Beginners Guide to Monitoring Virtualized Environment

Virtualized Environment

Virtualization is the act of creating multiple simulated environments on one physical hardware system.

In essence, this allows you to split one single system into many different virtual machines. Across these virtual machines, the original physical hardware will then distribute CPU, storage, and memory to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Each of these VMs will have its set allocation of resources from the source, as well as its own operating system, allowing users to then put them to work. This solution simplifies resource allocation and administration, enhancing a machine’s ability to run data analyses.

Beyond just server or application virtualization, developers can also conduct network virtualization. This is where you can create a range of virtual networks, all of which then pool resources. Often, network virtualization will be used to gather data on one network while another is constructed for hosting and running applications.

As they are located within different environments, monitoring tools can relay information about performance characters and the capacity of the distinct environments, giving a clearer picture.

In big data analysis, virtualized networks are integral when it comes to removing bottlenecks and managing the various distributed data sources that are used within this form of analysis.

How Are Virtualized Environments Used in Business?

Virtualization – and the use of virtual machines – allows businesses to create a range of simulated environments. Within each of these environments, a company can run distinct processes, helping to increase its overall productivity.

At their core, the creation and use of virtual machines allow your business to cut back on costs and streamline operations.

For those that are unfamiliar with this technology, it may seem extremely high-tech and out of the left field. The reality is that virtualized environments are incredibly easy to create and begin to run.

Even someone with very limited technical knowledge would be able to create, launch, and sustain virtualized environments. Only when a VM is pushed to the extreme with multiple different simultaneous environments is when they become much more difficult to manage.

While there is a range of positive outcomes when turning to VMs, they’re not the direct uses of virtualization.

Typically, within a business, there are four different ways that virtual machines are put to use:

1) Pool Resources

Most of the time, virtual machines are put to work by businesses in pursuit of server virtualization. This is where IT teams consolidate all of their distinct resources into specific locations, creating a stronger base for intensive processes to be carried out from.

If businesses are looking to maximize the flexibility and control that they have over internal resources, then moving toward virtualization is one of the very best methods of doing so.

2) Test New Software

New businesses often have to go through several rounds of software testing before they settle on a product or system that suits all of their needs. With how expansive SaaS has become, there are now more platforms than ever before, creating even more work for those that are testing each new system.

By using a virtualized machine, IT technicians can quickly create new environments where they can then test a platform in total isolation. By having shared resources, this environment can perform exactly as the entire system would, providing the perfect testing ground for new software.

3) Try New Operating Systems

Often, IT technicians will test out different operating systems for their network. Instead of shutting down the entire network and transferring everything over to a new OS system only for a test, they can perform these tests in a secure environment.

By using virtualized environments, businesses can test out new OS tools and determine whether they’re a good fit for the business as a whole. Especially for companies that are only just starting a business, the saved resources here can go a very long way in the long run.

4) Expand Offerings

When using virtual machines, businesses are able to use one single server to host several active virtual ecosystems. From there, they’re able to then put each of these isolated environments to work in a different area.

Instead of only having one process running on a machine at once, this suddenly increases the scope of what can be achieved in a single day via using technology.

Virtualized environments are one of the most effective pieces of technology that have come out of the last few decades. While often overlooked, their role in business is essential, providing a range of utilities and more benefits than we can count.

What Are the Benefits of Virtualization?

When faced with limited hardware, virtualization allows businesses to get the very best out of their systems. Especially when there are expensive legacy applications that your business is currently maintaining, virtualization allows companies to rapidly migrate to a new environment.

It’s important not to confuse virtualization and cloud computing. A virtualization is a form of technology that allows a user to separate functions of their hardware and then redistribute them.

Cloud computing, on the other hand, is a computing model which is given the function of running additional workloads. Most cloud computing companies come in the form of software as a service or SaaS.

When using virtualization, a business can expect the following benefits:

  • Reduced hardware costs – Virtualization consolidates servers, reducing operating costs, hardware costs, and hosting cost associations when compared to individual pieces of hardware.
  • Increased responsiveness – Virtual machines are faster in provisioning resources and technologies. Due to this, IT teams can respond faster than ever before, helping to streamline operations and drive productivity.
  • Faster distribution of internal resources – The efficiency and agility of VMs and virtualized environments ensure that everyone in your business can access resources with ease, without needing to wait to acquire specific hardware.
  • Minimized downtime – The movement to virtualization allows for server management to be made significantly easier. IT teams can decide to increase or decrease the number of virtual machines based on resource requirements and the specific resource demands at that moment. Especially in seasonal businesses, this helps to cope with spikes in consumer interest, as IT teams can rapidly overcome performance issues.

Any business that’s looking to optimize its IT strategies will often turn to virtualization to help them get the very best from its current infrastructure.

As the presence and usage of microservices continue to grow, more businesses than ever have to deal with hybrid environments. Without management, this quickly turns into a nightmare that’s nearly impossible to track effectively.

Hybrid environments often contain a tech stack that goes far beyond just virtualization. A business will typically have a range of data infrastructure in order to improve data access. Amongst those, it’s likely a business will use specialized analytics databases to increase performance.

If we compare the flexibility in the application of specialized analytics databases that market leaders offer, like Clickhouse vs Druid, we can see that businesses could have a range of analytical processes going all at the same time.

When juggling other aspects of IT infrastructure alongside VMs, it becomes vital to have a clear understanding of what’s going on at all times. That’s where effective monitoring comes in.

What Does a Great Virtualized Environment Monitoring Look Like?

Of course, the more virtual machines that you make, the more difficult it is to manage everything at once. Each new system needs to be secure, up-to-date, and at full running capacity. That’s not to mention the continuous communication between each distributed application that needs to be carefully managed.

Managing virtualized environments is such an obstacle for businesses that Telco actually lists it as one of their top areas of investigation. While many businesses use container technology, like Kubernetes, in order to create scalable and manageable environments, this doesn’t work all of the time.

For example, Kubernetes is fantastic at self-remediating when a problem arises, allowing businesses to visualize why an error occurred. Yet, the platform fails to contextualize the severity of an issue, which can lead to further knock-on effects down the line.

Instead, businesses must monitor every aspect of their virtualized environments where they can.

Typically, that means covering four central areas:

  • Collecting KPI Metrics and Data from VMs – Being able to automatically collect core data allows your team to get an oversight of the performance of VMs.
  • Pinpointing Performance Issues – If there are availability issues within your physical or virtual environments, your team should be able to find out where and then diagnose why.
  • Correlating Issues with End User Data To Chart Overall Performance – Tracing endpoint responsiveness against internal issues can point to the performance of an application as a whole.
  • Create and Publish Reports That Dissect Issues – Reporting is key in any industry. The same goes for when turning to virtualization. You must be able to generate reports that explore capacity, usage, and performance of your virtualized components.

When all four of these core areas are taken into consideration, IT teams can effectively monitor virtualized environments.

Final Thoughts

Virtualized environments aren’t going anywhere. As a vital technology that allows businesses to get more out of their hardware, virtualization is one of the best ways for streamlining IT infrastructure.

As the digital environment within which business operates becomes more complex, the IT architecture that we use to deal with this increase will equally grow.

Being able to monitor virtual environments effectively is the cornerstone of good IT practices. Effective monitoring allows us to retask our servers, changing focus in order to keep up with demand throughout the day.

Especially as our tech stacks have become more complex and demanding, clear visualization of overall systems has become vital. If you want to effectively use virtualization, monitoring and response must be your main priorities.