Improving Virtual IT Management

As enterprises move toward virtualization, they add yet another layer of complexity to IT systems management. Increasingly, enterprises are looking to manage virtual machines (VMs) and their physical environment together.

Netuitive, which offers tools to manage virtual and physical environments, now offers enterprises the ability to correlate data from both together to get a holistic view of their entire IT infrastructure. It works with a corporation’s existing systems management monitoring tools such as HP OpenView and IBM Tivoli.

Netuitive has two products: Netuitive SI for system level analysis; and Netuitive Service Analyzer, which correlates information from SI for an enterprise-wide view of the IT infrastructure.

Netuitive SI learns the behavior patterns of an enterprise’s monitoring tools, servers, network devices and applications as well as the normal behavior of each VM and its host, Daniel Heimlich, Netuitive’s vice president of marketing, told

It embeds information about each VM into the virtual machine, which brings that information along when it’s moved to another host.

Service Analyzer cross-correlates the information from SI among servers, applications and the user experience.

In addition, Service Analyzer automatically correlates the behavior of each individual VM with both the virtual server and the host, as well as provides an overall view of how all the VMs on a physical host interact with it.

That allows fine-grained management. “We understand how the behavior of each virtual machine impacts the host and that helps you understand how you’re utilizing the host,” Heimlich said.

It also provides better system controls. “If a virtual machine takes up excess resources, your typical systems management tools will kick off alerts in every virtual machine,” Heimlich said. “That takes up a lot of network overhead; our system ties the alert to the virtual machine.”

Netuitive uses time as a baseline, so “we can tell you that this service is underutilized at 3 p.m. today but might be overstretched Tuesday at 11 a.m.,” Heimlich said.

That sort of deeper understanding ties into what Forrester analyst Evelyn Hubbert calls business service management (BSM).

Ultimately, the goal of BSM is to correlate the performance of an application or IT service to the expectations of the business.

The enterprise management software vendors are moving toward BSM, or IT Resource Planning, as AMR research director Dennis Gaughan calls it.

That’s why BMC Software bought ITM Software recently, in a move that’s expected to position it more strongly against its competitors — IBM Tivoli, CA (NYSE: CA) and HP (NYSE: HPQ).

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