VMware Taking Aim At Data Center Management Challenges

Change is constant in cloud and virtual environments, where resources are constantly being shifted across different resource pools in the data center to ensure that quality-of-service is being met. But all this moving around creates management challenges, and IT can't be bothered with operational stuff because it prevents them from having a forward looking approach to dealing with problems when they arise.

vCenter Operations gathers data from the underlying physical server, storage and networking components in vSphere deployments, and other management tools, analyzes this data and presents it in a dashboard view. Rob Smoot, director of product marketing for VMware’s vCenter management products, says this enables IT to respond more quickly to problems when they arise.

"We're trying to automate the operational side and enable IT to have a proactive approach to troubleshooting," Smoot said in an interview. For customers, instead of having tons of alerts and noise from the systems, you get an overall view of the health of the environment."

The dashboard puts all of performance and configuration data into context, allowing admins to drill down on specific issues to identify the source of looming performance problems. "Instead of having different teams from server, storage and networking trying to figure out what went wrong yesterday, you can pinpoint where the problems exist and expend fewer resources," said Smoot.

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vCenter Operations has broad appeal that will allow it to fit well within the scope of VMware's partners, according to Smoot. "There's broad demand for this type of solution because even in small environments, with a couple of hosts and 50 virtual machines, can take advantage. It's also adjacent to what the channel sells today, and is easy to install and deploy," he said. vCenter Operations includes technology from VMware's vCenter Capacity IQ and vCenter Configuration Manager products, as well as technology from VMware's acquisition last August of Integrien, an Irvine, Calif.-based IT analytics firm.

vCenter Operations Standard, the lowest of the three product tiers, offers performance and capacity management, while vCenter Operations Advanced adds more sophisticated analytics and planning features. vCenter Operations Enterprise, the highest tier, includes adapters to third party management tools, according to Smoot.

"You can bring other data into these environments and it will correlate and find performance problems within it," Smoot said.

VMware plans to launch the first versions of vCenter Operations later this month, with prices starting at $50 per virtual machine.