VMTurbo’s Virtual Data Center Management Adds Support for Storage, Hybrid Clouds

The latest update from VMTurbo aims to give IT more control over its expanding virtual data center environments. VMTurbo’s Operations Manager 4.0 adds modular components to simplify and automate complex aspects of managing workloads running with virtual storage and hybrid clouds. IDN talks with VMTurbo’s vice president Lauren Whitehouse.

Tags: aws, cloud, cloud management, data center, hybrid, hypervisor, management, operations, SLA, storage, VDC, virtual VMTurbo, expert voice,

lauren_whitehouse
Lauren Whitehouse
director, product marketing

 


“With this release, we’re able to crack open and understand all elements of the virtual data center and make recommendations.”

VMTurbo’s latest update to its foundation Operations Manager product looks to give IT more control over its expanding virtual data center environments. Operations Manager 4.0 adds modular components to simplify and automate complex aspects of managing workloads across a variety of hypervisors, virtual storage and on-premise, private and public cloud resources.

Today, with IT teams and tools often specialized for devs, operations and management, it can be difficult to make quick and efficient decisions about how to apportion resources across on-premise, virtual data center and cloud, according to Lauren Whitehouse, VMTurbo’s director of product marketing.

The growing adoption of virtual and cloud infrastructure is a key reason why VMTurbo is updating Operations Manager with a more modular foundation, along with new modules for virtual storage and hybrid clouds. 

“IT needs more data on how virtual data center resources support their workloads. With Operations Manager 4.0, we’re delivering better and more rapid insights to IT about workloads, as well as dependencies, across the infrastructure,” Whitehouse told IDN. “Basically, with this release [of Operations Manager], we’ve been able to crack open and understand all elements of the virtual data center at a more granular level and make recommendations,” she added. 

VMTurbo founder and CTO Shmuel Kliger put it this way in a statement: “VMTurbo’s foundational framework and policy engine combined with component extensions address the IT stack above and below the virtualization layer, driving resource allocation and workload placement decisions that optimize efficiency and assure performance of virtualized workloads.”

Inside Benefits, Upgrades in VMTurbo’s Operations Manager 4.0
Out-of the-box VMTurbo Operations Manager 4.0 tracks virtualized compute, storage, and hybrid cloud (converged fabric) resources. It can also support multiple hypervisors from a single instance.

VMTurbo’s Operations Manager 4.0 offers these features and benefits:

  • Storage Extension – Via its storage resource controller, Operations Manager 4.0 extends control actions to the back-end of datastores. This provides IT operations more granular instrumentation, which supports better decision making and control of storage and workloads.

    “Storage is quickly becoming more strategic,” Whitehouse said. “Organizations are trying to use public cloud, but they often can’t store anything with special security requirements. So, they need to get their arms around cases where corporate data out of control of IT, such as when employees store [data] in Box accounts.”

    VMTurbo’s Operations Manager 4.0 also looks to improve performance for accessing storage by helping IT eliminate the need for extra hardware and optimize where and how to store their data, she added.
  • Hybrid Cloud Extension – Operations Manager 4.0 provides specific guidance regarding the “what, when and where” of running workloads in private, public, or combined cloud infrastructures to optimize performance of virtual workloads across on-premise, and private/public clouds.  While the public cloud offers very compelling low-cost services, once IT looks for higher level controls they can often be disappointed, Whitehouse noted.

    “More and more organizations are trying to use more public cloud, but they can’t run complaint-specific workloads or anything with special security requirements,” Whitehouse said.

    “So, while the public cloud services, such as Amazon, can offer on-demand agility, IT is hesitant because they don’t know what they should run there,” Whitehouse added. With that in mind, Operations Manager 4.0 provides guidance and can integrate with public cloud infrastructures.  “This way, we know and understand the constructs of those cloud environments, regions and availability zones, and that lets us make recommendations for what you should out in what environment,” she added.
  • Storage Tiering – Operations Manager 4.0 discovers storage policies and limits recommendations accordingly. For example, if a virtual machine uses storage that is within a storage cluster, all recommended actions are constrained by its cluster.
  • High Availability – To ensure performance can be highly available to comply with SLAs (internal, external, partners), Operations Manager 4.0 can recognize and respect dedicated- and shared-failover vSphere HA configurations in the HA cluster.

VMTurbo’s architecture consists of an extensible framework built on the company’s secret sauce – an economic scheduling engine that monitors live operations and virtual workloads resource consumption to gather performance-related analytics. Combined, VMTurbo’s engine, framework and extensible modules work in consort to provide and automate holistic control of infrastructure and operations – not just passive views, Whitehouse said. 

Pushing a Data-Driven Predictive, Economic Management Model

VMTurbo Operations Manager 4.0 builds on the company’s intelligent software layer of abstraction across any virtual environment. This technology lets VMTurbo collect analytics and run economic algorithms that analyze the performance of the entire infrastructure, even across multiple VM and cloud technologies. VMTurbo can then automatically prescribe and set actions to align performance with business and operational needs, she said.

In that perspective, VMTurbo’s approach with Operations Manager from the start has been to provide IT a predictive management approach – one that discerns future problems and adjusts before they happen. This varies from many virtual workload management tools that track and alert to imminent performance hits or interruptions, Whitehouse said.  vmturbo_om4_01

Taking this proactive and predictive approach means VMTurbo gathers more data upon which to base it decisions (and not simply present detailed and perhaps consuming dashboards).

Whitehouse described the approach this way: “It’s our algorithms that can automatically make proactive and intelligent decisions. Users don’t always have time to decode all the data they might see in a dashboard to keep things running smoothly. So, we help make customers comfortable with using automation to help ensure their SLAs, performance and policy compliance.”

Crucial to these data-driven predictions and adjustments is VMTurbo’s “economic scheduling engine,” which uses a market-basket approach to valuing resources to deliver the best performance for the most important apps and operations. The basket includes a wide range of components that affect how apps run, including network I/O, storage I/O, storage latency, memory, CPU and more. The new extensions allow Operations Manager 4.0 to make predictive calculations, not almost real-time adjustments, across on-premise, private and public clouds, Whitehouse said.
 
“We gather info from [hypervisor management tools] to understand the storage environment and we look at that as a set of resources, so we know what policies are implemented that affect capacity and performance,” she said. Further, VMTurbo can leverage APIs from vendors to gather and react to more specific information, she added.

The same “more-data-equals-better-decisions” approach is evident in Operations Manager 4.0’s support for hybrid cloud, Whitehouse said.

“The cloud offers on-demand agility, but organizations are hesitant because they don’t know what they should run. In 4.0, we are expanding capabilities so we are integrated with cloud infrastructure and Microsoft Azure, for instance, so we know and understand the constructs of those cloud environments, regions and availability zones,” she told IDN. “This means we can make recommendations for what you should put in what environment, on-premise or cloud.”  

In Operations Manager 4.0, VMTurbo can connect to Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure or anything a customer might provision as part of its “market basket” model of resources, she added.
 
This newly-expanded modularity for VMTurbo’s foundation sets the stage for future resource-specific modules, she added. 

For all the focus on predictive problem avoidance, VMTurbo’s Operations Manager 4.0 also provides views to all stakeholders. The new Workload Health View gives granular data and insights on the distribution of workloads throughout the virtual estate. It provides a simple-to-consume, at-a-glance view on how workloads are utilized, how virtual machines utilize their underlying host and storage resources, and impacts on performance.

To further put IT and business on the same page, users can export dashboard displays from Operations Manager 4.0 to portable PDF format to provide a wide range of enhanced reporting to all stakeholders.

For MSPs and cloud providers, Operations Manager 4.0 also sports enhanced multi-tenancy to better manage views and/or metrics within views that are shared with subscribers.

One IT analyst said that as virtualization continues to transform the data center, new methods of operations management will be in demand.

“Server virtualization is forcing a transformation of data center management beyond the ad-hoc fragmentation and limitations of current systems. When it comes to managing today’s virtualized workloads, what’s needed is coordinated control of the whole stack supporting virtualized applications, including automatic determination of the right mix of resources needed to meet workload requirements and business objectives,” said Paul Burns, president of Neovise.

Operations Manager 4.0 is priced starting at $699 per physical CPU socket. The Storage Extension starts at $599 per CPU socket. The Hybrid Cloud Extension is available to current VMTurbo customers in its “early access” program.




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