Nov 11, 2007

Managing VM's Is No Easy Task

A recent cover story in Network World magazine talks about the difficulty in managing virtualized environments. Virtualization is everywhere-- especially in dev/test environments. VM's are easy to create and setup, but that rapid proliferation of VM's introduces new challenges in managing these virtualized environments.

Now, don't get me wrong. I like VM's. They're cool, and the learning curve is not steep. If you can set up a development environment on a physical server, there's almost nothing else you need to do with a VM. However, what happens when you have 100's or 1000's of VM's running around?

According to Network World, there are several things to watch for:
  1. Consistency and standardization (patch-levels on your apps and O/S) become a bigger issue when managing VM's alongside physical machines.
  2. Since VM's are easy to deploy (just create 'em as you need 'em), there is a tendency to have too many VM's. Controlling virtual server sprawl requires the same processes and auditing that would be used to control deployments of physical servers.
  3. The standard management tools that ship with VmWare or Xen are not sufficient to manage large-scale VM deployments.
  4. The problems of the managing physical servers don't disappear in the virtual world-- they multiply and become obscured by the intangible boundaries between systems.
It was a long article, but a very interesting read. You should check it out for yourself.

If you've been following my blog, you'll know that I've posted often about creating VM environments. Back in January, I wrote about provisioning 400 VM's in an afternoon with Collage and XVM. Our new product line, Cassatt Active Response, integrates the Collage and XVM products.

Cassatt Active Response Premium Edition provides the ability to create and manage VM environments from VmWare and Xen. Active Response will provision the hypervisor, create the VM's and then deploy applications to those VM's. With Linux applications, you can create a heterogeneous environment with applications deployed to VM's and physical machines. You can also migrate a Linux app running on a VM to a physical machine, in case you realize that you need the additional horsepower from a dedicated, physical server.

Cassatt Active Response allows you to manage physical machines and virtual machines, by integrating the features of the former XVM product. We've also reduced the price point with Premium Edition. Check it out for yourself, and get those VM's under control!

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