are businesses flying blind in their virtual environment?

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Nearly half of firms that use virtualization say they suffer delays in resolving IT problems because of a lack of visibility into their whole information technology infrastructure, according to a survey of chief information officers.

The global survey of 253 CIOs - carried out by Vanson Bourne on behalf of VMware management solutions provider Veeam Software - also claimed that 45% of respondents said lack of visibility was slowing down their organisation’s adoption of virtualization.

More than three quarters of respondents who currently use specialist tools, but would prefer to use traditional enterprise-wide management tools said they were unable to do so because the latter did not provide the required level of granularity for monitoring, managing and making changes to virtual infrastructure.

In a report published last year, Neil MacDonald - vice president and fellow at Gartner – said it was necessary to have an intelligent conversation between the operations side and the security side about what is different between the virtualized and physical environment. Gartner expects more than half of enterprise data center workloads that could potentially be virtualized to move to a virtual environment by next year.

One of his main concerns was loss of visibility on the internal virtual machine to virtual machine traffic that goes on inside a server - the sort of traffic that administrators would see if it were on a network between servers. “We do not have visibility as it stands – we are blind. Moreover, the legacy management vendors have been slow in rolling out visibility tools or upgrading their toolsets to support the virtual environment.”

According to Evolven, which specializes in virtualization management technology, the ease of virtual machine deployment and features like live migration drive dynamic workload agility, but also avoid traditional safeguards like approval or procurement steps that previously ensured security, compliance, availability, performance and cost control.

Traditional management tools cannot deal with this type or rate of change, so administrators lose control of virtual machine deployment, configuration, compliance, migration and performance - effectively leaving the virtual machine activity invisible to IT operations.

If companies fail to address these problems then they are not only flying blind in the virtual environment, they may also be wiping out any costs savings they hoped to gain by implementing virtualization in the first place.

Stewart Baines

I've been writing about technology for nearly 20 years, including editing industry magazines Connect and Communications International. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Anthony Plewes. My focus in Futurity Media is in emerging technologies, social media and future gazing. As a graduate of philosophy & science, I have studied futurology & foresight to the post-grad level.