Hands on with AppInsight @ VMWorld 2011

Today I had an opportunity to spend some time with AppInsight, a new product being delivered by VMWare as they enter into the application virtualization space. Essentially, AppInsight is an attempt at addressing the Visualization concerns within the Application Delivery space.

AppInsight allows you to breakup your virtualized network into logical segments, or tiers. For example, you might have a load balancing tier, web server tier, app server tier and database tier. Superficially, the product is on par with other user-to-database monitoring solutions. My problem, however, is their approach.

Personally, I think the idea that organization would, or could, virtualize 100% of their infrastructure is far fetched. Not to mention the plethora of catch 22 situations you could find yourself in. For arguments sake, lets say that we virtualized our load balancers. And our load balancers front infrastructure services like DNS and NTP. What would happen if we had an outage where we had to reboot ESX? Well, the load balancer instances can’t be started until ESX is running, but ESX relies on DNS!

Without digressing too far, I think the point is clear. Virtualization makes sense, in certain places. Therefore, for products like AppInsight to really take off they’ll need to develop API’s that can call into physical infrastructure appliances and gather the necessary information.

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