It’s Virtual Reality Time in the Data Centre

With VMworld Europe kicking off this morning in Cannes – and the hullabaloo over the Microsoft Hypervisor situation mercifully now behind us – it’s anybody’s guess as to what will make the headlines this year.One can only imagine that the ‘reality’ factor will come to the fore now as virtualisation starts to seep into the corporate blood stream of IT stacks from Cannes to Calcutta.

With VMworld Europe kicking off this morning in Cannes – and the hullabaloo over the Microsoft Hypervisor situation mercifully now behind us – it’s anybody’s guess as to what will make the headlines this year.

One can only imagine that the ‘reality’ factor will come to the fore now as virtualisation starts to seep into the corporate blood stream of IT stacks from Cannes to Calcutta. One would imagine that a large part of that reality factor may be related to the ‘touch point’ at which the average user comes into contact with virtualised technology i.e. applications.

Virtualised desktop applications (or VDI virtualised desktop infrastructure as Parallels likes to call it) will now need some element of control, or dare I say it – management, if we are to know who is using what and where they are using it – and, crucially for virtualised apps, if they are using it ‘optimally’.

I know that sounds slightly cheesy, but surely optimal performance is the area that virtualised app administrators will want to look at most if the they are to balance the deployment of virtual machines based on real-time measurements performance.

Chris Wolf, Burton Group senior analyst said recently, “There’s urgency in enterprises today to deploy virtualisation to improve server utilisation and reduce overall IT expenditures. However, broad deployment of virtualisation in business-critical applications has been limited by poor visibility into how the SAN I/O infrastructure affects the performance of applications deployed on virtual machines. The only way to overcome that hurdle is to implement instrumentation and measurement tools within the SAN that extract real-time transaction performance information.”

Now I couldn’t find out whether they are at VMworld Europe 2009 as I am lamentably not able to attend this year. But I did find a company in this space that talks on (and logically also sells) performance analysis solutions. Virtual Instruments has a tool-kit that claims to provide real-time and historical insights into application latency and bandwidth consumption.

I do them a disservice – I’m sure it’s more than a tool-kit, but this is a quick blog and not an analysis. Their VirtualWisdom product is said to be customisable widget-based dashboard for sys admins to focus on specific virtual machine, server and application I/O data points that matter most to them. You can read more on their web site, which I’m sure you are capable of finding.

Company CEO Mark Urdahl seems to have it right though when he says that 2009 will be all about looking at the investment made into virtualised infrastructures, examining the performance of the applications within the virtual stack and, logically, achieving higher server consolidation ratios as a result.

As for VMworld, ah it’s webinars and media alerts for me this year. But I still put the two-hour French breakfast I had on the Sunday before last year’s event as one of my top ten meals of all time. Just for the record – you know that thing they do in fancy hotels where they put a bottle of fizz out for you to have maybe a half glass with your brekky brochettes? Well, I absolutely did not drink the whole bottle and ask for another OK? It was half empty to start with and I had help.