Virtualization: Breaking down silos in your systems

Forget about data silos for a minute. Let’s talk about personnel silos in virtualization operations. Silo mentality is becoming more apparent as companies seek to leverage the best of scaled out x86 virtualized environments and their vertically scaled mainframe systems. This can be a challenge when IT teams have historically been allocated based on technology. The following three considerations can help you get the most from your combined resources.

Mainframe mentality and virtualization resources

Mainframe mentality is keenly focused on capacity and performance. Both are finite in a mainframe world (at least without additional capital expenditures). Learning to avoid application resource conflicts is another ever-present reality of mainframe mentalities. Virtualized systems, on the other hand, lack the hardware constraints. Although virtualized systems are less affected by application resource conflicts, they are more concerned with user experience.

What’s the bottom line? Workload management is the key. Applying a combined strategy ensures that either system isn’t sitting with idle capacity – and that workloads which perform well in a virtualized environment help free up space for workloads that require the security and resiliency of a mainframe.

Managing virtualization expenses

When you apply the mainframe “limited capacity” mindset to virtualized environments, you often get more efficient use of both mainframe and virtualized resources. Although cloud storage is far less costly than mainframe, it still has costs. Before you scale, consider the available mainframe capacity for which you’ve already paid.

What’s the bottom line? Virtualization isn’t free. Treat your mainframe resources as manufacturing sites treat their plant equipment – look at total capacity before taking on virtualized expenses. Granted, the circumstance often dictates the most effective route, such as timing and workload types. However, an overall strategy that encompasses both architectures leads to more effective cost control.

Gauging virtualization performance

The mainframe mindset tells us to avoid application conflicts. Today, the mainframe mentality considers new workloads, and whether or not they’ll run as well on a mainframe as a virtualized environment and vice versa. Business analytics workloads, which often require the scale and capacity agility of virtualized environments, can be more conducive to robust compute powers within a mainframe. When it comes to virtualization, user experience is the key performance metric.

What’s the bottom line? When both sides of operations have a common understanding of the business requirement, the solution usually becomes clear. The politics of the organization is a different story altogether.

As the physical and virtual worlds converge, it’s crucial to examine your silos and reallocate resources. In fact, some of the skills once demanded by mainframers, like capacity planning, are back in vogue. IT monitoring and management tools are supporting the converged infrastructure and moving IT operations closer to the “single pane of glass” visibility that is needed.

Dell Inc.
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