As more companies move to virtual machines and blade servers to reduce space and costs, there are few mentions of the downside or "dark side" of virtualizing hardware and operating systems. I spoke with Bob Waldie, CEO and founder of Opengear, an open-source out-of-band management services provider, about the problems associated with the adoption of blades and VMs.
Q: So why do you think that virtualization is such a problem? Waldie: The dark side of virtualization is the complexity of the environment it creates. While server virtualization improves flexibility and asset utilization, it also adds complexity to the environment, specifically by adding an extra hypervisor layer to the operating and management load and creating complicated virtual appliances and virtualized I/O. For example, when the enterprise VPN network is routed through software VPN appliances running on virtual servers and then migrated to virtual machines, the connection of the virtual machines back to the LAN presents a new layer of management challenges.
Well, what are these new management challenges? Waldie: For the vast majority of enterprises, virtualization coexists with physical deployments and data center managers need tools for managing both physical and virtual environments. However, in addition to needing new virtual management tools, the added network complexity means the tools that previously used to manage the physical infrastructure pre-virtualization aren't appropriate. Adding to this management issue is the increase in disaster sensitivity that comes with consolidation. While prevalence of infrastructure outages may not increase, the consequence of a hypervisor or blade failure will, so managers have to find and implement a completely new set of tools while under incredible pressure to avoid any downtime or IT issues. … Read more