Sunday, August 4, 2013

Visibility and the software defined data center

The emerging software defined data center (SDDC) involves automated control of all network, server, storage and application resources - resulting in a "cloud operating system." Unified visibility is essential - allowing the cloud operating system to efficiently allocate resources, detect problems and ensure consistent performance.

The diagram shows how standard sFlow agents embedded within the elements of the infrastructure, stream essential performance metrics to management tools, ensuring that every resource in a dynamic cloud infrastructure is immediately detected and continuously monitored.
  • Applications - e.g. Apache, NGINX, Tomcat, Memcache, HAProxy, F5 ...
  • Virtual Servers - e.g. Xen, Hyper-V, KVM ...
  • Virtual Network - e.g. Open vSwitch, Hyper-V extensible vSwitch
  • Servers - e.g. BSD, Linux, Solaris and Windows
  • Network - over 30 switch vendors, see Vendor support.
Embedding instrumentation within the infrastructure ensures that all resources are efficiently monitored and eliminates the complexity of installing, configuring and managing add-on measurement components later.

By standardizing the essential metrics, sFlow breaks the dependency between agents and management tools. Instead of having to install monitoring tool specific agents on each server - often multiple agents per server, each exporting similar metrics - a single embedded sFlow agent exports a standard set of metrics that ensure consistency in performance reporting, no matter which tools you choose for analysis.

More importantly, the measurements reported by sFlow agents form part of a consistent data model, allowing the measurements to be combined to deliver a coherent picture of the performance of an integrated view of the performance of all the application instances and the server and network resources they depend on. The consistent, comprehensive and timely view of data center performance provided by the sFlow standard is an essential component of a cloud operating system.

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