Welcome!

Virtualization Authors: Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Victoria Livschitz, Pat Romanski, Lori MacVittie

Related Topics: Virtualization

Virtualization: Article

Virtualization: A Promising and Justifiable Investment

Exclusive Q&A with Bala Murugan, Chief Architect, eG Innovations

"There is a shift in focus and it is from technologies that enable virtualization to technologies that manage virtualization," says Bala Murugan, Chief Architect at eG Innovations, in this Exclusive Q&A with SYS-CON's Virtualization Journal. Overall, Murugan maintains, virtualization is "a promising and justifiable investment, particularly in the current economic downturn."

Virtualization Journal: Do you agree with the view that Virtualization is one of the most promising technology investments in the current economic downturn?

Bala Murugan: Virtualization, when done right, has been proven to provide significant reductions in direct cost. It also helps your indirect cost by improving your IT’s performance, reliability and capacity management. So yes, I would say that it is a promising and justifiable investment, particularly in the current economic downturn.


Virtualization Journal:
How about your concept of “Virtualization 2.0” – doesn’t it implicitly suggest that Virtualization 1.0 has been deficient?

Murugan: On the contrary, it is more in reference to the evolution of the Virtualization industry. Virtualization 1.0 was a revelation; it introduced virtualization to the world, proved its power and showed everyone how much they can benefit from it. Virtualization 2.0 – which is already here - is about accepting Virtualization as reality and moving on to how to do it right. How to get the most out of it. Essentially, there is a shift in focus and it is from technologies that enable virtualization to technologies that manage virtualization.

To be successful in Virtualization 2.0, organizations have to focus around technology that helps them manage their virtualization deployments better. Being a monitoring technology provider, we understand the complexities of monitoring in Virtualization 2.0 and are well positioned to help these companies realize the full potential of their virtualized infrastructures.


Virtualization Journal:
Are you concerned at all that the “2.0” label might detract from the overall value proposition, given that it seems to be going down with the USS Economy. ;-)

Murugan: We view Virtualization 2.0 as an evolution (next phase) – not as a radical revamp of current virtualization deployments. In Virtualization 2.0, the focus is on how to make virtualization deployments more cost-effective and how to gain maximum benefits. So this will actually make virtualization a mandatory technology for most organizations that are dealing with tight budgets in the economic slow-down.


Virtualization Journal:
How about interoperability, how important is that for the industry do you think? What barriers persist?

Murugan: We live in an age of diverse infrastructures. Even before virtualization, the success of n-tier architectures and open systems made it impossible for one to have a homogenous environment. Data centers today comprise diverse technologies that have to co-exist and to in deliver IT services. Virtualization has taken this another step on the evolutionary road, now we are talking about adding a couple of more tiers to the n-tier apps by separating the hardware from the OS. At this juncture, we believe that interoperability is not a “nice to have”. It is a “must have.”

In terms of barriers, the ones that still exist are mostly technological, that people are working to overcome. In principle, I believe everyone agrees interoperability is a must have. Not only do they have to deal with a mix of virtual and non-virtual infrastructures, but also different types of virtualization from different vendors. They key we found is to be able to provide a unified consistent view across this diverse landscape, which makes management that much easier for the end-user.


Virtualization Journal:
Do you think VMware needs fear Microsoft’s belated entry into the virtualization marketplace?

Murugan: History has shown that Microsoft can be a significant threat in any endeavor it puts its mind to. They will have good technology and resort to their favorite ploy; their licensing model, and make Virtualization more of a commodity than it already is.

VMware itself has recognized that the hypervisor is no longer going to be the differentiator and that technologies that enable the effective use of virtualization (e.g., manageability), new application deployment models (like virtual desktops), etc. will be a key to retaining their leadership position.

Competition in this space can only be good – innovation will be faster and certainly there is room for multiple vendors in this fast growing market.


Virtualization Journal:
How about eG Innovations, what’s the background story to the company’s formation and growth to date?

A: eG Innovations was founded by Srinivas Ramanathan, who also is our president and CEO. Prior to eG, he was a research scientist at HP and the chief architect of Firehunter, an ISP performance monitoring solution. His years at HP gave him a ringside seat to real pain points that customers have with monitoring their environments and monitoring tools themselves. In 2000, he left HP to build the proverbial “better mousetrap,” and assembled a strong team, including myself, to take this concept from the ground up. That was the genesis of eG Innovations.

Our focus was on monitoring n-tier architectures by looking at them as business services as opposed to a collection of servers, networks and applications. Our key benefit to the customer was our ability to proactively identify to the right problem, the true root cause, of poor performance in their IT infrastructures. As a result, customers spent less time firefighting and finger pointing, and more time improving their overall service levels. It took a couple of years to roll-out the finished product, and we got VC funding from Singapore. Then we opened up the US market in 2002 and found a receptive audience for the technology. We quickly became the premier Citrix monitoring solution, which had all the classic n-tier architecture issues. We won many awards and saw the company grow across the globe.

We saw the opportunity in the virtualization space quite early and started working with early virtualization adopters to better understand their needs and to strengthen our technology. Our mastery in thin-client computing and shared access technologies (Citrix, Microsoft Terminal Services, etc.) helped because a Virtualization ecosystem (one box – multiple OSs) is similar to a Citrix ecosystem (one OS – multiple users). More awards later, we are now recognized as one of the industry leaders in the Virtualization monitoring space, with support for different virtualization platforms including VMware, Citrix Xen, Solaris Containers/LDOMs and more.


Virtualization Journal:
What are the main pain points that bring customers to you in search of a monitoring solution?

Murugan: The biggest single pain point is probably problem isolation. When there is a problem in your n-tier IT infrastructure, it is usually pretty hard to distinguish between the true root cause and the effects. With systems being interdependent, a single problem generally causes a ripple effect that flows through the entire environment, leading you to chase effects as opposed to pinpointing the root cause. In simple terms, this means you are wasting valuable IT resources in fire-fighting mode fixing effects, which leads to finger pointing inside the organization. Meanwhile, your customers are still facing the problem. Virtualization only increases the complexity of your n-tier IT delivery, which makes problem isolation even more difficult.

Another key pain point that we see customers face is lack of visibility into their IT infrastructures. Even though it sounds simple enough, more often than not customers today don’t have total visibility into what is going on within their virtualized infrastructures. When you are managing a virtualized environment you definitely need answers to questions like; “How many guests are they running?” “How many guests are just consuming resources without being used?” “Where are the bottlenecks in the environment?” “Where do you stand on capacity?” “How do applications running inside VMs compare to ones running on physical servers?” “Is VMotion happening? If yes, why?” and so on. When it comes to virtual environments, what you don’t know can hurt you badly.

Another common problem is the classic disconnect between business services and the IT infrastructure. For example, business users say they can’t process orders or things are too slow. The IT side says servers are running fine on CPU. Both of them are right in their own perspective, but they are not on the same page, not even on the same book. This comes from the traditional IT view of looking at boxes and servers as opposed to the actual quality of services being delivered.


Virtualization Journal:
What are two of your favorite customer success stories?

Murugan: There are many, but a classic one was when we got called in by a customer who was deploying a new project with Citrix technologies in a heterogeneous infrastructure with physical and virtual servers. Their new service was not taking off. Users were complaining about severe slowdowns and they had already spent weeks on this problem with no results. Before they came to us, they had changed the server hardware, the application software, the client terminals and software, all to no effect. Within a couple of days of getting involved, we were able to pin-point the source of the problem – network packet retransmissions between servers -- due to some issues with the way network teaming had been set up. We had been working with the application and server teams, and these teams had no visibility into the network. All they had to go by was what the network team was telling them. Hence, they assumed when a problem happened that it was a server or application issue, and spent weeks chasing this. Without any kind of instrumentation on the network, our eG Enterprise solution was able to determine that the root cause of the problem was in the network, not in the VMs, Citrix or other applications. This was a classic case of having to work with limited visibility into some domains, working with different silos of the infrastructure, and yet being able to effectively troubleshoot problems. In the end, it took us just a minutes to review the collected metrics to identify the root cause. Even after hundreds of customer installations, this remains a great example of a customer success.

Another very good example was a large financial institution where our technologies have delivered immense value. Before we got involved, they were very silo-based in their day to day firefighting and operations. We helped them streamline their operations, providing the helpdesk with end-to-end visibility into key business services. s a result, when a problem occurs, the helpdesk knows exactly which expert to call to resolve a problem. This produced significant improvement in service uptime, and more effective use of their operations staff.


Virtualization Journal:
What does the future hold do you think for VDI?

Murugan: VDI and its various technology cousins are definitely here to say. The idea of a centralized desktop with the power of a localized desktop is extremely attractive. Some of the largest implementations have been VDI related. Currently we are seeing Fortune 100 companies leading the way on this and I believe it will be common place soon even in mid-size companies. As a technology, it has not yet fully matured, but once it does we see it as becoming a much bigger market than server-based virtualization initiatives. It may become the de-facto desktop platform in near future.


Virtualization Journal: Do you agree that we are entering a new age of infrastructure – one in which it is back on the agenda of C-level execs (and not only the CTO)?

Murugan: I believe infrastructure has always been on the agenda of C-level execs, but with the success of virtualization there are definitely more conversations at the C-level about how to do this right.


Virtualization Journal: You were responsible for the design and development of one of the earliest J2EE portals in the late 90s; what role does Java play today in the enterprise technology landscape?

Murugan: The platform independence provided by Java was one of the key drivers that enabled a slew of web-facing service-oriented applications in the last decade. Java and its sister technologies remain one of the backbone technologies of the web-based applications.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (1) View Comments

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.


Most Recent Comments
rcjay2 01/23/09 01:38:00 PM EST

This is a great article and gives you insight to one of the leaders in Enterprise Monitoring Solutions. I am a user who has the pleasure of working with Bala and the folks at EG for some time now. I can honestly say that the product is amazing. It works in all environments across all OS’s and the monitoring/ reporting capabilities are extensive and endless. Out of the box it monitors everything you can throw at it and if you need to implement a custom monitoring solution for something not covered it is easy to include custom scripts EG can run and report on. Currently, I have the EG suite monitoring 2 complete virtual environments with XenServer 5 and ESX Infrastructure 3. Within each virtual environment I have multiple hosts with a range of operating systems. Everything from Solaris, Fedora Core, and all versions of Windows (2003/2008) are running and fully monitored. Not to mention all the network devices (Cisco, Dell, and Linksys) and printers can all be monitored via SNMP.

Furthermore one of the key points is with the newest version EG is now able to monitor the Solaris Sunray environment. All things surrounding the DTU connectivity is readily available. I have found that it is easy to install, configure and in the case of a disaster it is easy to get a backup up and going. One final note, support from the people at EG is second to none. I have spoke with them on numerous occasions and have never run into anything but a genuine offering of help and wiliness to understand and pinpoint the issue until a resolution is discovered.

Rob Jaudon
Promptu Technologies

@ThingsExpo Stories
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.