Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Web 2.0 Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Dana Gardner, Ed Featherston

Related Topics: Virtualization

Virtualization: Article

Virtualization: A Promising and Justifiable Investment

Exclusive Q&A with Bala Murugan, Chief Architect, eG Innovations

"There is a shift in focus and it is from technologies that enable virtualization to technologies that manage virtualization," says Bala Murugan, Chief Architect at eG Innovations, in this Exclusive Q&A with SYS-CON's Virtualization Journal. Overall, Murugan maintains, virtualization is "a promising and justifiable investment, particularly in the current economic downturn."

Virtualization Journal: Do you agree with the view that Virtualization is one of the most promising technology investments in the current economic downturn?

Bala Murugan: Virtualization, when done right, has been proven to provide significant reductions in direct cost. It also helps your indirect cost by improving your IT’s performance, reliability and capacity management. So yes, I would say that it is a promising and justifiable investment, particularly in the current economic downturn.


Virtualization Journal:
How about your concept of “Virtualization 2.0” – doesn’t it implicitly suggest that Virtualization 1.0 has been deficient?

Murugan: On the contrary, it is more in reference to the evolution of the Virtualization industry. Virtualization 1.0 was a revelation; it introduced virtualization to the world, proved its power and showed everyone how much they can benefit from it. Virtualization 2.0 – which is already here - is about accepting Virtualization as reality and moving on to how to do it right. How to get the most out of it. Essentially, there is a shift in focus and it is from technologies that enable virtualization to technologies that manage virtualization.

To be successful in Virtualization 2.0, organizations have to focus around technology that helps them manage their virtualization deployments better. Being a monitoring technology provider, we understand the complexities of monitoring in Virtualization 2.0 and are well positioned to help these companies realize the full potential of their virtualized infrastructures.


Virtualization Journal:
Are you concerned at all that the “2.0” label might detract from the overall value proposition, given that it seems to be going down with the USS Economy. ;-)

Murugan: We view Virtualization 2.0 as an evolution (next phase) – not as a radical revamp of current virtualization deployments. In Virtualization 2.0, the focus is on how to make virtualization deployments more cost-effective and how to gain maximum benefits. So this will actually make virtualization a mandatory technology for most organizations that are dealing with tight budgets in the economic slow-down.


Virtualization Journal:
How about interoperability, how important is that for the industry do you think? What barriers persist?

Murugan: We live in an age of diverse infrastructures. Even before virtualization, the success of n-tier architectures and open systems made it impossible for one to have a homogenous environment. Data centers today comprise diverse technologies that have to co-exist and to in deliver IT services. Virtualization has taken this another step on the evolutionary road, now we are talking about adding a couple of more tiers to the n-tier apps by separating the hardware from the OS. At this juncture, we believe that interoperability is not a “nice to have”. It is a “must have.”

In terms of barriers, the ones that still exist are mostly technological, that people are working to overcome. In principle, I believe everyone agrees interoperability is a must have. Not only do they have to deal with a mix of virtual and non-virtual infrastructures, but also different types of virtualization from different vendors. They key we found is to be able to provide a unified consistent view across this diverse landscape, which makes management that much easier for the end-user.


Virtualization Journal:
Do you think VMware needs fear Microsoft’s belated entry into the virtualization marketplace?

Murugan: History has shown that Microsoft can be a significant threat in any endeavor it puts its mind to. They will have good technology and resort to their favorite ploy; their licensing model, and make Virtualization more of a commodity than it already is.

VMware itself has recognized that the hypervisor is no longer going to be the differentiator and that technologies that enable the effective use of virtualization (e.g., manageability), new application deployment models (like virtual desktops), etc. will be a key to retaining their leadership position.

Competition in this space can only be good – innovation will be faster and certainly there is room for multiple vendors in this fast growing market.


Virtualization Journal:
How about eG Innovations, what’s the background story to the company’s formation and growth to date?

A: eG Innovations was founded by Srinivas Ramanathan, who also is our president and CEO. Prior to eG, he was a research scientist at HP and the chief architect of Firehunter, an ISP performance monitoring solution. His years at HP gave him a ringside seat to real pain points that customers have with monitoring their environments and monitoring tools themselves. In 2000, he left HP to build the proverbial “better mousetrap,” and assembled a strong team, including myself, to take this concept from the ground up. That was the genesis of eG Innovations.

Our focus was on monitoring n-tier architectures by looking at them as business services as opposed to a collection of servers, networks and applications. Our key benefit to the customer was our ability to proactively identify to the right problem, the true root cause, of poor performance in their IT infrastructures. As a result, customers spent less time firefighting and finger pointing, and more time improving their overall service levels. It took a couple of years to roll-out the finished product, and we got VC funding from Singapore. Then we opened up the US market in 2002 and found a receptive audience for the technology. We quickly became the premier Citrix monitoring solution, which had all the classic n-tier architecture issues. We won many awards and saw the company grow across the globe.

We saw the opportunity in the virtualization space quite early and started working with early virtualization adopters to better understand their needs and to strengthen our technology. Our mastery in thin-client computing and shared access technologies (Citrix, Microsoft Terminal Services, etc.) helped because a Virtualization ecosystem (one box – multiple OSs) is similar to a Citrix ecosystem (one OS – multiple users). More awards later, we are now recognized as one of the industry leaders in the Virtualization monitoring space, with support for different virtualization platforms including VMware, Citrix Xen, Solaris Containers/LDOMs and more.


Virtualization Journal:
What are the main pain points that bring customers to you in search of a monitoring solution?

Murugan: The biggest single pain point is probably problem isolation. When there is a problem in your n-tier IT infrastructure, it is usually pretty hard to distinguish between the true root cause and the effects. With systems being interdependent, a single problem generally causes a ripple effect that flows through the entire environment, leading you to chase effects as opposed to pinpointing the root cause. In simple terms, this means you are wasting valuable IT resources in fire-fighting mode fixing effects, which leads to finger pointing inside the organization. Meanwhile, your customers are still facing the problem. Virtualization only increases the complexity of your n-tier IT delivery, which makes problem isolation even more difficult.

Another key pain point that we see customers face is lack of visibility into their IT infrastructures. Even though it sounds simple enough, more often than not customers today don’t have total visibility into what is going on within their virtualized infrastructures. When you are managing a virtualized environment you definitely need answers to questions like; “How many guests are they running?” “How many guests are just consuming resources without being used?” “Where are the bottlenecks in the environment?” “Where do you stand on capacity?” “How do applications running inside VMs compare to ones running on physical servers?” “Is VMotion happening? If yes, why?” and so on. When it comes to virtual environments, what you don’t know can hurt you badly.

Another common problem is the classic disconnect between business services and the IT infrastructure. For example, business users say they can’t process orders or things are too slow. The IT side says servers are running fine on CPU. Both of them are right in their own perspective, but they are not on the same page, not even on the same book. This comes from the traditional IT view of looking at boxes and servers as opposed to the actual quality of services being delivered.


Virtualization Journal:
What are two of your favorite customer success stories?

Murugan: There are many, but a classic one was when we got called in by a customer who was deploying a new project with Citrix technologies in a heterogeneous infrastructure with physical and virtual servers. Their new service was not taking off. Users were complaining about severe slowdowns and they had already spent weeks on this problem with no results. Before they came to us, they had changed the server hardware, the application software, the client terminals and software, all to no effect. Within a couple of days of getting involved, we were able to pin-point the source of the problem – network packet retransmissions between servers -- due to some issues with the way network teaming had been set up. We had been working with the application and server teams, and these teams had no visibility into the network. All they had to go by was what the network team was telling them. Hence, they assumed when a problem happened that it was a server or application issue, and spent weeks chasing this. Without any kind of instrumentation on the network, our eG Enterprise solution was able to determine that the root cause of the problem was in the network, not in the VMs, Citrix or other applications. This was a classic case of having to work with limited visibility into some domains, working with different silos of the infrastructure, and yet being able to effectively troubleshoot problems. In the end, it took us just a minutes to review the collected metrics to identify the root cause. Even after hundreds of customer installations, this remains a great example of a customer success.

Another very good example was a large financial institution where our technologies have delivered immense value. Before we got involved, they were very silo-based in their day to day firefighting and operations. We helped them streamline their operations, providing the helpdesk with end-to-end visibility into key business services. s a result, when a problem occurs, the helpdesk knows exactly which expert to call to resolve a problem. This produced significant improvement in service uptime, and more effective use of their operations staff.


Virtualization Journal:
What does the future hold do you think for VDI?

Murugan: VDI and its various technology cousins are definitely here to say. The idea of a centralized desktop with the power of a localized desktop is extremely attractive. Some of the largest implementations have been VDI related. Currently we are seeing Fortune 100 companies leading the way on this and I believe it will be common place soon even in mid-size companies. As a technology, it has not yet fully matured, but once it does we see it as becoming a much bigger market than server-based virtualization initiatives. It may become the de-facto desktop platform in near future.


Virtualization Journal: Do you agree that we are entering a new age of infrastructure – one in which it is back on the agenda of C-level execs (and not only the CTO)?

Murugan: I believe infrastructure has always been on the agenda of C-level execs, but with the success of virtualization there are definitely more conversations at the C-level about how to do this right.


Virtualization Journal: You were responsible for the design and development of one of the earliest J2EE portals in the late 90s; what role does Java play today in the enterprise technology landscape?

Murugan: The platform independence provided by Java was one of the key drivers that enabled a slew of web-facing service-oriented applications in the last decade. Java and its sister technologies remain one of the backbone technologies of the web-based applications.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
rcjay2 01/23/09 01:38:00 PM EST

This is a great article and gives you insight to one of the leaders in Enterprise Monitoring Solutions. I am a user who has the pleasure of working with Bala and the folks at EG for some time now. I can honestly say that the product is amazing. It works in all environments across all OS’s and the monitoring/ reporting capabilities are extensive and endless. Out of the box it monitors everything you can throw at it and if you need to implement a custom monitoring solution for something not covered it is easy to include custom scripts EG can run and report on. Currently, I have the EG suite monitoring 2 complete virtual environments with XenServer 5 and ESX Infrastructure 3. Within each virtual environment I have multiple hosts with a range of operating systems. Everything from Solaris, Fedora Core, and all versions of Windows (2003/2008) are running and fully monitored. Not to mention all the network devices (Cisco, Dell, and Linksys) and printers can all be monitored via SNMP.

Furthermore one of the key points is with the newest version EG is now able to monitor the Solaris Sunray environment. All things surrounding the DTU connectivity is readily available. I have found that it is easy to install, configure and in the case of a disaster it is easy to get a backup up and going. One final note, support from the people at EG is second to none. I have spoke with them on numerous occasions and have never run into anything but a genuine offering of help and wiliness to understand and pinpoint the issue until a resolution is discovered.

Rob Jaudon
Promptu Technologies

@ThingsExpo Stories
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists will peel away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fil...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
The Workspace-as-a-Service (WaaS) market will grow to $6.4B by 2018. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, will begin by walking the audience through the evolution of Workspace as-a-Service, where it is now vs. where it going. To look beyond the desktop we must understand exactly what WaaS is, who the users are, and where it is going in the future. IT departments, ISVs and service providers must look to workflow and automation capabilities to adapt to growing demand and the rapidly changing workspace model.
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
One of the biggest impacts of the Internet of Things is and will continue to be on data; specifically data volume, management and usage. Companies are scrambling to adapt to this new and unpredictable data reality with legacy infrastructure that cannot handle the speed and volume of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and president of Infobright, will discuss how companies need to rethink their data infrastructure to participate in the IoT, including: Data storage: Understanding the kinds of data: structured, unstructured, big/small? Analytics: What kinds and how responsiv...
Building low-cost wearable devices can enhance the quality of our lives. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Sai Yamanoor, Embedded Software Engineer at Altschool, provided an example of putting together a small keychain within a $50 budget that educates the user about the air quality in their surroundings. He also provided examples such as building a wearable device that provides transit or recreational information. He then reviewed the resources available to build wearable devices at home including open source hardware, the raw materials required and the options available to power s...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
DevOps tends to focus on the relationship between Dev and Ops, putting an emphasis on the ops and application infrastructure. But that’s changing with microservices architectures. In her session at DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, Evangelist for F5 Networks, will focus on how microservices are changing the underlying architectures needed to scale, secure and deliver applications based on highly distributed (micro) services and why that means an expansion into “the network” for DevOps.
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo – to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – is now accepting Hackathon proposals. Hackathon sponsorship benefits include general brand exposure and increasing engagement with the developer ecosystem. At Cloud Expo 2014 Silicon Valley, IBM held the Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held the DevOps Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of...