VMware vCenter Operations

VMware vCenter Operations

Summary: VMware just launched VMware vCenter Operations in its attempt to reposition itself from being largely a supplier of virtual machine software (a hypervisor), application frameworks and management software for VMware virtualized environments to being considered a soup to nuts supplier of enterprise system software — both for on-premise virtualized computing and for cloud-centric virtualized solutions.

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VMware just launched VMware vCenter Operations in its attempt to reposition itself from being largely a supplier of virtual machine software (a hypervisor), application frameworks and management software for VMware virtualized environments to being considered a soup to nuts supplier of enterprise system software — both for on-premise virtualized computing and for cloud-centric virtualized solutions. My colleague, Larry Dignan, just posted VMware launches vCenter Operation, eyes bigger piece of data center pie. Although Larry did a great job summing up the announcement, I thought I'd wade in with my own commentary and analysis.

Here's what VMware has to say about VMware vCenter Operations

Visibility, Analytics and Actionable Intelligence Drive New IT Management Approach vCenter Operations will be tightly integrated with VMware vSphere, understand its advanced infrastructure management functionality and be able to collect data from its underlying physical components (servers, storage, network) as well as other management tools within the enterprise. It will then analyze the millions of data points these systems produce in real-time to get to the information that matters and visually present it in a simple, actionable way through dashboards. This means infrastructure and operations teams will have the intelligence they need to make fast, informed operational decisions in order to:

  • Proactively ensure service levels in dynamic cloud environments Real-time performance dashboards with patented analytics and powerful visualization of the health of the environment will allow IT to proactively pinpoint performance issues and risks before they become problems and impact SLAs.
  • Get to the root cause of performance problems faster The combination of patented analytics and infrastructure-awareness will allow vCenter Operations to more accurately and rapidly determine symptoms so that infrastructure and operations teams quickly get to the root cause of performance problems. By enabling a more collaborative approach, vCenter Operations can speed problem resolution and change management cycles and reduce manual efforts by 40 percent.
  • Optimize deployments in “real-time” to enable self-service provisioning vCenter Operations will provide real-time analysis of performance and capacity to help teams make fast, informed decisions on deployment. This capability will be critical to enabling rapid and reliable provisioning needed in self-service environments.
  • Maintain compliance in the face of constant change Automated provisioning and configuration analysis will ensure optimal configuration by automatically detecting configuration changes and enabling rollback to help IT maintain continuous compliance with operational best practices and industry or regulatory compliance requirements.

Snapshot analysis

Organizations typically do not have a homogeneous datacenter nor is it likely that their collections of mainframe, midrange and industry standard system-based solutions are going to somehow merge into a single environment.  This means that it is very likely that they'll be deploying multiple operating systems, virtual machine software products, application frameworks, database managers, networking and storage equipment.

VMware's new offering appears largely focused on supporting a VMware-centric environment.  While this might be a useful tool for such environments, it seems to me that a true solution needs to offer the following features.

  • Gather, analyze operational data and project what is likely to happen next. That is, the solution needs to support predictive analytics and take action based upon policies, service level agreements and the results of those analytics.
  • This data must come from everything in the datacenter. This means mainframes, midrange systems, industry standard systems, network servers, storage servers and even power distribution and cooling equipment.
  • It must also perform as much of the same functions, in the same way, in the most popular cloud computing environments.

I've spoken with a number of suppliers, including BMC, Netuitive, Nimbula, and a few others that appear to come closer to reaching this "Utopian" view.

I believe that VMware knows and understands this and is taking a pragmatic, step-by-step approach.  It is using its own software now, but is likely to build more powerful technology in the future or acquire one of the clever start ups who are building broader solutions today.

Note:

Since the time this commentary was published, VMware has contacted me and wants to provide an update on vCenter Operations.  I'll summarize our conversation in a future post.

Topics: Virtualization, Hardware, VMware

About

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. In his spare time, he's also the managing partner of Lux Sonus LLC, an investment firm.

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3 comments
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  • RE: VMware vCenter Operations

    They already acquired a very clever startup: INTEGRIEN. These solutions are based on the Integrien's analytics, visualizations, integrations and scalability.
    Adrian L
    • RE: VMware vCenter Operations

      @Adrian L

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      filhomarques
  • RE: VMware vCenter Operations

    Dan - As mentioned in Adrian's comment above, VMware acquired Integrien in August of 2010. The Integrien Alive technology is the basis of the VMware vCenter Operations performance management capabilities. With the Alive technology as it's foundation, vCenter Operations can integrate to a company's existing monitoring infrastucture and collect any time series data to analyze. It takes in information from anything the company is currently monitoring and has numerous out of the box adapters to third party monitoring solutions. Regardless of whether the performance data is environmental, server, network, virtual, end user experience or business data, vCenter Operations can access and analyze it. vCenter Operations, of course, integrates to vSphere for performance data, however, it can support other hypervisors as well through its integrations (in the same way that Netuitive does, for example). vCenter Operations is built on a set of patented performance analytics from Integrien Alive that analyzes time series performance data to understand normal behavior and provides proactive/predictive visualizations and alerting so that IT Operations staff can address building performance problems before they affect end users and business bottom line. vCenter Operations supports any popular cloud environment and is public cloud ready with distributed collectors that support secure communications. From what I've seen of BMC, Netuitive, Nimbula, etc, VMware appears well positioned to provide the "Utopian" view you describe.
    sah110