Dan's Take

Virtual Appliances: Hardware vs. Software

Xangati offers an updated appliance server.

Xangati just announced that it's updated its Xangati Virtual Appliance (XVA) architecture, a release named "XSR12U3." Its goal was making it easy for virtualization system administrators to remediate CPU and memory performance issues by automatically balancing workloads across vCenter hosts within XVA.

Xangati said that administrators can leverage XVA's real time key performance data to identify capacity requirements for workloads and optimize system and virtual system configurations to reduce costs, without having a negative impact on performance. The company also has included "Xangati Efficiency Index" into XVA's main scorecard. This index is a measure of how CPU, memory, storage and network interfaces are utilized.

Here's what the company points to as key elements of this release:

  • CPU & Memory contention storm automated remediation is now supported
  • Microsoft Hyper-V enhancements: XVA can now run natively within Hyper-V while monitoring multiple hypervisors
  • Xangati now runs on Hyper-V, in addition to be able to manage it
  • Xangati now reports "CPU Wait Time Per Dispatch" for Hyper-V
  • Xangati supports multiple SCVMMs to accommodate larger infrastructures
  • Deep support for NetApp Storage Systems configured in Cluster-Mode is added
  • IT Service Management notifications and metrics are now easily discoverable by ServiceNow and Splunk
  • XVA's storm-tracker utility GUI has been enhanced for scale and ease of use
  • A new Executive Dashboard for XenApp environments is optional
  • XenApp 6.5 and Zone Controller logs are now included in XVA Visual Trouble Tickets
  • XVA install/upgrade and setup workflows have been enhanced
Dan's Take: Balancing Utility and Black Box Sprawl
Although enterprises are seeking ways to reduce complexity by re-consolidating system, network, storage, management and security functions, many suppliers are offering their tools in the form of separate appliance servers, such as those offered by Xangati, or as cloud-based services. Their goal is simplifying installation and updating software, reducing time to use and making the lives of administrators and users of enterprise systems easier.

It would seem on the surface that these are divergent goals; re-consolidation to reduce complexity appears at odds with adopting a stand-alone appliance server or cloud service. Suppliers of this type of technology, including Xangati of course, would point out that by encapsulating a complex function and delivering it as a "black box," it makes the adoption and use of their technology much easier.

What they often don't say is that this move also offers them additional sources of revenue like hardware sales and support, or ongoing cloud service revenue. This approach also means that they can totally control the environment in which their technology executes, which assures them that the technology will work as expected and not create unexpected and unpleasant interactions with other technologies or services in use.

Xangati's capabilities appear competitive with others offering monitoring and administrative functions for virtual environments. Enterprise decision makers must consider if the capabilities of the company's product is worth the addition of another "black box" to the data center.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.

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