Moving to the virtual layer (and taking advantage of the cloud)

A new start-up advocates an agentless approach that allows virtual infrastructure to be managed seamlessly.

With infrastructure services like Amazon EC2, Rackspace, and VMware making it easy to take advantage of the flexibility, portability, and reduced costs of cloud computing, it seems obvious to jump on the cloud bandwagon for new IT projects.

But, developers are generally left on their own to deal with the pain of deploying their apps to the cloud: configuring application servers, libraries, disk partitions, networking, clustering, service connections, and virtual private networks. After they get their app installed they also need to install management agents that run on top of the application layer.

Isaac Roth, co-founder and CEO, webappVM
Isaac Roth, co-founder and CEO webappVM
If you really want to take advantage of the cloud and optimize return on investment, you'll want the on-boarding process to be easy and fast and you won't install that agent. Agent-based solutions are inherently inflexible. Deploying agent-based solutions in a cloud-based environment, which is, by definition, highly flexible, is often like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. In agent-based solutions, hard-coded agents are installed on every machine to monitor the application. If a change to the application configuration occurs--such as the IT department adds a node or upgrades a component--the agents must be updated as well.

Each agent and management server must be configured separately with management and monitoring solutions generally not portable. When every change to an environment requires installation of multiple agents on each server and configuration of multiple management servers, it becomes a tall order to move an application from a traditional infrastructure to the cloud, or from one cloud infrastructure to another: private to public, public to hybrid, or hybrid to private.

How do you get around this so you can actually capitalize on the benefits of cloud computing? Go virtual. Move application management, including easy on-boarding, from above the application stack into the underlying virtual layer, along with the rest of the cloud infrastructure.

I was recently briefed by webappVM CEO Isaac Roth on how the company is pioneering this new approach. He said the virtual path allows you to actually realize all of the flexibility, portability, and reduced costs that come with the promise of cloud computing.

Using agentless technology eliminates the complexity of deploying an application to the cloud and reduces total cost of ownership. And it works with both public and private clouds.

The application management functionality that was previously provided by agent-based solutions is now built into the virtual layer. There are no agents to deploy, upgrade, or maintain, and no management servers to configure and install. There are also no endless upgrades to the management environment each time the application changes. It requires no integration and does not need to be reconfigured when adding, scaling, or moving applications.

Maybe it's time to ditch that agent and go entirely virtual?

About the author

Dave Rosenberg has more than 15 years of technology and marketing experience that spans from Bell Labs to startup IPOs to open-source and cloud software companies. He is CEO and founder of Nodeable, co-founder of MuleSoft, and managing director for Hardy Way. He is an adviser to DataStax, IT Database, and Puppet Labs.

 

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