Virtualization IT Administration Model

Allen Stewart from the Windows Server Division (WinCat) team. I spend a lot of time with companies that are deploying a virtualized architecture for Datacenters and Branch offices. Some of the technologies leveraged in these scenarios, capacity planning tools, workload migration technologies, P2V, V2V, High Availability, virtualization management, virtual machine backup/snapshots and service oriented management. While the technologies are well understood one thing has been pretty fluid is the administration model for the virtualized environment. Lets dive in there does not seem to be a consistent model some companies have taken the approach of keeping things the same way as the physical environment, others have created a virtualization group and assigned them the task of managing the virtual world. I understand both schools of thought, the virtual world should not change the administration model, or the virtual world is so disruptive and demands new skills, approaches that we need a group directed at the technology. So what I am really interested in is the administration model that will win out and your thoughts on the topic because this should drive flexible administration models in virtualization products.

So in the centralized approach Tier 1 and Tier 2 have complete rights to the environment and handle activities like VM creation from templates, deleting VM'S, starting/stopping, workload migration. The Engineering team handles, virtualization product evaluation, environment build out, creating standard VM builds/templates.

Tier 1 Support – Initial call support and case management

Tier 2 Support- Escalation deep troubleshooting

Windows Server Engineering/Dedicated Virtualization Team – Escalation deep troubleshooting/environment design changes.

Certain environments like branch offices and test/dev labs may dedicate a different model where Virtualization tasks and activities are delegated to business units or IT in branch offices. I am not going to cover the scenario where there is decentralized IT and each business unit does their own engineering (that to me still looks like the model above abet more political). In the branch office scenario you can still manage centrally but in the case where you have an IT person in the branch this forces delegation of activities. In this case it seems the activities that get delegated the most are the same as Tier 1 and Tier 2 personnel. So this starts to look and feel like the Active Directory Organization Unit delegation model a person is able to handle virtualization tasks in single or multiple sites with the central IT group having complete access. Please send in comments on how your virtualization environment is structured and any ideas you have on how you feel the administration model should be structured. My next blog will cover virtualization administration roles another fun topic on this path, thought being do we create specific in box roles or just leave it completely, flexible. Also, next in that path is assigning roles to tasks in the new Virtual Datacenters.

Allen Stewart

Principal Program Manager

Windows Server Division

Comments (2)

  1. Tej Kohli says:

    thanks for the post. I would like to read more case studies on ideal and customizable administration models in virtualization products.

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