30 December 2019

8 problems of IT infrastructure owners and how to solve them

Data storage in public clouds may not be a suitable option for particular customers. Companies may choose to support their own IT infrastructure due to security concerns or to save costs. Better equipment use efficiency can be accomplished with virtualization technologies: being able to launch several services at a single node to support different business processes without compromising safety or stability.

However, managing virtualization of your own equipment may turn out to be more complicated that using a public cloud. Today we will discuss 8 problems faced by IT infrastructure owners, and see how VMmanager helps to resolve them.

VMmanager is a KVM-based server virtualization management panel. It enables to create virtual machines for website and CRM hosting, or various other tasks required by accounting, deployment, automation, testing or development teams. It helps to save IT administrators' time, prevent malfunctions, identify causes of problems and improve cooperation between departments.

Management

KVM-based virtual machines can be configured manually through the command line. This requires high qualification of staff, yet, even an experienced administrator may need a lot of time. As long as the number of tasks remains limited, the costs are insignificant. But when the flow of work is on the rise, e.g. you need a VPS for testing, software debugging, new websites, managing it all from the command line is no longer efficient.

VMmanager is a panel with a convenient web interface. The same operations, which require multiple commands in the command line, can be performed in VMmanager with just a few clicks. The panel offers handy tools for virtual machines management, software installation, managing virtual disks, network interfaces, and other tasks.

The virtual machines list displays the load statistics, while the menu on the left provides access to basic operations – these can be executed on several VPSes at the same time.

Consolidation of tools

System administrators seldom manage their infrastructure via command line only. They write scripts to automate routine tasks, and use solutions for monitoring, network configuration etc. Larger number of tools used means lower efficiency and higher chances of a mistake.

With VMmanager, the company gets a single entry point for virtualization management. The panel features practical tools to monitor the current status of infrastructure, enhance the existing equipment use efficiency, and substantiate the need for procurement or expansion.

Backups

Equipment may eventually age and malfunction, while staff can make a mistake occasionally. To restore your websites or services quickly, you need backups – saved copies of the virtual servers hosting your projects. Backups will also be useful for preventive maintenance: while one server is being maintained, the project is running on another server. Here, a lot will depend on how exactly backups are produced.

VMmanager uses image technology for backups. They are created without stopping the virtual machine. The image can be used to restore a damaged VPS or run a VPS copy on a new server. This will speed up the processes and enable higher failure resistance.

Image creation form is available in VMmanager directly from the virtual machines list.

Cooperation of departments

Virtual machines can be requested by accounting, marketing, automation, development or testing department. Some will seek assistance of system administrators with any task, however simple it may be, while others will act independently, of course not always professionally or safely. System administrators get distracted with small things and struggle heroically to fix the consequences of these efforts.

With VMmanager, internal customers of the infrastructure will get their own access to the panel. Basic tasks can be managed independently in a simple interface: turn off, turn on, restart the server, reinstall or even create a pre-configured OS template. Access rights are limited, so actions of staff will not jeopardize security or stability of the entire infrastructure. Interaction speed gets higher.

The list of panel users and their system roles.

Incident prevention

Websites and services with external interfaces are always at risk. A DDoS attack, a virus or an incorrect script may bring a virtual machine down. Corporate business processes may be at risk.

VMmanager controls the load on servers and virtual machines: keeps track of memory use, processor and hard drive load, network traffic. When the load reaches critical level, the panel will inform the administrator. Load graphs are shown on the dashboard, in nodes and virtual machines lists, as well as on cards. The statistics function features an integrated Grafana-based dashboard – a perfect and quickly configurable tool for incidents analysis. Soon VMmanager will offer a problem alert system. The administrator will be getting alerts via popular messengers and email.

The dashboard displays statistics across all clusters, individual nodes and virtual machines

Problem investigation and analytics

Once the problem has been detected, we need to find its root cause and fix quickly. When virtual machines are created without a panel, the cause can only be found via the command line. Going through the possibilities takes time. Using the command line to track stability of the entire infrastructure and load balance across virtual machines can get complicated.

In VMmanager, all operations are displayed in the Tasks List. It contains the information about ongoing and completed operations with virtual machines, nodes, OS templates. Regularities can be derived based on task execution time: the amount of time taken a particular operation and who initiated it. If an operation ends with an error, its log is displayed in the interface. In case of script failure, the error code will be displayed as well. The action path becomes evident immediately.

The Tasks List enables to arrange tasks by status, user, duration and other parameters conveniently

Clusters

Own IT infrastructure of companies tends to be heterogenic: several servers, racks, or even geographically remote locations. Provider ends up using several panels to manage them.

VMmanager supports managing multiple clusters at the same time. Servers in different locations can be controlled from a single panel. Virtual machines lists can be sorted by nodes or clusters.

Transparency and security

Companies may choose to support their own IT infrastructure for better capacity, security or cost efficiency.

VMmanager was designed to accommodate all of these goals. The panel is installed on CentOS – one of the best free Linux distribution packages, which is updated regularly. VMmanager is based on a powerful stack of technologies: C++, Python, Golang, Docker, Grafana, Go-Carbon etc.

This produces several benefits of VMmanager:
  1. Higher capacity vs. other solutions
  2. Better cost efficiency than Windows-based solutions.
  3. Improved security of the infrastructure set up with VMmanager – open Linux code enables execution of only the declared functions, without any surprises.

Give VMmanager a try

VMmanager helps customers to run a more stable and powerful IT infrastructure. The panel saves IT administrators' time, enabling to prevent malfunctions, identify causes of problems and improve cooperation between departments. With VMmanager you will be able to boost your business without increasing the number of your system administrators – all procedures will be simplified to the maximum.