Behavioral analytics, dynamic thresholds, smart alerts and the Real Housewives of New Jersey: Do they matter?

August 20th, 2013 by

Features such as “behavioral analytics,” “dynamic thresholds” and “smart alerts” are like the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Well known, but lacking in substance.

VMware vCenter Operations, like the Real Housewives franchise, is using a formula approach for IT Operations—a rehash of something that was successful in another place and time. vCenter Operations is based on an approach used in physical environments. Applying an outdated monitor-till-a-threshold-is-breached-and-then-alert approach popularized in the physical era to IT operations management in a virtualized environment may not be the best approach for today’s dynamic data centers.

VMware believes it has a breakthrough technology. However, all that they’ve done is made improvements on a tired model. For example, a dynamic threshold is a method of determining a “normal” range of behavior for a performance metric it tracks.  Through its “behavior analytics,” it learns what the threshold should be based on an assessment over time.  And then it uses “smart alerts” (that is, alert suppression) to filter the really important alerts from all others that arise. VMware claims users will get 10 times fewer alerts with this approach.

VMware VCOPS badges
vCenter Operations’ super metrics for health, risk and efficiency require interpretation.

 

OK, so once you have an alert, then what? IT Operations staff now has to do something to avoid a major problem.

vCenter Operations can’t actually fix the problem. Nor can it prescribe what has to be done to fix it. Users can, however, (according to the VMware website) “pull up recommendations based on VMware best practices on how to best deal with situations.”  The recommendations are actually knowledgebase articles (see sample screenshot below).VMware vCOPS advice recommendations screenshot

In contrast, VMTurbo’s approach focuses on continually—and automatically—tuning the environment to prevent problems from happening in the first place.  The result? Performance is assured while assets are utilized most efficiently. No interpretation of metrics. No delay in remediation. And, unlike the Real Housewives, no drama.

Try it for yourself.

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