I’ve heard the occasional confusion in user’s minds. It goes along these lines – “I have a hypervisor (like ESX, XenServer, Microsoft Virtual Server, …) already in my test lab. So, why do I need to go in for a virtual lab automation solution? Things seem to be working (at least on the surface) and my users are able to create, deploy and tear-down VMs quite easily.” When I hear this, it seems to me that the user is missing a key aspect — they have not formalized the involvement of virtualization in their dev/test/pre-production environment. Now, whats the hitch with that, you might ask? Not much, except that without formal involvement you will not fully realize the benefits of virtualization.
Here is what I normally like to point out as benefits of fully embedding virtualization (and using a product like VMLogix LabManager) in your dev/test/pre-prod. environment::
- Centralize your lab operations using virtual lab automation:: You have one standard web user interface for users to get access to virtual machine/software licenses/storage/etc. resources in your lab. Distributed teams can all access the same repository of lab resources. We all know the mantra — to drive efficiency — centralize, centralize, centralize!
- Enable and foster a self-serve environment using lab automation:: Once you have streamlined the lab access and use, you don’t want to get in the way of users. Allow them to freely access the lab resources, create multi-machine configurations etc. that they are entitled to based on their roles/personas. Allow them to collaborate in teams and share resources between users/teams. Let the power of synergies grow and multiply your team’s productivity!
- Leverage virtual lab automation to speed up mundane tasks:: Virtual lab automation solutions like VMLogix LabManager provide users with automation operations to quickly and repeatedly setup software stacks in virtual machines and bring up a multi-machine test bed in sync. How many times have your users create a “clean VM” to run a ‘new test’. And how many times have those resulted in VM sprawl. Both are painful problems that you have dealt with, for sure. As you use VLA solutions in your lab, you can easily create production-like environments for testing quite easily, including the plumbing between these virtual machines. You can even benefit from external integrations of virtual lab automation products. Now, isn’t that nice?
- Optimize your storage utilization with virtual lab automation:: As you create a trail of Virtual machines in your lab, you don’t need to maintain the entire disk image – instead leverage the delta-disk and linked clones technology available in solutions to reduce the storage required to maintain your VMs.
- Network Zoning:: You can have multiple users in your lab instantiate and deploy a multi-machine configuration in parallel, without them making any IP/MAC address changes. Each configuration runs within an IP/network zone and does not interfere in the operations of the other instances.
These are the things that come to my mind when I hear the hypervisor vs. Virtual lab automation confusion in user’s minds. Don’t just take my word for it. Login to our VMLogix Virtual Portal and request for a VMLogix LabManager free 30 day evaluation. If it does not blow your mind away, I’d like to hear about it 🙂
– Srihari Palangala