March 23, 2011

How Route Analytics Enables Virtualization and Cloud Computing

  • Jim Metzler, Ashton Metzler & Associates
  • Webtorials Distinguished Research Fellow and Co-Founder
  • Packet Design
The typical IT infrastructure is characterized by a combination of rapid change and continually growing complexity.  For example, roughly a decade ago most IT organizations began to implement distributed applications.  This trend started with the adoption of client server applications and evolved to where IT organizations implemented n-tier applications.  In the term n-tier, 'n' implies any number -- like 2-tier, 3-tier or 4-tier; basically, any number of distinct tiers used in an application architecture.  The complexity that is associated with n-tier application has traditionally stemmed from the fact that each tier of the application is typically implemented on a separate system from which management data must be gathered.    

The factor that is currently driving the most change in terms of how IT infrastructures are implemented and managed is the widespread adoption of virtualization and cloud computing.  This adoption is driven by the promise of a significant improvement in cost and agility.  The improvement in agility is a result of the fact that one of the key characteristics of virtualization and cloud computing is a new capability - the dynamic creation and movement of virtual machines (VMs).  While this new capability adds great value, it also adds significant complexity to the management of the IT infrastructure.  

The goal of this brief is to explain how the deployment of virtualization and cloud computing increases management complexity and to describe how IT organizations can use route analytics to reduce that complexity.  To help achieve that goal, two IT professionals were interviewed.  One was the IT manager for network automation and performance management for a Fortune 100 company.  The other was the senior director of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) delivery for a major IT provider.  These two interviewees will be referred to in this brief respectively as The IT Manager and The Senior Director.

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1 Comment

This paper has two significant interest factors. First, it is authored by my colleague, Jim Metzler, whose papers are super for the Webtorials community. Secondly, Packet Design's papers on Route Analytics are always popular as they represent some of the most forward-thinking topics for our community.

A "must read," imho.

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