InfoVista's VistaInsight for Servers A Window on Your Enterprise

Hello, I'm Roger Sakowski, one of Dan Kusnetzky's colleagues at the Kusnetzky Group. Dan and I had a conversation with InfoVista recently and this post is a quick summary of that conversation.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

Hello, I'm Roger Sakowski, one of Dan Kusnetzky's colleagues at the Kusnetzky Group. Dan and I had a conversation with InfoVista recently and this post is a quick summary of that conversation.

When is an enterprise or a landscape of enterprises delivering its potential? The question is at the heart of ROI and performance considerations. Bad choices lead to Frankenstein patchworks sure to haunt system architects and eventually lead to system failures. Good choices lead to cost-effective, agile and scalable systems. My colleague, Dan Kusnetzky, and I had the good fortune to chat with Beth Ruck, Marketing Director for InfoVista to learn more about their product, VistaInsight for Servers. We hope that she recovers from grilling she experienced during our conversation! Here is a summary of that discussion and our snapshot analysis of the product.

In the company's words, "VistaInsight for Servers is a Service-Centric Perform­ance Management solution for computing systems...." Essentially, it's a reporting system that offers system-wide discovery and comprehensive views of network metrics. From systems-wide performance to atomic-level device throughput, VistaInsight for Servers generates reports suited to diverse areas of interest, whether by high-level management or "in the trenches" administrators and developers.

The package provides a single interface that displays meaningful information for the management of multiple platform and instrumentation types. These polled snapshots of network relationships are substantial tools for:

  • Predictive service interruption warnings,
  • Detailed troubleshooting,
  • Historical trend analysis,
  • Decision-making objectives and
  • Network fine-grained tuning

Complex, under-the-hood algorithms crunch the raw network measurements to deliver an analytic view of the statistics and in some cases suggest a roadmap to more efficient system design and/or usage. VistaInsight for Servers is currently available for limited OS and database platforms. InfoVista assures us that required plug-ins for unsupported platforms are a relatively trivial development task and will be included on an as needed basis. Additionally, the company asserts that agent-agnostic support is available offering IT staff the ability to roll their own implementations.

The missing piece that stands out is an automated tool for system optimization/modeling. Given the wealth of information and analysis, it seems this sort of mechanism would have been a natural evolutionary path. By way of explanation, Ms. Ruck states that InfoVista prefers to focus on what it does well rather than venture into areas where it isn't as experienced. Products such as Collage from Cassatt, FabricServer from DataSynapse and others provide these tools, but don't generally do as well culling raw data or its analysis as VistaInsight for Servers does. Perhaps one of these providers might form a strategic alliance with InfoVista that complements each other's strengths.

Here's our quick snapshot analysis of VistaInsight for Servers.

  • Strengths - VistaInsight of Servers offers one-stop-shopping for comprehensive system management information, system-wide discovery, and perceptive paths to solutions in report form.
  • Weaknesses - It's currently limited by scanty "out of the box" platform support and lacks an automated tool for system optimization/modeling.
  • Opportunities - An alliance with a strong modeling services provider and an initiative to support more enterprise platforms would create a package that's hard to beat.
  • Threats - VistaInsight for Servers faces strong completion from industry leaders such as Lucent Technologies and HP offering packages supporting a wide range of platforms and include automated modeling services.

Final comments

In conclusion, those considering how to manage and optimize their enterprise landscape are advised to look into InfoVista's network management package frequently as the product matures.

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