Report Says Enterprises Need Help with Virtualization

Companies' inability to successfully manage their business-critical application with their virtualization efforts creates an opportunity for channel partners.

An infrastructure virtualization strategy for enterprises could backfire if the businesses fail to successfully manage the performance of their business-critical applications, according to a recent study by Bojan Simic, an analyst at research firm Aberdeen.

That could help set the stage for channel partners to build a revenue stream aiding enterprises in managing their virtualization efforts. Channel distributors and vendors have been stepping up their virtualization training efforts to better prepare VARs to sell and support virtualization products.

The report noted that virtualization management is difficult because many companies lack the tools to look in on a virtualized environment and see what is occurring, the report noted.

The study, which surveyed 137 enterprises in December, also discovered that companies do much better in improving performance for business-critical applications when they're in a physical environment, rather than in a virtualized environment. That's because they lack the adequate tools to do so under virtualization, Simic said.

"If organizations don't have capabilities in place for the effective management of application performance, some of the benefits of virtualization could diminish," Simic added..

Simic's findings highlight a dark underside to a rare bright spot for IT: spending on virtualization is expected to grow in 2009, thanks to the idea that the technology can help reduce datacenter costs while improving efficiency and utilization.

Virtualization Management Needed

But the study found that keeping business-critical applications at peak performance may actually be harder in virtualized environments. For example, when using tools to manage business-critical applications in physical environments, 62 percent of the enterprises surveyed by Simic reported improved mean time between repairs (MTBR). That figure dropped to 32 percent in the virtualized environment.

Simic found that enterprises had an 85 percent success rate in identifying performance issues before they impacted end users, but only in setups that relied on a physical environment. The rate for virtualized environments was 37 percent.

And 67 percent of respondents said they saw improved application response times when managing business-critical applications in the physical environment, while the figure for virtualized environments was 39 percent

Companies that have begun virtualization projects have complained about the lack of adequate tools -- prompting a recent flood of new offerings from major players in the system management space, such as CA (NYSE: CA), IBM (NYSE: IBM), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) and BMC (NYSE: BMC).

But Simic said customers are reporting that many of those products don't do a good enough job. "Even though a lot of systems management vendors have capabilities for visibility into the virtual infrastructure, that is not enough to give you full visibility into application performance in virtual environments," Simic said. "End users need capabilities that go beyond server monitoring and focus on application monitoring."

That inability to look into virtualized environments means enterprises aren't able to fully understand what is going on in their systems. For 55 percent of the survey's respondents, this shortcoming represents the main obstacle to optimizing application performance in virtualized environments.

(This article was adapted from InternetNews.com.)


TAGS: Microsoft,IBM,virtualization,datacenter,CA

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