IT Change Management Starts with Visibility

IT Pros get buried in the responsibilities of our jobs. And we get classified accordingly i.e. there goes the virtualization admin, the SQL DBA, the network admin, the storage admin, the server admin, etc. Regardless of your admin discipline, the one common denominator is managing change. Change includes updates to virtualization settings, network configurations, SW apps, OSes, and HW systems. Effectively managing changes to one’s environment is the key to success in IT.

And it starts with visibility. You can’t address changes in the environment’s behavior without visibility. These behaviors usually manifest themselves as the following tickets:

• My application is SLOW!
• The Internet is SLOW!
• My system is SLOW!

Unfortunately, this usually is indicative of the level of details that IT Pros get on a trouble ticket. And the expectation is for the IT admin to root cause and solve the problem ASAP because the user’s issue is effecting their productivity. For virtualization admins, the trouble is doubled because you add in the complexities of the additional hypervisor layer. In these situations, visibility is the beginning to unraveling the issues and pinpointing the root cause. Visibility involves monitoring the environment including all the components – compute, memory, storage, & networking as well as the OS, application & hypervisor stacks. Visibility also includes the logs of what had happened and what is happening.

Ideally, a holistic view of all the interdependencies in the environment regardless of layers and the ability to drill-down through the layers and view the base elements provide the best starting point for successfully dealing with change. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

SolarWinds Virtualization Head Geek


I have joined SolarWinds as Virtualization Head Geek. First, I am thankful to my colleagues and friends at Gravitant for fourteen wonderful months. Gravitant is THE leader in the Cloud Service Brokering space with its technology, intellectual property and people; but my decision to join SolarWinds was about me, my career and the AWESOMESAUCE opportunity at SolarWinds.

SolarWinds provides me the opportunity to blaze my own trail in virtualization and Cloud. It will be all about the C’s: customers, communities (thwack, VMTN, Cisco to name a few), connecting channels, and creating contextual content. I am super excited to join the SolarWinds family.

Here’s some of the solutions that I will be immersing myself in:

Screenshots of VMan and SAM below.



The Internet of Everything: An Opportunistic View from the Clouds

The Internet of Everything (IoE) describes machine-to-machine (M2M) compute entities that track and measure real-time data that can be used to build out a data history for analytics that could be used to optimize the quality of life. The opportunity is represented by devices used in a person’s everyday life that are connected to the Internet, have the ability to learn a person’s consumption behavior, and embody the goal to improve the efficacy of services and goods delivery and consumption. Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers says that the Internet of Everything could be a $19 trillion opportunity. 1 

Cloud computing plays a lead role in this large projected market, especially as the connected devices all vie for the same connected resources. Cloud provides the infrastructure, connectivity, web scale, agility, simplicity of use, and availability of services that the IoE can leverage as a framework. Cloud contributes to the connected ecosystem. All that data being generated is ripe for analysis, consumption, compliance, security, and protection. And as this marketplace is coming to fruition, the future of IoE is tied to the future of cloud.

Accordingly in a recent Cisco blog2, Gee Rittenhouse Ph.D. answers the top 5 questions about the future of cloud. Those questions are:

  1. When will all the major clouds support the same set of APIs?
  2. When will they support migration of data/workloads form one cloud to another natively?
  3. What comes after the race to the bottom in cloud storage prices plays out?
  4. When will we see a true cloud exchange?
  5. How can we be sure our data is safe in your cloud from prying eyes?

I invite you to read Cisco’s cloud blog post. It is listed in the reference section below. With respect to the IoE, I’d like to focus on question 4 and Gee’s answer. I completely agree that a true cloud exchange can only be delivered via a catalog with some of the features that Gee describes in his response. In fact, I’ve described that very catalog as an ITaaS Catalog, whose primary goal is to create a marketplace to optimizes services delivery and consumption. 3  This optimization and simplification of cloud services delivery and consumption is key to cloud adoption success and mirrors the one that needs to take place for the IoE success. 

In closing, it will be interesting to see the landscape that comes with the rise of the IoE and the cloud ecosystems that enable it. 





The IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) Catalog

The following blog was originally posted on

The IT service catalog can encompass many things but at its core, there is: (1) self-service, (2) a ticket request and approval process, and (3) fulfillment of catalog items. The service catalog is central to connecting services to end user requests. It is efficient at fulfilling things that remain static for a long period of time and when those things are already in the catalog. Ask for something in the catalog and get said thing delivered after approval with minimal churn. But is that enough?

If that something is not in the catalog, then it takes time to go through the process to add it to the catalog. This involves an approval process, procurement and integration into the existing catalog. Many times, the business units can’t wait for IT to complete its due diligence so they go rogue by procuring from non-IT cloud offerings and end up casting shadows on the IT process.

The business like disruptive innovation waits for no one. And business units move forward on the premise that the rewards outweigh the risks. Those who are just keeping the lights on risk having those lights turned off on them. See Blockbuster. See any brick and mortar store without an online, mobile presence or strategy.

Agility, web-scale, simplicity of use and instant IT are needed to be competitive in the innovation landscape. These qualities speak to the consumerization of IT and are enabled by cloud services. Moreover, non-standard service catalog requests and the dynamic nature of cloud service offerings expose the lack of agility, flexibility and capabilities of traditional IT service catalogs. The traditional IT catalogs have to evolve and move beyond just maintaining the status quo.

IT service catalogs need to:

(1) Offer multiple service choices and provide guidance on best fit.

(2) Be dynamic to reflect real-time updates and changes.

(3) Be easy to use and manage.

(4) Provide capabilities to handle the entire lifecycle of a living order including   contextual design, governance, visibility and change management.

An ITaaS Catalog encompasses all of these core capabilities and allows Enterprise IT and their business units to optimize service delivery and consumption efficacy.

IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) Catalog
IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) Catalog

To learn more about the ITaaS Catalog difference, please view Gravitant’s ITaaS Catalog webinar at

Or request a demo by visiting

Gravitant ITaaS Catalog Presentation


So Say SMEs in Virtualization and Cloud 2013 | Hybrid Cloud All the Time

In this episode of So Say SMEs in Virtualization & Cloud, Todd and I discuss Hybrid Clouds once again. Hybrid Cloud is a recurring theme because it is where large enterprises, solution providers and government are headed to. This convergence is fueled by the need to avoid vendor lock-in and to become more efficient at serving customers i.e. improvement customer’s consumption efficacy.

Let us know what you think.

So Say SMEs in Virtualization and Cloud | Cloud Supremacy: Public, Private, Hybrid

In this week’s episode of So Say SMEs in Virtualization & Cloud, Todd and I discuss Private Clouds with VMware, Public Clouds with Amazon and race for Cloud Supremacy between the two market leaders in Private and Public Clouds respectively. We also discuss VMware’s Hands-on-Lab Cloud Performance hardening and Amazon’s statement around high performance on their Public Clouds.

Let us know what you think.

Thoughts From the Floor at AWS re:Invent 2013

I spent all my time during the conference hours at re:Invent Central aka the AWS Solutions Floor. So my conversations were primarily with folks who stopped by the Gravitant booth. My observations from these conversations were: (1) AWS is easy to consume but hard when managing multiple accounts and getting a handle on pricing; (2) Hybrid Cloud initiatives are in full swing; and (3) cloud services brokerage will emerge beyond a nascent technology in 2014.

See you in the Clouds because that’s where all services aim to be!