Don’t Forget the Management Software

Trends in data center, cloud infrastructure and infrastructure management software typically go hand-in-hand. So, to make the right buying decision on new kinds of infrastructure, you also need to evaluate its accompanying management software.

One big trend is converged infrastructure, which is becoming the preferred choice of enterprises worldwide – and for good reason.  Converged infrastructure frees IT teams from all the chores and high cost of assembling and pre-testing compute, storage, network and virtualization components as a “system.”   Benefits are also measured in business outcomes, such as faster time-to-market for new application services.

But what about the software for managing this new kind of infrastructure?   Traditionally, the benefits of infrastructure management software have been measured in terms of efficiency:  faster mean-time-to- discovery of outages and degradation, faster triage and, ultimately, faster mean-time-to-resolution.

Vision chart

While popular infrastructure management tools (even so-called “converged” or “unified” tools) excel in availability and performance analytics, they typically lack the innovation that boosts IT efficiency to match the benefits of converged infrastructure itself. For example, traditionally designed infrastructure availability and performance monitoring tools fail to understand infrastructure as an integrated whole system. Instead, it focuses on monitoring the technology piece parts. Certainly, tools that monitor multiple technology components (e.g., compute, storage and network) in the same dashboard yield great operational benefits.  But monitoring tools that can understand the health impact that components have on the total systems – and how those components and systems support application workloads – yield much higher value.

To grasp the potential benefits, ask yourself:

  • “How can I simplify and more effectively manage my data center as a unified, agile resource pool, not as a collection of discrete systems?”

But there’s more to consider…

By focusing on availability and performance issues only, traditionally designed IT management software misses the opportunity to help IT lower operational costs and improve efficiency over the long long-term – that is, throughout the life cycle of the IT equipment.

To grasp potential benefits of software innovation that addresses infrastructure life cycle challenges, ask yourself:

  • “How can I regularly stabilize and optimize infrastructure when firmware upgrades are so time-consuming, risk outages, and require extensive interoperability testing to be safe?”
  • “How can I possibly maintain a security hardened posture on every infrastructure element on a daily basis, when checking system and component-level security settings is so time-consuming?”

As you evaluate new approaches to infrastructure, be sure to evaluate the software designed to manage it.  Think in terms of the intelligence, automation and visualization that can yield the greatest ROI for managing your infrastructure on a daily bias and over the long term.VCE vision box

To learn about VCE’s approach to health and life cycle management for converged infrastructure:

About the Author: David Hayward