Cloud: If You Can’t Automate It, You Can’t Manage It

The old adage ‘You can’t manage what you don’t measure’ needs an update for the cloud era to ‘If you can’t automate it, you can’t manage it’. At least that seems to be the message of Shmuel Kliger, chief technology officer and founder of VMTurbo.

If you look at it operations for the last two-three decades., it lets you collect a lot of data, and when something bad is going to happen in the environment, you have to troubleshoot, drill down to figure out what’s going on, find the problem, and fix it, he said. “For the entire IT management industry, the last two decades have all been about collecting more and more data and then trying to suppress this data… because there’s too much to understand.”

VMTurbo, which debuted in 2009 and started shipping product in mid-2010, offers what it calls a software-defined control platform for cloud and virtualized environments. Its solutions, including VMTurbo Operations Manager, dynamically adjust configuration, resource allocation and workload placement to meet service levels and business goals, making it the ‘only technology on the market capable of closing the loop in IT operation by automating the decision-making process to maintain the environment in the desired state.’

“Our starting point is completely different,” said Kliger. “How do we build a system that controls the environment in a good state?” By doing that, customers get predictable service delivery, a more relaxed environment and they’re not constantly firefighting.

“But the challenge is that in order to be able to do it, you have to be able to control the environment in a state while the environment is used as efficiently as possible. There are thousands and thousands of different metrics you have to monitor to keep in that state.” With virtualization, no human being can actually figure this out continuously all the time, he said.

“In environments of scale, monitor-alert-diagnose approaches won’t work, and collecting metrics about the environment will never be meaningful given their shelf life versus the time to analyze and (manually) act on them.”

Kliger calls the company’s patented economic model its ‘secret sauce’. In the early 2000s, he came across the concept of applying economic principles to manage IT resources. “I realized that virtualization is an inflection point where the traditional approaches to managing IT operations won’t suffice to meet the inherent challenges; at the same time, virtualization provides all the necessary controls through software. It was clear to me that applying the economic principles to meet the challenges of this new world is the perfect approach.’

By abstracting the virtualized IT stack into a service supply chain, or marketplace, of resources, these resources are commodities that are bought and sold by the entities that require them. Sellers price their commodities based on utilization rates, while buyers continuously shop for the best price for the resources they require. VMTurbo analytics uses virtual currency to balance the supply and demand of services along this supply chain. With high-priority versus lower-priority applications afforded greater budgets to shop for resources, and taking policies or constraints into consideration, we can automate actions to make sure that applications get the resources they need while optimizing the utilization of IT assets, he said.

A month ago the privately held company announced record Q1 revenues and $25 million in new funding for additional marketing and product development. It reported more than 150% YoY revenue growth, and tripled the number of customers in the calendar year. More than 9,000 cloud service providers and enterprises have deployed the VMTurbo platform since launched in August 2010, it said.


Author: Steve Wexler

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