Managing a virtual machine is not the same thing as managing the stuff inside it.

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I’ve been noticing a disturbing, though not unexpected, trend in the world of virtualization and cloud computing around management of infrastructure, particularly around virtual network appliances (VNAs). Specifically this trend is claiming the ability to manage virtualized infrastructure.

You’d think I’d be happy about that. I probably would - if the solutions were actually capable of managing the infrastructure.

Digging into these management solutions shows that for the most part the definition of the term “manage” is about as deep as a puddle; the buck (and control) stops at the virtual machine. What management and automation solutions promise is the ability to provision, manage, and migrate virtualized infrastructure. What they actually provide is provisioning, management, and migration of virtual machines. Whether it is infrastructure or applications running internal to the virtual machine is pretty much irrelevant; the solution is about managing virtual machines.