Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Liz McMillan, Scott Davis, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Mehdi Daoudi

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

Containers Expo Blog: Article

Ensuring Application Availability in a Virtual Environment

A successful shift to a virtualized data center requires meeting goals of cost-savings and high availability

Virtualization is quickly gaining traction in IT departments around the world. According to Symantec's recent Virtualization and Evolution to the Cloud survey, 76 percent of enterprises are at least discussing virtualization. In the wake of the recent recession, the benefits are too valuable for businesses to ignore. Virtualization can reduce capital/operational expenditures, allow for faster deployment of computing resources, and facilitate management of business processes. Applicable to more than just servers, virtualization is becoming more common in a variety of different IT applications, including storage and desktops. Despite the inroads the technology has made in the data center, however, organizations have remained reluctant to virtualize business-critical applications.

According to the virtualization survey, among organizations implementing server virtualization, more than 50 percent plan to implement virtualization for Web and database applications over the next 12 months. When it comes to business-critical applications, however, 40 percent of CEOs and 42 percent of CFOs are reluctant to make the leap. The most common concern keeping enterprises from making the transition is reliability, cited by 78 percent of survey respondents.

Virtualization Challenges
A successful shift to a virtualized data center requires meeting goals of cost-savings and high availability. Tight budgets mean reduced staff and limited resources are the norm in IT departments today; and cost savings can only be realized if application uptime remains as high as possible. For the typical enterprise, the recovery time objective (RTO [the tolerable amount of application downtime for business-critical applications]) is less than one hour. In some cases, no more than a few minutes can be tolerated because downtime can mean millions of dollars in lost revenue or worker productivity. In light of these needs, IT staff should be aware of the following challenges inherent to a virtualized environment.

Consolidated Points of Failure
Virtualization can increase availability risks by consolidating the points of failure on fewer servers. In addition, further complexities are introduced by ensuring high availability for business-critical applications such as Exchange Server, SQL, SAP, and Oracle that are deployed on a combination of physical and virtual server nodes. For example, an ERP application may have middleware components running in a virtual server, but the underlying database is on a physical server. This combination of increased complexity and "putting all your eggs in one basket" can lead to single points of failure that could disrupt business operations if it is not addressed.

Visibility Limitations
One additional risk posed by virtualization is the lack of visibility into virtualized apps for troubleshooting purposes. When the application components such as the OS and drivers are encapsulated to make portability easier, the result is reduced visibility into the state of those components.

Human Error
Because multiple tools from varying vendors will increase management complexity, human error is more likely to occur with virtualized software. This increases because many high-availability tools are unable to monitor application health sufficiently. According to the Uptime Institute, a New York-based research and consulting organization that focuses on data-center performance, human error causes roughly 70 percent of the problems that plague data centers.

Take a Proactive Approach
In order to mitigate these risks and ensure high application availability, IT staff needs to carefully consider their organization's approach to virtualization. By taking a proactive approach to application management, rather than simply reacting to problems as they occur, you will significantly improve your uptime by avoiding problems before they occur.

Finding the right management software is the simplest way to ensure high availability, but most solutions from virtualization vendors fail to fully meet the scope of an organization's needs. As you consider implementing a comprehensive high-availability solution, look for the following characteristics.

Extensive Support
Look for a solution that provides support for not just the hardware, but also for the different operating systems you run, including UNIX, Windows, Linux, and virtual platforms, as well as a wide range of heterogeneous hardware configurations. Implementing one solution across all platforms will reduce complexity and increase reliability, with the additional benefit of minimizing costs related to training and administration.

Automated Failover
An effective solution will detect faults in an application and all its dependent components, including the associated database, operating system, network, and storage resources. In the event of an outage, the solution must be able to restart the application, connect it to the appropriate resources, and resume normal operations.

Automated Disaster Recovery Testing
With servers and applications constantly changing, the regular testing of a disaster recovery strategy is critical in order to guarantee a successful recovery in the event of a system or site-wide outage. Non-disruptive testing is necessary in order to maintain productivity while identifying potential issues.

Multi-cluster Management and Reporting
Visibility is one of the most important goals in virtualization, but it remains difficult to achieve. Administrators need to be able to monitor, manage, and report on multiple clusters on different platforms, ideally from a single location. The proper reporting tools also make it easier to resolve problems and streamline the operations of your virtualized systems.

Conclusion
The risk of downtime to business-critical applications keeps many enterprises from realizing the full benefits of virtualization. While there are increased risks due to the consolidation of resources and lack of visibility, these can be managed by implementing a virtualization solution with robust features. By automating as much of the process as possible, and improving visibility into virtualized applications, businesses can avoid the pitfalls and enjoy increased productivity and efficiency in the data center.

More Stories By Dan Lamorena

Dan Lamorena is Director, Product Marketing, Storage and Availability Management Group, responsible for Symantec's Storage Management and High Availability products. He has spent the last five years with Symantec working with customers to help them optimize storage and improve application availability and is a frequent contributor to industry trade publications related to storage and disaster recovery.

Prior to joining Symantec, Dan held product marketing, business development, and strategy management roles with Cisco Systems, Electronic Arts, Ernst and Young, and mobileID.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at Dell EMC, introduced a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organization...
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi, the leading provider the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help globa...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Analytic. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi, the leading provider the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help globa...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software in the hope of capturing value in IoT. Although IoT is relatively new in the market, it has already gone through many promotional terms such as IoE, IoX, SDX, Edge/Fog, Mist Compute, etc. Ultimately, irrespective of the name, it is about deriving value from independent software assets participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution.
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Val...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in compute, storage and networking technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/...
Judith Hurwitz is president and CEO of Hurwitz & Associates, a Needham, Mass., research and consulting firm focused on emerging technology, including big data, cognitive computing and governance. She is co-author of the book Cognitive Computing and Big Data Analytics, published in 2015. Her Cloud Expo session, "What Is the Business Imperative for Cognitive Computing?" is scheduled for Wednesday, June 8, at 8:40 a.m. In it, she puts cognitive computing into perspective with its value to the busin...
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Val...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...