent an hour with me yesterday evening. The conversation covered quite a bit of territory. All right, I'll admit it, my train of thought is easily derailed. So, I forced these poor unfortunate people to ramble through many different layers of virtualization technology. Even though the provocation was rather severe, they were gracious enough to go along for the ride. Sun's architects have segmented the problem into the following high level areas.
- Discovery of available resources — this process can not be allowed to consume all of the resources that are earmarked to do productive work for the organization.
- Command/control — Create virtual resources, Destroy unneeded virtual resources, Migrate resources from logical to physical or physical to logical as needed
- Provisioning — Move software into previously created images, configure that software
- Resource allocation — Make sure that images have the proper amount of memory, storage and network bandwidth available to function properly
- Maintenance — virtual resources are not static entities. Tools must be available to update or patch virtual resources without requiring that established images be recreated each and every time a patch or update is made available.
- Automation — Constantly review how resources are being consumed, compare to policy and service level guidelines, and optimize use of resources by calling upon other functions to create, provision, migrate or destroy virtual resources as needed
- Systems, Storage and Network Management — The underlying physical configuration must be managed in an automated fashion as well.
One of the more interesting tidbits I gleaned from the rambling discussion was the level of thinking Sun's overarching view of management of virtualized resources demonstrates. Rather than picking one problem to solve, Sun has experience in building very large computing solutions. It understands that power and scope can be as important as features and functions.
A company without this type of experience might build solutions able to manage hundreds to, perhaps, thousands of virtualized resources. Sun's architects are thinking about hundreds of thousands of resources to even larger environments.
What do you think, class, are these the right categories? Do you believe that Sun has left out something important? Do you believe that Sun has included things that really don't belong on this list?