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VM sprawl brings virtual infrastructure management solutions opportunities

Customers are turning to the channel for virtual infrastructure management solutions that address VM sprawl and provide more business visibility.

Now that virtualization is a mainstream technology, there’s more demand in the IT channel for virtual infrastructure management solutions.

Twin concerns drive this burgeoning interest in virtual infrastructure management. The first is virtual machine (VM) sprawl, which can drain storage, CPU and network resources and negate some of virtualization’s benefits. The second is the push for more detailed insight into how technology resources support specific business needs.

VM sprawl: Once an afterthought, now a priority

It is hard to separate the business and technical arguments in favor of virtual infrastructure management solutions, because virtualization brings the business and technical sides of an organization closer together, said John Richardson, service director for managed services with GlassHouse Technologies Inc., a data center infrastructure services company in Framingham, Mass.

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Before virtualization, data centers were filled with underutilized servers, so sprawl was never a consideration. Plus, “you didn’t have to worry about performance management,” Richardson said. “You didn’t have to worry about the impact of one resource on another. The level of interdependence was a lot lower.”

Virtual infrastructure management has been an afterthought during many virtualization deployments, said Terry Buchanan, chief technology officer for enterprise integrator Zycom Technology Inc., in Kingston, Ont. But, today, more enterprise IT organizations are beginning to understand the implications of this inaction.

VM sprawl is the short-term motivator for many. Virtualization makes it easy to create new servers, so it’s important for IT managers to keep tabs on them and de-provision them when they’re no longer needed, Buchanan said.

Demand for virtual infrastructure management solutions

Market research predictions for virtual infrastructure management technology  from IDC call for a compound annual growth rate of 11.1% in the market between 2010 and 2015, with approximately $1.4 billion in revenue by the end of that period.

To get a grip on customers’ virtual infrastructure, solution providers must embrace new management technologies that layer with existing hardware-based tools. It should come as little surprise that virtualization leader VMware is keenly focused on this market with its vCloud Director platform.

Another player focused on building relationships with the channel is Embotics, developer of V-Commander. Several large enterprise software players have bought up related virtual infrastructure management vendors and technologies: NetApp snapped up the Akorri performance management platform, Novell bought the PlateSpin portfolio and Quest Software acquired acquired Vizioncore and VKernel. Other players to consider include DynamicOps, Netuitive, SolarWinds, ToutVirtual and Veeam Software, plus many larger vendors of overall IT infrastructure management solutions.

“Technologies such as these are augmenting what’s in place,” Buchanan said. “Concerns about network management and other areas don’t go away. This is another layer.”

Other key elements of virtual infrastructure management are automation and data collection. Together, they enable IT organizations and solution providers to focus on more strategic concerns and to get ahead of potential service-level problems before they actually become an issue, said Henry Vernov, senior IT systems engineer for Net@Work, an integrator in New York.

Ultimately, virtual infrastructure management solutions crucial for businesses to create effective and efficient private clouds.

“We are really seeing a much greater appetite for private cloud infrastructure, which is definitely related to the growing interest in management,” Buchanan said.

About the expert
Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist in the New York City area with more than 20 years’ experience. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. Clancy was previously editor at Computer Reseller News, a B2B trade publication covering news and trends about the high-tech channel.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Leah Rosin at

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