July 11, 2013

Virtualization – the good, the bad and the ugly

As part of our ongoing activities around our OneFabric Data Center “2.0” launch I stumbled across multiple interesting data points around virtualization. Obviously we crossed the magic 50% mark last year and now there are more virtual than physical workloads out there. So it is all good? At first sight, yes. But a recent survey conducted by us during a data center webinar showed that more than 73% of the participants experience unplanned cost for virtualization – Inhibiting ROI for their virtualization infrastructure.  On top of this most projects focused on consolidation and redundancy, DR but not enough on agility what I call it a true private cloud infrastructure where all compute, network and storage resources are managed as a single pool and one can instantiate new applications on the fly and dynamically optimize resource usage across the whole pool of all enterprise data centers. So there is room for improvement on this side and our data center solution including OneFabric Control Center and Data Center Manager provide the required level of automation and orchestration between the network fabric and those other components to create that private cloud infrastructure. Another result in our recent survey confirms that 86% of the participants face integration complexities and so they face increasing operational expenses which is a clear sign that those solutions I mentioned are not implemented there.

To create a private cloud enterprises must implement a better demand management. I keep on getting feedback from customers already today that the perception of their business lines is so that virtualized resources come for free. Even they are trying to establish approval workflows they don’t have the ability for charge back and so every request from their business units gets fulfilled. That results in an ongoing increase of VM workloads in the data center. 20% and more increase per year is not an exception here (not counting the additional number of workloads that are created while the physical to virtual migration is ongoing). This level of VM sprawl almost defeats the initial purpose of virtualization: server consolidation and so reduction in cost – footprint, cooling and power.

On top of operational complexities associated with a fully virtualized environment a customer of ours phrased an interesting statement: “virtualization has resulted in a generation of application developers who assume that compute resources are infinite. So no code optimization takes place anymore”. I quote without the name to protect the innocent… but that seems to be true: demanding 24 cores for a single VM do not seem unrealistic even it could be done much more efficient.

f you combine the increasing demand from application developers with the “no cost attitude” from the business units then you end up with a exponentially growing number of virtual workloads that have serious physical compute and storage requirements.

So the ROI is under pressure for those deployments – but probably the advantages through more agility to support the business take all of those concerns off the table. And this is probably right: businesses need to understand the power of  an agile IT and the network as a strategic asset that can be used to create competitive advantages and drive new business. And so we are in the shiny new virtualized world.


About The Contributor:
Markus NispelVice President Solutions Architecture and Innovation

Markus Nispel is the Vice President Solutions Architecture and Innovation at Extreme Networks. Working closely together with key customers his focus is the strategic solution development across all technologies provided by Extreme. In his previous role he was responsible as the Chief Technology Strategist and VP Solutions Architecture for the Enterasys Networks solutions portfolio and strategy, namely NAC Network Access Control, SDN Software Defined Networks, DCM Data Center Management, MDM Mobile Device Management Integration, OneFabric, OneFabric Connect and OneFabric Data Center as well as the network management strategy. This position is tied to his previous role in Enterasys as Director Technology Marketing and as a member of the Office of the CTO. In addition to this role he advises key accounts on a worldwide basis in strategic network decisions. Before its activity for Enterasys Markus Nispel was active as system Engineer at Cabletron Systems. Markus Nispel studied at the university of applied sciences in Dieburg and graduaded 1996 as Dipl. – Engineer for communications technology. He collected first professional experience at E-Plus Mobile Communications within the group of network optimization of their DCS cellular mobile network.

See My Other Posts