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Capacity Management

June 1, 2010 Previous day Next day
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Migrating to a virtualized environment enables tremendous improvements in data center productivity and flexibility. While virtualization significantly increases computing power utilization it also unfolds some challenges. Analyst studies rate Capacity planning as the top challenge of IT in the modern data center. Just to zoom into this challenge - one of the more complex tasks in any virtualization project is recognizing the best candidates for P2V migrations and correctly mixing their workloads into the new virtualization hosts. These challenges make the discipline of Capacity Management a core competency in IT management more critical than ever. Whether you have formalized processes or not - it is vital that you be able to optimize the datacenter from a Capacity Management perspective.

 

One must follow a sequence of steps to achieve the promise of virtualization – that is reduce costs, improve efficiency and utilization – they can be summarized as follows:

 

• Virtualize the right servers to minimize risk and improve operational efficiency

• Avoid over-provisioning and server sprawl

• Optimize the placements of workloads and virtual machines

 

With BMC Capacity Management solutions – you can do just that! IT administrators can easily identify good and bad candidates for virtualization, their optimum placement on a physical host, and the number of virtual machines per physical host. Accurate predictive analysis identifies future needs and when to shift workloads from one physical server to another to avoid disruption of critical systems in the new virtualized modern data center. Hear first hand on how Dell has addressed the challenges posed by virtualization using BMC Capacity Management solutions: Dell Reduces Trouble Tickets Four-fold with BMC

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I recently read a good article by Kevin Fogerty and was compelled to share the following link: http://howto.techworld.com/virtualisation/3211558/how-to-manage-virtual-machine-performance/

 

One of highlights of this article is how companies are STILL struggling with making sure that hardware can support now and future additional load/ demand – which is a real trick because of the almost infinite variety of the software that runs within the virtual environment. Andi Mann from EMA goes on to add that “Both Intel and AMD build in circuits specifically to support both virtualization and the migration of virtual servers. A given server could have between two and eight processors, each of which has between two and eight processing cores. How well your particular server configuration will fare with an idiosyncratic load of software is almost impossible to predict without very specific and painstaking analysis”.

 

 

 

In my personal view - this is exactly why a best of bread Capacity Management solution is needed – one which addresses heterogeneous physical systems + Intel virtualization + plus UNIX virtualization platforms (AIX xPARs, Solaris zones, LDOMs, HP nPAR/vPAR) to address the needs of capacity inside – out to achieve the goals of the business.

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Today, many data centers have servers running at only 10 or 15 percent of total processing capacity. In other words, 85 or 90 percent of the machine’s power is unused. The old processes associated with physical provisioning of servers and associated computing equipment meant that it was difficult, if not impossible, to react quickly to a changing business environment. Virtualization is the answer to increase business agility and operational flexibility.

 

 

Virtualization is an approach to pooling and sharing technology resources to ensure supply can readily meet business demand. However, there are some inherent challenges that arise from virtualization - Virtualized systems make it difficult to keep track of who owns what servers and which business units use which applications on different servers. Proper virtualization management requires capacity planning both before deploying virtualization and once the virtual infrastructure is in place. Unlike physical systems, virtual environments create overlap among servers and hardware, making it difficult to determine where to run applications and which underutilized hardware can take on additional load.

 

 

A life-cycle approach to capacity planning should be put in place which understands resource requirements and uses utilization rates to predict future needs for on-going business agility. Few vendors in the market space have the know-how and expertise that can address both physical and virtual environments in a heterogeneous landscape – so be sure to look for the best in bread across both disciplines when choosing a capacity planning & management vendor. Capacity planning & management are no longer the after-thought but the corner-stone of effective Virtualization in today’s rapidly changing business and IT environment.

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