Not a SPOG… but a Green House

So in my last post. I asked the question: How many Single Pane’s of Glass do we have? Does anyone actually WANT a SPOG?

I got a few comments, and the more I think about this, the more I think the answer is a resounding

HELL NO!

( quote from @neelixx )

There’s a lot of talk in the industry right now about the SPOG, and although I may be not popular for saying this, but I don’t think ANYONE wants a Single Pane of Glass to manage their entire IT infrastructure.

Let me say that again…

I don’t think anyone wants a single-pane-of-glass TO MANAGE THEIR ENTIRE IT INFRASTRUCTURE.

No. I’m not yelling, I’m just using the CAPS to emphasize the last part of that sentence, because that’s where a lot of the industry right now has started to go sideways on this concept.

Not a single-pane-of-glass… but a Green House.

20120511-234607.jpg

Take this cube above. It’s actually built from six single-panes-of-glass. Six Unique perspectives looking in on the same contents.

Now there may be a debate on how many unique perspectives there are in any given IT infrastructure, but I think it’s safe to say that each one has a valid set of requirements and a certain way of looking at the infrastructure.

You can also see how the SPOGs connect at the edges. The blending of data between the different perspectives.

Now how does this play out in reality?

Let’s look at HPs IMC. This product is built specifically from a network perspective. And HP makes no apologies for that. It’s completely homegrown in HPN, not a set of multiple products from multiple acquisitions. ( ok… so maybe it’s a single product from a single acquisition, but the point is it’s all from the same place. )

IMC is built with the Network Professionals perspective in mind. Does this mean that I can’t do server management from within this tool? Absolutely not!

But is it the BEST place to do server management? Absolutely not!

As I tweeted out tonight, I don’t think anyone would want to do firmware mgmt from a network tool.

But… there are network based services, like DNS, DHCP, NTP, RADIUS, etc… that live on SERVERS but are of particular interest to the Network Professionals.

Or what about Virtualization? Again, IMC will give you direct access to the Networking Specific areas of interest in VMware and HyperV.

Does that mean that I’m going to use IMC to build and manage VMs? Absolutely not!

Does that mean that I”m going to use IMC to track network stats, configure vSwitches, and manage the VLAN interfaces on port groups on my ESXi hosts?

ABSOLUTELY YES!

Why? Because vCenter really isn’t built for network people to do network tasks. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. It was designed for the Server Professional ( the Virtualization Professional?) to manage the specific areas of interest ( CPUs, Memory, VMTools, FT, HA, Virtual Storage, etc..) that they require to do their job.

Now look at the cube above… imagine that IMC is one of those sides, vCenter is another, HP’s SIM is another. Maybe Microsoft SCOM is in there?

All of those tools have integration points between them.

All of them have a perspective on the exact same infrastructure.

All of them provide the right tools for a specific IT Professional to get their job done.

I understand that desire for a single tool that’s going to manage your entire IT infrastructure, but I just don’t know if that’s ever going to be a reality simply because there are way too many moving pieces. I can’t imagine an interface that would allow the network people to get what they need, the server people to get what they need, the storage to get what they need, etc…

Maybe just ensuring that the complimentary edges on our individual SPOGs are well lined up, like a green house, will allow the IT infrastructure to flourish.

Am I wrong? Right? Let me know what you’re thinking.

@netmanchris

How many SPOGs?

Seems like every vendor is preaching the value of the Single Pane of Glass ( SPOG ) to their customers. For those of you who have been operations folks, the fragmented nature of xMS ( NMS, SMS (security), SMS ( server ), BSM, APM, etc.) has been a nightmare for most organizations. The data is more silo’d than the IT departments and it really doesn’t scale because of the lack of interaction between the data in the management domain.

So the industry lately has really zoomed in around the idea of the single pane of glass management system. And it got me to thinking

Does anyone really want a single pane of glass?

I think a lot of people are looking for a way to manage complex environments and the idea of having a SPOG that lets you see everything in one console is such a tempting idea. But is it realistic? And even if it was, would it even be useful?

I don’t think anyone would try to argue that convergence in the data center isn’t a reality. The network is virtual, storage is distributed. Applications are federated. Everything is built on a stack of lies and no one in the operations group has any idea where their particular domain of responsibility ends anymore.

But in meeting with many different organizations, it seems that although people want (and NEED ) the SPOG. They also seem to want to continue with the seperation of the seperate silos of servers, storage, and networking.

I’m still thinking this through, but it seems to be that the network guys ( and gals ) want to see things from a network-centric point of view. The servers want to see this through a server-centric point of view, and the storage wants to see this through a storage-centric point of view.

What’s interesting though, is that in smaller shops where the Ops team is actually one or two people who do everything, they still seem to prefer a SPOG per IT domain.

Functionaly Dysfunctional if you will.

There are some solutions out there, like Cisco UCS Manager that does have some great stuff going for it and seems to bring together the Data Center networ and the Servers. I haven’t had a lot of hands on, but it does seem to bring the data center into a SPOG, and I can see the value in that.

But I wonder about the rest of the network. What about the end-users? The data center only exists to offer services to end-users and a solution that seems to completely discount the users it is supposed to serve just seems like it’s missing something to me.

What do you guys think? Would you rather have a NMS tool that allows you to see into the networking centric portions of the virtual environment and gives you full visibility to the end-user? Full visibility into the end-to-end transaction, at least from the network perspective?

Still thinking this one through…

@netmanchris