5 virtualisation management tips to live by
Neither Cloud computing nor virtual servers were intended as agents that would change traditional IT organisations, says Rachel Dines, a researcher at Forrester Technology who specialises in IT infrastructure and management. Nevertheless IT organisation and management issues are turning out to be near as important as the research itself to making large-scale virtual-server migrations effective..
"If you think about it, it kind of makes sense to have all the system administration for a certain data center in one group defined by physical area," she said. "The first thing that happened with virtual servers is that the VM administrators had to reach beyond that geographic space and get involved with the applications and the business units they were working with."
It seems simplistic, however shifting a server from physical to virtual eliminates its allegiance to the physical box on which it lives, Wolf says. That means sysadmins can change their focus from the boxes in their immediate area to all the virtual servers handling load balancing, or security duties, or all the VMs running applications for a particular business unit.
The success of both the virtualization project
It's as well so critical to the success of both the virtualization project and overall IT performance that it is becoming a separate department or set of job descriptions for people who can take into account not only the capacity of computing hardware, nevertheless also anticipate needs of business units.
As virtualization expands and business-unit managers get more used to the idea they can order up high-level IT services from external cloud providers "and pay for them with a credit card, not ask IT for budget to do it," their relationship with IT changes as then, Smoot says.
"Instead of just dealing with one application for a business unit, IT is responding more to a wider range of business needs. As that happens IT has to become more of a service that supports the business and allows users in the business unit to do more self service, as they become more comfortable with app stores and provisioning their own servers," Smoot says.
All those organizational changes and new job requirements more often than not require a lot of new hires -- people with skills not present in middle management or the rank and file, according to John Reed, executive director at Robert Half Innovation, the IT recruiting arm of Robert Half International.
"The number of jobs posted for jobs with cloud computing or virtualization is growing daily, growing exponentially," Reed says. "Even job descriptions that aren't primarily cloud related -- networking or security analysts -- typically have some responsibility for handling those functions as they relate to the cloud, protecting data as it moves back and forth, or working with an external app vendor to set layers of security for specific apps in specific circumstances.
Most companies aren't ready to make large-scale organizational changes to accommodate virtualization, even if they as a matter of fact believe in the research, Gillett says.
The organizational issues are
Critical as the organizational issues are, automating security, provisioning policies and all the other disparate demands of virtualized infrastructures takes a lot of innovation as then.
"Trying to get to cloud, there's a whole implementation layer -- self-service functions, portals, resource-consumption trackers, chargeback to users that's based on consumption or rather that the number of servers -- there is a lot of automation research required to manage the whole thing effectively," Gillett says.
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