The seventh chapter of my eBook, Managing Virtual Environments, is now available for download from the Embotics web site.  This chapter focuses on ways in which organizations can bring order to their data centers by communicating and enforcing Service Level Agreements (SLAs).  From the introduction:

The implementation of new technology often comes with new challenges. While a pessimist might point out that many IT departments and the businesses that they support are resistant to changes, there’s an opposing view: Often, new technology such as virtualization can provide a compelling reason to address organization-wide operational and management issues. The major challenge faced by most IT teams is the constant struggle to meet business requirements while staying within budget. Overall, the goal is for technology investments to remain aligned with business initiatives. Virtualization is attractive for just these reasons: It provides unprecedented flexibility and agility to data center resources.

Despite its technical benefits and the ability to lower operational costs, many IT managers have found that they are unable to keep pace with the needs of the users they support. In some cases, cost overruns lead to budget constraints which, in turn, can slow business growth. Personnel and expertise are limited, and it often seems that no matter how well-planned the infrastructure is, there’s some portion of the environment that fails to meet requirements.

Returning to an optimistic view, virtualization provides an excellent opportunity for organizations to implement methods to address these issues. This chapter focuses on the topics of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and charge-backs – two methods of improving coordination, communications, and priorities within a business. As in previous chapters, the goal is to maximize the benefits of virtualization while minimizing costs and related management overhead.

You can download chapters from this eBook for free (registration required) from the Embotics Knowledge Center.