Thin provisioning is another concern. Its purpose is to reduce storage costs by promising applications more space than is available on arrays, but it can crash multiple applications if a host with many virtual machines runs out of space on a thin-provisioned volume without warning. Embotics, among other vendors, provides some storage visibility by monitoring available space and suggesting where to allocate storage for new VMs.
Quest Software Inc.'s vFoglight Storage and vOptimizer Pro provide performance and capacity management for storage in virtual environments, and vOptimizer Pro can automatically resize virtual machines to decrease storage requirements.
Vendors with roots in network management use network traffic data to aid management. When Enterasys' Data Center Manager identifies servers as they join the network, it reconfigures the network for sufficient bandwidth. Network management appliances from Infoblox Inc. are designed to identify new VMs when they request IP addresses and then trigger the provisioning of resources such as firewalls, load balancers and switches for those VMs.
Abiquo, a vendor of open source management software, claims to offer "single pane of glass" management with a system that features policy-based controls of logical units made up of physical and virtual computing, network and storage resources.
Big vendors offer systems that take this approach further. Examples include Cisco Systems Inc.'s Unified Computing System and the Virtual Computing Environment from EMC, Cisco and VMware. IBM's Virtualization Manager manages physical and virtual systems running VMware, Xen, or Microsoft Hyper-V, as well as systems running on IBM's own Power processors.
Monitoring utilization trends and using predictive modeling to determine when to add capacity helps organizations make wise virtualization investments. VMware's vCenter CapacityIQ provides visibility into servers and storage and (to a lesser extent) into the network; it also does predictive modeling.
BMC's ProactiveNet Virtual Performance Management does both capacity and performance management. Technology that BMC acquired from Neptuny will let customers use business metrics to determine investments in virtual infrastructure. Embotics provides real-time capacity and performance management, and VKernel Capacity Analyzer predicts bottlenecks and their sources, and offers capacity planning and management.
Virtualization is worth little if users can't reconfigure resources to tune performance. For example, they might want to move VMs among physical hosts or devote more storage to a VM.
VMware recently purchased Integrien, whose technology analyzes data from the VMware vCenter management platform and other tools to warn of problems. Hyper9's virtualization management software, recently acquired by SolarWinds, identifies possible bottlenecks that might arise when VMs contend for memory and CPU cycles.
Quest's vFoglight highlights performance problems, provides detailed performance information, and issues alerts with recommended solutions. It also has the ability to automate fixes and allows users to see several virtual centers from a single interface.
NetScout uses deep packet inspection and analysis of network traffic to recommend ways to fix (and prevent) performance problems and integrates with the management tools that perform the fixes. VMTurbo Inc.'s virtual appliances automate such operations as workload balancing and capacity management.