Future Manageability Will Drive Virtualization Architectures

Based on Intel’s current processor core count and extrapolating from their “Tick Tock” model for scheduled new CPU designs, by 2017 Intel could very well be designing a 20-Core CPU!  Do we need that functionality with so many single threaded applications in the market today?  Maybe not today, but in 8-10 years computing usage models are going to be a lot different than they are now.

Whether virtualization environments will be running on 20-Core Intel processors by then or not, one thing is very clear high end virtual environments will require much more powerful management environments that what we have today.  Management tools that now only look at high level performance metrics will need to look at detailed server component and CPU level power consumption, detailed Core level performance metrics, and managed thermal output.  The more finitely we can manage our virtual elements the greater control we will have at the server, rack, and data center level for optimizing data center virtual server density to the physical limitations of our data center environment.

With VMware’s latest server virtualization version, renamed vSphere, new manageability capabilities that increase the usability and decrease the cost of managing a virtual environment are included.  Although they don’t go to the level I just described, they do provide some nice improvements from version 3.5.  Storage and network optimizations have been added that allow hosts to power down when not needed using their power management (DPM) tool (which is now a fully supported feature and not just “experimental”). VM Monitoring now uses VMware Tools to evaluate individual VM’s and check to see if they are running and Fault Tolerance now ensures continuous availability for virtual machines against hardware failures.

Intel is driving the creation of not just multi-core CPU’s but the tools that will drive virtualization architecture adoption in the future.  Providing powerful tools that manage power, thermal, and performance to help make our lives as data center operations personnel easier and make the value proposition of virtualization that much greater.  Management definitely will continue to be a key component to determining TCO in the future.  See the following around what Intel is doing around management. (http://www.intel.com/design/servers/ism/sms.htm)

What are the key management tools, in your opinion, that drive virtualization adoption, those “can’t do without” management apps?