The private cloud doesn't just happen. It is not a simple case of powering up a private cloud server and pressing start. Virtualisation is all about the management of both data and applications - and this requires a deep level of resource visibility as well as powerful tools to be able exert control upon the private cloud network and its citizens.

As we now witness a rapid expansion in virtualisation, we also hear the call for more tailored network architecture controls. Our IT resources must now be accessible on-demand, with no interruption in services and in the most automated fashion possible.

Once into live deployment, applications and their supporting data start to impact how resource utilisation should be planned and managed throughout the network. To make this resource control possible, F5 PRO-enabled Monitoring Pack works as a software plug-in module for the Operations Manager component of Microsoft Systems Center to provide a comprehensive view of BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager device health data.

The benefits of clarity

Visibility into the virtualised Application Delivery Networking infrastructure means that critical information for the trending and analysis of application delivery architecture becomes available. From this analysis vantage point, we are then able to optimise resource utilisation and more effectively manage infrastructural growth.

F5 Networks’ tools in this space are dedicated to providing over 180 “device health” metrics which customers can use to provision resources as efficiently as possible. Using near real-time performance monitoring data. The F5 Monitoring Pack has been engineered to integrate with the reporting capabilities of Microsoft’s System Center Operations Manager. The resulting marriage of these technologies working in concert is a set of customised traffic metric reports that show the current instrumentation and health of all network objects and devices.

Out of clarity, comes control

With clarity into the private cloud’s Application Delivery Networking infrastructure we can start to make better decisions based on traffic pattern analysis to identify future capacity needs. The F5 Monitoring Pack’s PRO technology allows network managers to set thresholds to send alerts when the number of connections on a virtual machine reaches the desired maximum level.

F5 PRO technology will go one step further and offer corrective action when the threshold is reached. Using the F5 iControl API, users can make calls into the Virtual Machine Manager component of System Center and into BIG-IP LTM via PowerShell. For example, we can instruct System Center to introduce another instance of a virtualised server and direct BIG-IP LTM to add another pool member. When utilisation drops, an alert can trigger another PRO tip to remove the pool member and the virtual machine instance.

The F5 Monitoring Pack also provides an advanced health model that reduces the number of objects to monitor and the administrative time and resources required. The “node enable and disable” feature makes it possible for administrators to outsource time-consuming tasks to be handled in a more cost-effective manner.

As well as collecting historical data on demand across the virtualised infrastructure, the F5 Monitoring Pack also provides customised network maps views - once again, this is all about clarity from first principles. As we now move to a new point of clarity and control, we start to be able to automate the dynamic provisioning of the network in the virtual data centre. This results in better utilization of server resources, better user experiences and thus adds tangible value.