After virtualization has been implemented, there are specialized tools to assist with performance analysis. After virtualization has been implemented, analysis is more complex because there are many virtual machines running on a single server. One such tool my firm has used on virtualized environments is Akorri BalancePoint. This performance-analysis tool for servers, storage systems, and applications is "virtualization aware" and ideally suited for use with VMware. Because of the virtualization of all the normally physical components of a data center -- network, server and storage -- it can be difficult to diagnose and resolve problems with traditional software tools. BalancePoint does the following in your virtualized environment:
• Displays a mapping of physical to virtual resources for each application running on a VM
• Measures the performance of physical and virtual elements
• Provides alerts and recommendations when problems are discovered
• Provides historical baselines of all virtual machines
• Identifies which virtual machines are overutilizing resources
• Provides detailed I/O data
• Provides comprehensive reporting
Even the most well-run data center is not immune to problems and bottlenecks. BalancePoint can provide invaluable troubleshooting capabilities. It facilitates deep analysis into the critical elements: operating systems, databases, servers, storage, virtualization systems, helping to accelerate the troubleshooting process. Figure 3-6 is a performance overview produced by BalancePoint.
Figure 3-6 Performance Overview
The report shown in Figure 3-6 illustrates the response time and throughput of a Microsoft Exchange server with the underlying storage system. The thresholds can help alert potential bottlenecks. Response time is often the measure of whether an environment has been successfully virtualized, so this detailed analysis is immensely helpful.
Despite the gains in server utilization offered by virtualization, capacity planning is still a challenge. BalancePoint helps indicate where additional resources are available and where more virtual machines can be allocated without running into capacity or performance problems. Rather than waiting until problems are evident, BalancePoint can help an administrator strategically plan how virtual and physical resources are allocated. Virtualization is addictive, and with these useful outputs, you can clearly see where you can add additional virtual machines and still maintain the desired response times. Figure 3-7 shows the response time.
Figure 3-7 Response Time Forecast
Although the colors in Figure 3-7 are lost, you can see that actual and forecast data are provided The tool shows what you can expect to see when applications are added to the environment which, in some cases, may have an adverse impact on the applications currently running on the server.
It is easy to see how this tool can be invaluable for managing a virtual infrastructure. This, and similar software tools, can make the already impressive ROI that virtualization provides even more impressive with the ability to add forecast data to existing data.
The benefits presented in this chapter make a compelling argument for server virtualization. The results presented are typical for server virtualization. The case study illustrates what can be expected in any server virtualization and is by no means extreme. Every such assessment I've run has resulted in a sever virtualization project because, with immense benefits presented in this chapter, it is difficult to decline taking on server virtualization.
The next chapter covers the Return on Investment (ROI) for the new
The virtualized server environment
Analyzing data in a virtualized server environment
Running performance analysis after server virtualization
Printed with permission from Prentice Hall. Copyright 2009. Foundations of Green IT: Consolidation, Virtualization, Efficiency, and ROI in the Data Center by Marty Poniatowski. For more information about this title and other similar books, please visit Prentice Hall.