Xangati's Latest VM Monitoring Appliance Introduces Next-Generation Remediation Capabilities

Xangati began its journey toward next-generation IT event management Monday by releasing software capable of automatically remediating resource contention problems.

The updated Xangati Virtual Appliance -- which employs machine learning to ensure resources remain properly allocated to workloads running on virtual machines -- allows system administrators and MSPs to approve automated implementation of prescriptive actions in VMware environments.

While the latest release adds the capability only for vSphere, the San Jose, Calif.-based developer of workload performance solutions will, in the coming months, introduce automated remediation to multiple environments it supports, according to the company.

[Related: Xangati, Seeking Greater Growth, Takes A Major Turn Toward The Channel]

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The maturity of the entire category is undergoing a major transition, Atchison Frazer, Xangati's vice president of marketing, told CRN. Next-generation solutions are being driven by "a lot of customer pain with the amount of time it takes to resolve performance degradation."

"It's a strange time. This whole category is moving," Frazer said. "It's stuck between monitoring 1.X and 2.0."

Xangati's previous platform, while offering root cause analysis and prescriptive remediation suggestions, was still passive.

"An administrator sits in front of the dashboard, overlays Xangati's 'Storm Tracker' utility to the data mesh, which allows getting to the root cause of any problem and solving it quickly," he said.

But the ultimate solution still required human tinkering -- which meant a fair amount of latency before problems were solved.

"The tool generates very prescriptive recommendations when dynamic thresholds kick in," Frazer said. "But you, as a human, would have to go move a virtual machine around, add more memory, add CPU power, kill a bad actor, or deal with an end user."

Many solution providers see that model as involving "too much human-productivity training for me to get interested in building a practice around," Frazer told CRN.

The latest release alerts admins to CPU and memory contention problems -- called "storms" in Xangati parlance -- then prompts the admin to click a button to allow the software to implement its recommendations.

Xangati will complete its transition to the next-generation platform in a few months by adding support for XenServer and Hyper-V hypervisors, as well as the ServiceNow and Microsoft Systems Center operations platforms, Frazer said.

The automated remediation capabilities deliver a number of benefits to the channel, Frazer told CRN.

First off, "you're going to save your customer time," he said. Also, "you can do health assessments, run them as a service, brand under your own logo and offer Xangati-as-a-Service."

Channel partners can build professional services expertise around performance analytics by leveraging the Xangati tool, and if they're doing cloud or app hosting, can use the tool to ensure they meet service level agreements, he said.

"As an MSP, you're going to be really able to pinpoint and define your SLA targets with a much higher degree of certainty," Frazer said.

Jeffrey Chang, director of technology at Libertyvlle, Ill.-based solution provider Chicago Microsystems, told CRN that automating remediation actions is an important advance in event monitoring technology.

Chicago Microsystems started working with Xangati after setting up a school district in Illinois with Citrix virtual desktops.

The software made management of those many VDI instances far easier by providing automated intelligence, honing baselines through machine learning, and comprehensively recording events, Chang said.

Having Xangati aggregate all the data involving VMs, learn from their behavior, almost immediately identify storms, and be able to eliminate some causes for those resource-availability problems while confirming others "makes our job so much easier," Chang said.

But the pain point of relying on a systems administrator to act in a timely fashion on a recommendation from the software remained, which is why the new capabilities are such a welcome development.

"If you don't do something in the right time frame, it's irrelevant, cause that system has already subsided," Chang told CRN. "Doing it automatically just yields a better experience."