I like to keep my virtualisation head tuned in now and again but it’s not an area I profess to have a long history of writing about. With that in mind, I sometimes have to juggle the well-known with the ‘hey, why didn’t I think of that?’ element.
To explain, if you have a poke around at what virtualisation specialists are doing these days – they are very much looking at complimentary ways that virtualisation can fit into existing (and therefore presumably trusted) technology infrastructures.
A case in point is virtualisation with an intelligent eye for change management.
At the enterprise level this means that your average IT director (and his or her team) will be looking for ways to automate resource management of hardware while high level system changes that will impact services are carried out. Crucially, they will want to do this right through the integration, testing, staging and user acceptance phases before committing the systems into production.
IBM, Intel, Zeus Technology and host of other names come to mind if I think about whom I might have last spoken to on virtualisation. But I’ll go the obvious route and mention VMWare as its Stage Manager product is in precisely this space. You’ve heard of the application management lifecycle right? Well this is the service transition lifecycle.
VMWare’s take on the subject is as follows: As new services or changes to existing services are being introduced (such as rolling out an upgrade to Exchange 2008 or making changes to a complex SAP installation) they often follow a sequence of stages such as integration, test, staging and user acceptance checking to ensure they are successfully tested, approved and configured for risk-managed deployment into production. IT typically maintains numerous dedicated "shadow instances" of the production environment to support the activities of each of these stages. These systems are prone to "drift" out of synch with the production configuration, jeopardizing the successful execution of system changes and updates and increasing the risk of production downtime.
So does their latest product address those issues and manage change for services within an environment where bags of virtualisation technologies are deployed? Well you can visit their web site if you’d like a list of reasons why they say it does. The reason I have mentioned it is I think it adds a new flavour to the whole concept of how companies working at that layer of the industry are having to learn about and operate with wider layers of the total technology infrastructure layer if they are to stay competitive.
As for me, it took me ages just to find a word for change that began with V, that’s my problem.