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Today, data centers are being built with more entities on a larger scale in order to satisfy the rapid growth of services and the demand for efficient service delivery and management. These data centers are facing scalability, manageability, and consumability challenges that require breakthrough technology for design and management. This paper extends previous work that focused on using virtual appliances for service management, by describing the following areas: 1) rapid provisioning, which simplifies and accelerates the deployment and activation of virtual appliances by checking parameter dependencies and coordinating execution sequences; 2) selective presentation, which provides flexible interfaces to present meaningful information through customized metrics; 3) simplified operation, which enables different operation granularities by coordinating the operation sequences across virtual appliances; and 4) automated consolidation, which enables automated service performance management by automatically monitoring and optimizing resource allocations. In addition, we describe the design and prototype of an extendable management framework, virtualization integrator (VSI), which enables an appliance builder to easily fulfill the key features of virtual appliances and coordinate management function across components located in multiple virtual appliances. By reinventing virtual appliances with built-in management capability, data center management is radically simplified and automated. The results, improved server utilization and simplified system manipulation, demonstrate the potential for virtual appliances to be fundamental building blocks for large-scale data centers and potentially for cloud-based new enterprise data centers.
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