EMC tackles VMware management

By Kevin Komiega

At the VMworld conference last month, EMC announced a round of upgrades to its ControlCenter storage resource management (SRM) software, including Application Discovery Manager (ADM) and EMC Infra service desk system products that blend the management of traditional physical systems with VMware virtual machines.

With the new ControlCenter 6.1 release, EMC has extended its SRM and Symmetrix Virtual Provisioning (EMC’s implementation of thin provisioning) to VMware environments.

As a result, EMC DMX-3 and DMX-4 customers can create thin devices and pools, and provision thin devices to physical servers and VMware ESX servers. ControlCenter 6.1 also allows users to track capacity consumption for thin devices and pools for virtual guests and ESX servers, graphically identify resource relationships and topologies from virtual guests down to thin pools and data devices, and monitor status and troubleshoot performance and availability issues.

Kevin Gray, EMC’s product marketing manager for resource management software, says server virtualization and thin provisioning share common benefits in terms of consolidation and resource utilization.

“VMware server consolidation combined with the storage utilization benefits of thin provisioning can shorten overall server and storage provisioning times,” says Gray. “Users can spin up virtual machines and more rapidly allocate storage for them.”

EMC also announced upgrades to its Infra IT service management and service desk system, including VMware discovery and virtual dependency mapping integration with EMC ADM. The enhancements bring ITIL processes to the virtual environment and give customers the ability to manage their virtual infrastructure from within a unified service management configuration management database (CMDB).

ADM 6.0 discovers business applications and the relationships among applications, application elements and services, the virtual machines that support them, and their corresponding physical infrastructure in VMware environments. 

The ultimate goal is to maintain service levels by providing visibility into traffic patterns and the interrelationships of virtual machines, and to aid in the construction of data-protection and disaster-recovery plans for VMware Site Recovery Manager and VMware Consolidated Backup.

Bob Quillin, EMC’s senior director of product marketing, says users are putting pressure on vendors to give them management tools that span virtual and physical resources.

“VMware has taken a big leap over the last 12 months from test and development environments into production environments. Users are moving full steam ahead and figuring out the storage implications as they go,” says Quillin. “Management is often the last thing they think of, but the pain points arise pretty quickly.”

According to a recent survey of more than 150 IT professionals by the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), most end users are not ready to tackle the management complexities associated with managing data centers that contain both physical and virtual systems.

Just 24% of the survey respondents are “very confident” that current management tools are up to the task of maintaining service levels in virtual environments (see figure on p. 1), with isolating root-cause problems cited as the top challenge in production environments.

The survey says more than 70% of users will deploy storage virtualization technologies with VMware over the next year, including block-based virtualization, thin provisioning, virtual SANs, and file storage virtualization. 

Bob Laliberte, an analyst with ESG, says day-to-day management tasks will become more complex as virtualization technologies are deployed in production environments.

“Specifically, the requirement for operations teams to have complete visibility of the virtual infrastructure and how that maps to the physical infrastructure will be critical,” says Laliberte.

All of the new EMC products are available now. Extensions to existing products are available as free software upgrades. The Virtual Provisioning support for VMware is available for a capacity-based fee.

This article was originally published on October 01, 2008