Convergence is great until you don’t agree with it


Convergence is great when you are leading the way and implementing your vision.  But, what happens when you are on the “other side” of convergence?  I’ve blown the horn for convergence of network and server infrastructures in the form of virtualization for a while.  With virtual network ports out numbering physical ports it seems obvious to me that the operations teams associated with both groups should merge.  However, when a company produces a product that attempts to break down the silos between the database infrastructure group and the virtualization group I paused.

A rep from the company Blue Medora reached out to me a few months ago to talk to me about a VMware plugin for Oracle Enterprise Manager (EM12c).  It allows a DBA that uses EM12c to monitor vSphere and VM performance specific to Oracle DB instances.  It basically gives a DBA a view into innards of the vSphere environment.  The product seems cool and all but, it raised my eyebrow.

This put me in the same position of network administrators when it comes to giving virtualization administrators views into the network.  I started to ask really defensive questions.  Why would I give a DBA such data?  On the flip side why would I want my VMware administrator using EM12c?  Why can’t one group just use the tools they have to provide the other with information to collaborate on troubleshooting and capacity planning?  I sounded a lot like the “old network guard” trying to protect their turf when talking network virtualization.

I have to be consistent in my message.  I believe that the future of the enterprise engineer is not going to be based on a single pillar of technology.  Enterpises will need well rounded Infrastructure Engineers opposed to single subject matter experts.  This product just brought up a part of convergence I never considered.  Infrastructure cross training doesn’t stop at networks and server virtualization.  As enterprises figure out how to leverage the public cloud to outsource their operations they will need these single pane tools to better equip the infrastructure engineer to support applications that run in public clouds.

I don’t know if Blue Medora’s product is timed right or not but, I can see a use for it in the future cloud based enterprise infrastructure.

Published by Keith Townsend

Now I'm @CTOAdvisor

3 thoughts on “Convergence is great until you don’t agree with it

  1. This doesn’t sound much like a problem with convergence, but more like a tooling problem. Application builders/deployers should get to know the performance tooling of the cloud/infrastructure operators and if they aren’t yet familiar with their application specific tooling do so even more.

    And cloud/infrastructure operators need to make sure they have all performance monitoring in place.

    Because these environments can be more complicated.

    Although about 5 months ago I had a customer with an application which didn’t perform as well as expected. I searched for the cause of the problem on and off for over a month.

    Eventually the cause turned out to have two parts, one part in the way the application was build (didn’t scale in the way it should have) and one part in the infrastructure. Both of which could never have been detected by monitoring/performance tooling alone. Only by reasoning about it, testing and measuring. The tooling would have just showed: everything is fine. The only difference the tooling made was that it should everything is great and not just fine when it was finally fixed.

    1. You are right in that it is also a tooling problem. The challenge is convincing the VMware Admin to install a performance tool they will not use themselves and getting feedback from a team that isn’t trained in server performance monitoring. At the end of the day this is a good thing to have.

      1. That is what I meant with operators should have everything in place, even if they might not be the primary users they should at least familiarize themselves with it.

        As a provider it is worse, at least with our type of customer. Customers now want easy access to this information in one place. Even though the information has to come from many sources and is related to many customers and might be an aggregate of all of them. So that is gonna be an interesting problem. 🙂

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