One of the most difficult but most important and beneficial integration challenges is establishing a virtual infrastructure is with an effective infrastructure management component. This starts with low-level data collection and analysis of individual components of the infrastructure, such as storage, network, backup, and security. These element managers are stovepipes, however, and sharing data between them is often a challenge. There is a need for a common database and common management framework that understands the language of virtualization.
The element managers feed system resource managers that manage the allocation of resources to the vApps. And management requires overall resource managers that manage the allocation of resources between data centers, both in order to meet service level agreements (SLAs), and to enable and planned or unplanned recovery. The key questions that need to be answered are:
- What resources are being consumed and how much is being consumed?
- For each vApp, how much is being comsumed, and how is it trending?
- Are the SLAs being met, and if not, why not (links to problem determination)?
- Where is the vApp in it’s lifecycle, and at this point, what action is required that can be automated?
- How have the end-to-end environment elements or application requirements changed, and what action are required to remediate against the changes?
The core to enabling this management capability is the encapsulation of the SLA data at the vApp layer. This allows the metadata to be available to a unified virtual infrastructure suite.
Common Data Base, Common Management Framework want that framework to understand the language of virtualization – what resources are being consumed, for which vApp how much is being consumed, where and how is it trending -- are you meeting SLAs, if not, why not (problem determination). Components of a management solution include:
- Resource Virtualization:
- Element managers that become “virtualization aware”,
- vCenter plugins for storage, network and servers,
- Common Management Framework that understands the language of virtualization,
- Common database for element managers,
- Integration of networking element managers (e.g., Cisco Nexus Element Manager).
- Application Encapsulation:
- Capture of SLAs at vApp level,
- Monitoring of SLAs at vApp level,
- Plugins for other management software,
- Problem determination and root cause analysis tools that are virtualization aware and enable physical and logical views to be held.
- Internal Cloud:
- Load balancing between VM instances.
- Automation of configuration management to support vApp policy changes
- External Cloud:
- Load balancing between internal and external VM instances.
- Automation of configuration changes to support changing vApp requirements
- Presenation of SLA state compliance for multi-tenant use cases
Additional detail is available in a research note detailing the Infrastructure Management Road Map to meet Virtualization Infrastructure Milestones.
Footnotes: This research is an expansion of a section of research looking into The Value of the VMware Integration Journey