5 virtual server management considerations in production environments

Server virtualization can create complexities such as virtual server management. These quick tips will help you better handle virtual server management.

Server virtualization can be a double-edged sword. Along with benefits galore, it can bring in complexities in terms of virtual server management that can take you by surprise at different turns. These five key considerations will help you handle virtual server management more efficiently.

Virtual server management causes complexities

Virtualization offers flexibility, as it is all about decoupling tightly bound objects, for instance, operating system (OS) attached to the servers, applications attached to the OS, and others. However, virtual server management is quite challenging in terms of knowing how to deal with an increasingly shared services environment. It becomes incumbent upon us to bring more visibility, and better manage mobility as well as virtualization’s dynamic nature.

Virtual server management results in diverse complexities for different types of virtualization. System virtualization (or what is to be hypervisor-based virtualization) generally along performance issues due to the impact of shared infrastructure services. In another type, there are containers or zone styles of virtualization which ensure that applications run their own address base. Here again, manageability issues come into play when it comes to ensuring that applications behave well on top of the shared infrastructure.

Performance issues due to virtual server management

An important consideration is potential performance interference—that is, one application consumes more resource than the other, with which it has to share the backend. This happens mostly in storage backend infrastructure. Thus, applications with high input/output result in performance issues.

 Managing multiple virtualization environments

Virtual server management causes multiple virtual environments. Thus, it is important to have tools that can manage multiple virtualization platforms. One of the tools developed at Gartner is the virtualization maturity model, which provides customers with a step-by-step methodical approach. The tool ensures that as you deploy virtualization, you can operationalize it and ensure a stable foundation for potential future cloud services.

Virtual server management requires a holistic approach

One of the benefits of virtualization is in terms of disaster recovery. Instead of backing up different applications, you can back up a single virtual machine. Thus, you do not have to worry about hardware related issues. However, there is more than disaster recovery that has to be performed from an operations perspective. Hence, it is advisable to think of operational requirements holistically, when it comes to virtual server management.

Efficient virtual server management strategy

Having a holistic and layered strategy could be the key to easy virtual server management. The management strategy should not only include components for managing servers that are being virtualized, but also the storage and network components. You should also ensure that the virtual server management aspect is just a part of enterprise management architecture.

About the author: Cameron Haight is a research vice president at Gartner Research. His primary research focuses on the management of server virtualization and emerging cloud computing environments. Included in this effort is the development of operational best practices, as well as the evaluation of emerging standards and technology providers.

(As told to Jasmine Desai)

This was last published in December 2010

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