Managing a virtual environment involves some foundational issues that determine how well the components function as a system. These issues include how licenses are managed, how workloads are controlled, and how the network itself is managed.

In cloud environments, customers request additional CPU cycles or storage as their needs grow. They’re protected from the details, but this protection doesn’t happen by magic. The provider has to do a lot of work behind the scenes to manage this highly dynamic environment.

The foundations have to be in synch between the two worlds. And when your company reviews different cloud options, management must understand how the cloud provider deals with foundational issues:

  • License management: Many license agreements tie license fees to physical servers rather than to virtual servers. Resolve these licenses before using the associated software in a virtual environment. The constraints of such licenses may become an obstacle to efficiency.

  • Service levels: Measuring, managing, and maintaining service levels can become more complicated simply because the environment itself is more complex. When cloud computing is added in to the mix, the cloud consumer is responsible for establishing service levels for both internally virtualized environments as well as those living in the cloud.

  • Network management: The real target of network management becomes the virtual network, which may be harder to manage than the physical network.

  • Workload administration: Set policies to determine how new resources can be provisioned, and under what circumstances. Before a new resource can be introduced, it needs to be approved by management. Also, the administrator has to be sure that the right security policies are included.

  • Capacity planning: Although it’s convenient to think that all servers deliver roughly the same capacity, they don’t. With virtualization, you have more control of hardware purchases and can plan network resources accordingly.