Tuesday May 08, 2007

Applying Virtualisation To Your Consolidation Project

I gave at talk at the Gartner Infrastructure, Operations & Data Centre Summit on data centre consolidation yesterday. My slot was only thirty minutes so I decided to focus on aligning virtualisation technologies to consolidation goals.

With the proliferation of products in this space, it has become increasingly important that IT architects understand both the technical and business merits of the technologies. While many of the products produce a similar high level results (usually more applications on a particular piece of hardware), how they achieve this may greatly impact the overall success of a consolidation project. For example, if you have outsourced your infrastructure and are paying on a per operating system instance basis, then applying hypervisor-based products that virtualise hardware will not help you achieve your goals (and might actually increase your costs due to a control instance). Likewise, virtualising at the operating system may unnecessarily limit your flexibility when you only need to raise system utilisation.

It was too bad that I only had thirty minutes as I have a lot of material on the topic. I really wanted to describe a decision tree for the process -- and some of the consequences -- but I barely got through what I had on the slides as it was. All together, I probably have almost enough for the virtualisation chapter of my book revision. When I get it into beta form, I'll post it here.

Monday Jan 16, 2006

We're Getting The Band Back Together !

After I finished co-writing my second book a few years ago, I pretty much swore off writing books. Ever.  I was just burnt out. Staying up until 1 AM in the morning, writing about IT strategy wasn't exactly how I envisioned my rock-star life in college. (Un)fortunately, data center consolidation was quickly going from IT hype to IT reality, so I started getting calls from my first book's co-author, David. They would go pretty much like this:
DAVID: You know the consolidation book is getting out of date.
ME: Really? That copy on my bookshelf looks completely new.
DAVID: It really need to update it with zones, storage and virtualization.
ME: Yeah, someone really does need to get on that.
DAVID: I think a second edition of the book is in order.
ME: Maybe a blog entry would cover it.
DAVID: Writing the book was really great fun.
ME: I didn't sleep for 4 months.
DAVID: Good times.
And I was serious. You see, writing a second edition of a book is the literary equivalent of 60s-era rocker reunion tours. You've already toured Madison Square Gardens (and Iowa City Municipal Auditorium), met the groupies and gone through rehab. Heck, your drummer has probably already died someone along the way. Either way, that magical newness just isn't there. And without that excitement, it's really difficult to find the time to write late into the night, for night after night.

Which is exactly why David and I are writing the second edition of "Consolidation In The Data Center."

Now that consolidation has matured from something people doubted to standard operating procedure, I think it is even more important that IT managers and architects understand how to best assess, architect and deploy consolidated environments. The advances in technology (most notably within Solaris) have also made new patterns for deployment possible. But ultimately, success relies upon getting good advice to tailor these technologies to your environment. And to that fact, David and I have recruited several other talented authors within Sun to contribute their knowledge of consolidation best practices to the book. So plan expect hope to see new chapters on:
  • Consolidation enabling technologies like virtualization and grid
  • Characterizing applications for consolidation and criticality.
  • New case studies
We'll also be updating almost every chapter with new nuggets of consolidation goodness.

I'll blog more about this (maybe even mention a publication date :> ) as the process wears on. In the meantime, feel free to leave us a comment about topics that you would like to see covered in the second edition. Who knows, we may end up bringing our act to a stadium near you.

Ken Pepple is Chief Technologist for Sun Microsystem's Systems Line of Business


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