Monday, April 16, 2007

Two articles mentioning Service Level Automation

I recently set up Google Alerts to inform me about references to Service Level Automation on the web. There were many articles returned this week, (many of which involved Cassatt), but I found two additional articles of note. Each makes mention of Service Level Automation, and represents the growing interest in this approach.

The first is from the March 2006 issue of ACM Queue, entitled "Under New Management". The article was written by Duncan Johnston-Watt, the founder of Enigmatec. Johnston-Watt does an excellent job of outlining basic issues around one possible architecture for an autonomic data center. As expected for Enigmatec, its a policy automation focused approach, and is, in fact, one of the few articles from a policy engine vendor that I have see where the term Service Level Automation is used correctly.

Unfortunately, I don't necessarily agree that Johnston-Watt's architecture is optimal enterprise data centers. (It requires development of process automation flows to "optimize operational processes"--a significant amount of work that is prone to introducing new inefficiencies. It is also agent based, which alters the footprint of the software stacks being run in the data center, and can negatively affect the execution and architecture of the applications being managed.) All in all, though, there is some excellent information here for those thinking about Service Level Automation holistically, across the entire data center.

The other article, entitled "Virtually Speaking: Xen Achieves Higher Enterprise Consciousness" was published April 6, 2007 on ServerWatch. In the last few paragraphs of the article, uXcomm's aquisition of Virtugo is covered. In it, uXcomm claims the combination their Xen management tools and Virtugo's VMWare tools "fills a gap not just in uXcomm's portfolio but in the virtual landscape as well. Until now [...] there was a gap between service-level automation offerings and performance management products."

Hmmm. Not sure how providing SLA for only virtual servers counts as filling gaps...but, even so, I hope uXcomm is aware that everyone in this space realizes the need for resource optimization includes VM performance management. I guess my question would be, what is uXcomm doing about marrying Service Level Automation to the rest of the data center?

As a side note, I know that I owe two more articles on my Service Level Automation Deconstructed series. I am working on the "Analyze" overview now, but have discovered some interesting technology to discuss here that I am reading up on now.

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