Managing and Monitoring

By David Strom Print this article Print

As IT shops gain expertise in virtualized applications, they can also get a better handle on load balancing and availability—once the domain of clustering solutions.

Managing and Monitoring

Virtualization vendors are offering more mature management and migration features, and can examine the actual operations of the applications being hosted inside their virtual machines. Take a server farm with a dozen machines all delivering a Web application.

If an enterprise has designed things for peak load performance, there are going to be plenty of other times when many of those machines are doing little or no work. The ideal solution would be able to spin up or spin down new instances of application servers when those loads change—to match a particular service delivery metric and to keep the costs of power and cooling to a minimum.

“If you have only physical-machine monitoring in place, you don’t always know if a machine has gone down in a virtual environment,” says Drisko.

The problem is that not all monitoring tools can deliver the same level of insight and automated responses. For example, VMware’s High Availability software can detect whether a VM is actually running on a host, but it can’t deliver any insight into whether the application inside the VM—such as an Exchange or database server—is operational. Plus, VMware is only looking at the VMs and not the physical server applications.

Steeleye and Cassatt can monitor both physical and virtual applications. If a host of the VM dies, or if the application hangs inside the VM, they can automatically bring up another host and a working VM with the same IP address and continue the application.

To match workloads with resources, Novell’s Drisko suggests this analysis:

1 Identify what resources are contained in the data center.

2 Determine what workloads are running on them.

3 Examine where those workloads should be assigned.

4 Understand how to optimize them as your workloads and needs change.

This article was originally published on 2008-07-30
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