Tag Archive: Virtualization


Nov 14 2011

Top 5 Things You Need in a Virtualization Management Solution

I recently completed a series of technical papers for SolarWinds that highlight some of the challenges associated with virtualization. The first paper was titled “Top 5 Things You Need in a Virtualization Management Solution” and served as an introductory paper to the subsequent papers that cover the 5 things in more detail. Here are the 5 things that are covered:

  • Performance Management
  • Capacity Planning
  • VM Sprawl
  • Chargeback and Showback
  • Storage I/O Bottlenecks

You might be used to vendor white papers that are focused on marketing and sales information and not much technical content. That’s not my writing style, my goal when writing white papers is to have at least 80% of the content be useful and educational content while still highlighting the vendors products in a more subtle manner.  Since my name is on the paper I want the reader to come away with both a thorough understanding of the topic from a technical perspective and also an understanding on how the vendor’s product relates to the topic. Below is an excerpt from the first paper, you can register and read the full paper over at SolarWinds website.

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For any size data center, having a proper management solution is critical for ensuring an orderly, smooth running and problem free environment. Without one, your data center can quickly turn into a wild jungle with servers growing out of control without any regard for discipline or limits. A data center should be like a well-run city, with all parts of it communicating and interacting with each other. The mayor of that city should know about everything that happens within it so he can make the right decisions when needed to ensure everything runs smoothly. It shouldn’t be like a group of isolated villages that never speak to each other and have no idea what everyone else is doing. Having visibility into all aspects of your server environment is critical, but the amount of information that is monitored can easily be overwhelming, and not knowing how to interpret the information can make dealing with it difficult. Therefore, you need a management solution that can highlight the important information for you and also provide you with dashboards to make interpreting the information as easy as possible.

Virtualization technology has many benefits and most companies are now implementing it or planning to at some point. But the management of virtualized environments can be quite different from traditional physical environments, and the solutions designed to manage physical environments will not be as effective at managing a virtual environment. Therefore, implementing a management solution that is designed specifically for virtual environments is critical to ensure that you are monitoring the metrics and issues that are unique to virtual environments, and are able to keep up with the higher rate-of-change and can scale as your virtual environment grows.
In this white paper, we will look at the top 5 areas that you should be looking at when choosing a management solution for your virtual environment, and also cover the reasons why you need to use management solutions that are designed specifically for virtualization.

Full paper available here

Jan 13 2011

10 VM administration tips and virtualization best practices

I originally did these 10 tips for searchvmware.com but they ended up with 5 of the general ones published on searchservervirtualization.com and 5 of the VMware specific ones published on searchvmware.com.

5 tips at searchvmware.com

VMware administration and management can be complicated and frustrating. But it’s much easier when you know the optimal way to handle virtual machines (VMs).

VMware administration and management requires not only technical expertise but also problem-solving skills. And if you don’t properly manage a VMware environment, it can quickly come back to bite you. These VMware administration and management tips will help you better manage your VMs and avoid common mistakes.

VMware administration tip No. 1: Thin is in
You should strive to properly size virtual disks, but sometimes disk size grows, such as with a database server that accumulates additional data on a regular basis.

In these situations, administrators often allocate more disk space to a VM than is initially needed. Thin provisioning helps reduce this wasted space.

Read the full article at searchvmware.com…

5 tips at searchservervirtualization.com

Virtual machines (VMs) have specific management requirements that don’t apply to physical servers. For effective VM administration, you need to know how to properly manage, maintain and troubleshoot your VMs.

There are several challenges that you should be aware of to keep your VMs fit and healthy. In this article, I share five virtualization best practices to help you efficiently and effectively manage VMs. For VMware-specific advice, check out this companion article on five ways to improve VMware administration and management.

VM administration tip No. 1: Avoid overallocation
You virtualize physical servers to make use of wasted resources. But many administrators allocate the same amount of resources to virtual machines as they did to physical servers.

Read the full article at searchservervirtualization.com…

Jan 07 2011

How PCI DSS 2.0 affects virtualization compliance

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) 2.0 is hot off the presses, and the question everyone’s asking is, “Does it cover virtualization compliance?”

Well, kind of.

Two years in the making, PCI DSS 2.0 offers additional guidance and clarifies portions of the previous PCI DSS 1.2 standard. Virtualization compliance is mentioned, but only generally, and there are no specific virtualization security recommendations. In fact, the major change in version 2.0 is that PCI Security Standards Council brought the virtualization layer into the scope of the standard, which governs organizations that handle credit card information.

Previously, virtualization was completely ignored, so the move is a step in the right direction. But without firm guidance on how to ensure virtualization compliance, the standard is still ineffective. And the council doesn’t plan to update PCI DSS 2.0 for another three years, so it will be quite a while before we get more detail about protecting credit card information in virtual infrastructures.

Read the full article at searchvmware.com…

Jan 07 2011

Why physical performance monitoring tools aren’t enough

You can’t rely on traditional performance monitoring tools for monitoring a virtual infrastructure. Using the same tools that you would in a physical environment often results in inaccurate and incomplete metrics.

For the most accurate method, you need to know which performance monitoring tools to use and what to monitor in your infrastructure.

Physical performance monitoring tools: Why not?

Performance monitoring tools that are designed for a physical infrastructure use an operating system to measure and monitor the performance statistics of servers’ physical hardware. In a virtual infrastructure, the guest OS can’t see the physical hardware, only the virtual hardware that has been emulated by the hypervisor. Because an OS can’t directly access most of the host server’s physical hardware, traditional performance monitoring tools won’t function properly in a virtual infrastructure.

Read the full article at searchservervirtualization.com…

Oct 05 2010

10 tips for managing storage for virtual servers and virtual desktops

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Server and desktop virtualization have provided relatively easy ways to consolidate and conserve, allowing a reduction in physical systems. But these technologies have also introduced problems for data storage managers who need to effectively configure their storage resources to meet the needs of a consolidated infrastructure.

Server virtualization typically concentrates the workloads of many servers onto a few shared storage devices, often creating bottlenecks as many virtual machines (VMs) compete for storage resources. With desktop virtualization this concentration becomes even denser as many more desktops are typically running on a single host. As a result, managing storage in a virtual environment is an ongoing challenge that usually requires the combined efforts of desktop, server, virtualization and storage administrators to ensure that virtualized servers and desktops perform well. Here are 10 tips to help you better manage your storage in virtual environments.

Read the full article at searchstorage.com…

Aug 09 2010

Data backup application choices for backing up virtual server environments

Traditional data backup procedures used with physical servers typically consist of using an operating system (OS) agent running on each server to be backed up. But virtualization technology changes everything, and introduces more options and flexibility when backing up your servers.

This article will look at how data backup applications that were originally developed to back up physical systems and how they have adapted to support virtual server environments. You’ll also learn about data backup applications that were developed specifically for virtualization, and additional methods that are available for backing up virtual machines (VMs).

Read the full article at searchdatabackup.com…