Q&A with 2012 VSM Prediction Madness Winner, Antonio Piraino
VSM: Congratulations on winning the 2012 Predictions Madness bracket! Your prediction focused on the management challenges surrounding virtualized environments – could you expand on these a bit?
AP: We are still in the midst of a massive transition ranging from the aggressive and avid cloud computing users, to enterprises who are in the midst of transitioning their IT infrastructure from physical to virtual environments. The issue that many CIOs and IT managers are beginning to discover is that in all instances there are a series of new challenges that arise that all revolve around a few core tenets that will increasingly require attention going forward. The most central of these tenets are control, manageability and visibility of not only the virtual infrastructure, but also the applications and datasets themselves.
The issue is that many decision makers are going to discover the crucial need for a new set of tools that helps them manage the performance, availability and even compliance of these virtual environments late in the game, making the paradigm shift progressively worse. It has never been more important to have centralized, dynamic management of IT service delivery across distributed computing resources, whether they are virtual, physical or cloud-based. I advise decision makers to look for a comprehensive management solution that provides centralized visibility across all the components that impact the quality of service of the applications and services running in your virtual environment.
VSM: Any management challenges you see facing the industry that you didn’t address in your prediction?
AP: The first one I envision is the challenge of virtual sprawl, that is quickly superseding the problems faced by physical sprawl in the previous wave of IT infrastructure build-out. There is an element of naïveté to presume that virtualization alone a cloud makes; or worse still, that it will simplify their lives and budgets. Over a period of time, what will invariably percolate to the forefront, is the self-fulfillment of Jevons Paradox in that the rate of consumption of the more efficient resource, along with a greater set of IT tools, will exponentially drive greater usage of that resource.
The issue is the growing complexity now brought to the lives of IT managers who are under tight budgetary and governance constraints, and they now have to learn about a new set of software environments and tools that previously didn’t exist. This is made more challenging by the fluidity of things like virtual motion – which will require IT to track dynamically changing configurations, create audit trails, know geographically where transactions and data are being produced and understand in real-time the impact on dependent apps or datasets.
VSM: You mentioned that virtualization acts as a precursor to cloud computing deployments – how does cloud computing add to the management challenges you discussed above?
AP: As virtualization technology fast became the norm inside IT, so did the levels of trust and appreciation for production applications residing on those platforms. The ability to make use of the same or similar tools from an external provider, and having an understanding of virtualization, drove greater usage of third-party cloud platforms, all of which incorporate virtualization and the second order effects of virtualization.