How virtualization performance monitoring increases ROI

Performance monitoring can improve resource allocation and increase efficiency, boosting virtualization performance and increasing your ROI.

Everyone knows about server consolidation’s ROI benefits, but virtualization performance monitoring can also deliver

more bang for the buck.

Virtualization got its foothold in data centers based upon one simple idea -- doing more with less. With fewer physical servers to manage, virtualized data centers are simply more efficient. That efficiency can deliver measurable savings because fewer servers mean a reduction in power usage, physical hardware support, square footage and cooling.

But the savings shouldn’t end there. A number of options, enhancements and capabilities are available today that can help data center managers monitor virtualization performance and increase virtualization’s return on investment (ROI) while reducing its total cost of ownership.

Virtualization is touted as the technology that offers significant savings, but it is actually server consolidation that really reduces costs. Virtualization is just the technology that makes consolidation viable. So if consolidation has already saved your organization money, how can you squeeze even more out of the technology?

Shifting the focus to virtualization performance monitoring
Think of it like this: If you shift the focus to overall data center operations and consider how virtualization has become part of the actual infrastructure, then it becomes much easier to identify elements ripe for improvement. Performance monitoring can help you target those areas and secure greater savings.

Virtualized servers and the related infrastructure pose a significant management burden, which does not end with implementation. Data center staff has to worry about other issues, such as provisioning, backup, resiliency, availability and failover, among others. To date, many have relied on a combination of bundled tools, third-party applications and gut instincts to keep data centers with virtual servers up and running, which is not an ideal approach.

These management areas are prime targets for savings. Ideally, management of virtual servers should be integrated into the overall management of the data center, eliminating the various silos of non-integrated management tools.

To make management a little easier, vendors that provide management tools have enhanced their offerings to address the unique requirements of today’s virtual servers.

There are some critical capabilities that a virtualization platform management tool should offer -- most important is real-time virtualization performance monitoring.

Keeping tabs on virtualization performance
Virtualization performance monitoring can reduce costs in several ways -- administrators can use it to determine the load of a particular physical machine, which allows them to decide if more servers can be consolidated onto the hardware. Monitoring performance can also indicate if there are availability problems, so administrators can address them before they become detrimental to data center efficiency.  

One of the more critical aspects of performance monitoring comes from the ability to auto-spool or provision additional resources under times of high demand. Here, an advanced monitoring tool can launch additional virtual resources to meet load-balancing needs. That capability allows administrators to further reduce a physical server footprint by allocating shared resources on a demand basis, which can reduce capital expenses even more.

Management tools that offer a singular dashboard view of virtual operations can be valuable time savers. With a quick glance, administrators can check the status of virtual servers and other devices, allowing them to plan resources more effectively or respond to problems quickly.

Dashboards should also incorporate drill-down capabilities, which help to reduce the time it takes to troubleshoot a problem. Saving time on problem-solving helps to improve ROI on many levels -- not the least of which is staffing costs.

Management tools can lead to other savings related to maintenance tasks. Many of the management tools on the market integrate with the APIs from the leading virtualization platform vendors. That integration helps administrators automate backups, apply patches and perform settings changes to reduce service interruptions.

What’s more, the integrated nature of management tools helps to ease change management tasks. Virtualization performance monitoring ensures that accidental changes are avoided, thanks to comprehensive logs, reporting and assigned roles. Recovery from failed patches is simplified, and administrators are able to keep better tabs on operations.

This was first published in June 2011

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