Glasshouse offers to tease out virtualization ROI

By Tom Jowitt, Techworld.com |  Virtualization, managed services

IT consultancy Glasshouse Technologies has launched a managed service to help companies manage their virtualization infrastructures, as well as optimize its return on investment (ROI).

Glasshouse says that with its Virtualization Optimization Service, "vendor-independent professionals" look at ongoing ways of reducing costs beyond the normal approach of server consolidation, via a number of other methods including round the clock monitoring and reporting on virtualization machine activities.

Glasshouse says that its consultants look to provide practical, actionable recommendations for how a business can keep its virtual environment optimized for maximum efficiency and cost-savings. It also aims to improve service levels.

Glasshouse is launching this service, at a time when IT budgets are under increasing pressure, coupled with scarce virtualization resources, with IT department reportedly struggling to find or pay for suitably experienced staff with the necessary virtualization skill sets.

Glasshouse says that its Virtualization Optimization Service is an optional extra for its Managed Services for Virtualized Environments offering, which allows organizations to offload the day-to-day operations of virtualized infrastructures to "experienced, independent consultants." The company only works with VMware infrastructure at the moment, but is working towards dealing with Microsoft and Citrix Zen technologies as well.

"In the last several years, enterprises have been rapidly adopting virtualization technologies due to its ability to corral sever sprawl," said Rob Wilson, director of virtualization services at GlassHouse in a statement. "Now that companies have realised the consolidation benefits, organizations are now exploring best ways to optimize their virtual investments to ensure the greatest return - especially in this cost-conscious economy. Our new service provides organizations with the visibility and management tools necessary to achieve these returns in spite of mounting reductions in resources."

"It (the service) has sort of evolved over the last year so," Wilson told Techworld. "The goal of the service is to be there monitoring every single day of every week, and to give alerts of performance issues and thresholds."

"We differ from others because of the ongoing recommendations from our senior experts, who are not only monitoring the service," he said. "Customers now have someone at the other end of line to interpret the reports for their business, to answer questions like when are they going to enter the red, why they are not going to meet the demand etc."

"The service acts like a trusted advisor," Wilson said. "It comes with couple of hours per month, where can question us over specific issues. Plus, customers are provided with weekly reports, which include individual recommendations and opinions from a Glasshouse consultant."

Wilson explained that Glasshouse's Horizon management interface sits inside customer location and is used for performance reporting on virtual machines and hosts in order to maximize efficiencies. It is also used for capacity planning to help businesses predict potential bottlenecks and minimize risks; configuration and asset management to optimize the infrastructure; forecasting and constraint identification based on trend reports to improve service levels; analysis of triggered alerts for optimization opportunities; and 24/7 incident management and monitoring of critical issues all year round, in order to maintain support of the business.

Glasshouse has system operating centers in North Carolina, and in the United Kingdom, with "people watching the board, waiting for alerts to come in and we then trigger a reaction when something happens. The reporting is more of an automated process, putting reports on a customer dashboard, with graphics, bars, utilization charts, etc."

"The service offers three things, reporting, optimizing, and providing recommendations," said Wilson. "It is all about cost saving now. It is all about ROI and what I call 'squeezing the iron'. We are extremely busy. People are not waiting 18 months anymore for this. They want it now in eight months or less."

The optimization service is subscription based. It is broken down into 'buckets' with varying pricing 'fingers'. Under 49 servers for example typically costs $5,000 (3,453) per month.

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