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Andrew Mallaband

The Pragmatist’s Guide to the Desired State: Bringing Demand-Driven Control to the Data Center Gradually

We get it. Believing that our demand-driven control software will actually do the thinking and doing for you is a gradual process. In a previous post I mentioned that our banking customers will typically start with automating vMotions in VMTurbo. They see a lot of value in taking this initial step, but that’s just scratching the surface of what VMTurbo can do for them.

Every decision and every action that VMTurbo recommends is about driving your environment to its Desired State—where application performance is assured while maximizing infrastructure utilization. Once customers see this mandate in action with vMotions, they want more. Subsequent phases of implementation can tackle use cases that increase the value of Operation Manager and may require integration with upstream or downstream systems, data center architecture changes to the environment or policy/process changes.

Examples of these types of use cases include:

Provisioning Integration

VMTurbo integrates into the deployment process by providing the ability to reserve capacity and feedback best placement decisions at the point of provisioning. VMTurbo integrates into the provisioning/orchestration solution that our customers utilize (e.g. vRealize Automation, Microsoft SCOrch) through our REST API.

Storage Optimization

We understand that some storage changes for our customers require a change request, including Storage vMotions. VMTurbo’s Operations Manager can be seamlessly extended into the storage layer with our Storage Control Module. It essentially gives VMTurbo additional visibility into what physical storage is available and where. When applications have storage demands, the possible placements for those workloads are not limited to virtual storage, driving tighter control of the entire data center environment.

In fact, VMTurbo and PureStorage have recently developed a joint solution for enterprises, specifically interested in flash array storage. In addition we have specific solutions for EMC, NetApp and HP 3PAR.

Cross Cluster Placement

Cross Cluster Placement leverages the capability of vCenter to perform cross cluster vMotions and typically enables an additional 10-20% efficiency gain. It is dependent on the data center architecture that a customer has in place (e.g. vLANs and Storage must be provisioned across the target clusters, common processor architectures). It often requires some re-engineering on the platform side to facilitate. For any new platform engineering initiatives, it is recommended that these capabilities be engineered in from day one to enable ultimate flexibility. Customers looking to take advantage of cross cluster placement, generally adopt VMTurbo’s Network Control Module. The module extends visibility into the dimension of Flow data through flow collectors (e.g. NetFlow, sFlow). Operations Manager, ensures that application components that interact frequently do not end up being placed at opposite ends of the network backbone resulting in increased latency

Application Scaling

VMTurbo has built the capability to auto scale application servers horizontally or vertically (up or down) based on demand in response to QoS targets. It also works in concert with scaling of the underlying virtual infrastructure they run on. (VMTurbo is current working on expanding this functionality for databases; expected delivery is in Q2 this year.)

VM Rightsizing

VM Resizing is often perceived as the silver bullet that is going to unlock lots of capacity. The reality, however, is that VMware deals very well with oversubscription. The real gains we have seen are in the small order of 5-10% across a large estate.  It is also typically a disruptive action that requires downtime and the approval of an owner as well as integration into a change management process/system which handles requests, approvals and schedules for maintenance windows.

VMTurbo creates a change request and when it is approved it executes the change in a defined maintenance window. Given the process changes, stakeholder buy in and lower efficiency gains VM rightsizing is generally not a first priority for our banking customers.

So there you have it. Go ahead, start with automating vMotions. But then consider expanding implementation in your environment. VMTurbo will make the decisions that drive your environment to perpetual health. Its intelligent workload placement takes every resource and entity into account—and then it also considers how each decision will affect the environment as a whole. Can you do that? Doubtful. Would you even want to? Doubly doubtful.

Every action has a reaction and only VMTurbo’s platform is capable of processing all of it. So let it. You’re much more valuable as a big thinking, problem solving innovator. Embrace it.

Download your 30-day Operations Manager trial today.