From Listening Comes Wisdom

An old Italian proverb says, “From listening comes wisdom.”  By listening carefully – really listening – you can learn a great deal. Listening helps us increase our understanding of another person’s motivations and needs – knowledge that can make us more effective on a personal as well as business level.

Xangati has been on the road the past few months, speaking at regional and local VMWare User Group (VMUG) chapter meetings across the country. We’ve done some talking, of course, but also a lot of listening. Some of what we’ve heard is no surprise. Reducing the cost of operations is clearly the driving force behind virtualization. But the level of attention, as well as the conversations generated when we’ve brought out real world customer examples, has been phenomenal. You’ve shown us that you are fully engaged and want to know how to plan for multi-tier application migration in a virtualized infrastructure, especially by listening to stories of what other companies are doing right now.

Providence Health & Services is one customer that we’ve discussed during these meetings. Providence, a large, not-for-profit health care system, has 27 hospitals in five states across the western U.S. The company wanted to virtualize a multi-tier electronic medical record (EMR) application – clearly, a critical application for patient care. Making the move more complex was the fact that they were concurrently switching from an outdated “green screen” to a GUI-based version of the application.

Before implementing on a larger scale, the company selected one ‘lighthouse’ hospital to serve as the test site for the initial virtualized EMR implementation. Unfortunately the lighthouse hospital and implementation stalled. Because the existing management tools available to the project team couldn’t tell the complete picture, virtualization – the new guy on the block – was blamed. After installing Xangati’s virtual appliance, it was quickly revealed that the problem was with the application – not virtualization.  With its live, to-the-second visibility into all of the networked communications, Xangati’s product showed immediately, and without a shred of doubt, that the problem was the GUI server intermittently slamming the application server – nothing to do with virtualization at all.  

Hearing this story in our keynote address, prompted another user to share his story – how he tried to move mission-critical applications to the virtual world – twice – and failed both times. Not great for his personal reputation or line of business management’s confidence in virtualization for business critical applications. He was going to do it yet again, without changes, when he saw our solution. Now, he fully expects to attain success the third time round.  It is trials and tribulations like these that has prompted a new role sales engineering in the VMware field to focus on the challenges in virtualizing tier one apps.

You can only overcome problems by adding new layers of insight that can only come from enhanced management solutions.  Solutions that provide visibility in both the physical and virtual worlds provide critical insights that will accelerate the migration of business applications into the virtual infrastructure. Without that visibility, once your first application implementation fails, your other projects typically get stalled, too.

What we’ve heard one-on-one at these VMUG meetings is in synch with quantitative findings from a couple of surveys we conducted earlier this year. One of them, a survey of approximately 750 IT executives, showed a whopping 82 percent do not believe they have the tools in-house to confidently ensure the performance of virtualized mission-critical applications. Again, the key word here is confidence. You need confidence in the tools to manage mission critical applications on the virtual infrastructure in order to deploy virtualization and fully leverage its cost efficiencies. 

Our partners are collaborating with us and providing additional industry cohesion and support. We were pleased to have Versatile join us at the Philadelphia VMUG meeting and Data Strategy in Columbus, Ohio.

For you VMUG leaders out there, allow us to share more real world stories and give you and your members the opportunity to download our appliance right on the spot. Contact us if accelerating virtualization is of interest to your VMUG chapter. We’d be glad to share what we’re hearing and listen to what you need.

  1. July 21, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Excellent Blog..Look forward to seeing Xangati at the Montreal User Group Meeting on September 28th!

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