VMware vCenter Operations: The Whole Enchilada?

July 26th, 2013 by

Must have been a few years ago, but I recall watching one of the (great) Wayne Dyer specials on PBS. They were offering a bundle for viewers that made the highest contribution, what they were calling the “whole enchilada.” It contained the book, CD, DVD, etc.  This got me thinking about the current incarnation of vCenter Operations (vCOps). Is it really the whole enchilada?  Let’s take a look at some of the ingredients.

Automated Operations: Self-learning Behavioral Analytics

I think we’d all agree that automating operations is a good thing, given the continued percentage of IT budgets spent “keeping the lights on.”  There’s a big difference between automating operations, however, and so-called “Smart Alerts” (Oxymoron?). The reality is that the smartest alert is one that never happens in the first place because the environment is being maintained in a perpetually healthy state.  This is the true key to gaining desired operational efficiencies.

VMware vCOPS: not quite the whole enchilada

Tight Platform Integration

If you’ve been in the systems management space for a while, you’ve definitely seen this movie before with the “Big 4” and others.  The reality is that the acquisition approach to platform integration just doesn’t produce a very well-formed Enchilada—multiple discrete products each with their own database—with, at best, a loose UI coupling on top that yields “swivel chair management,” going from screen to screen (or tab to tab).  The right approach is a unified common data model and analytics that drive operational and infrastructure efficiency, built from the ground up to support multiple hypervisors and cloud platforms across compute, network, storage, and overriding applications.

Innovative, Accurate and Actionable Information

Actionable: “capable of being acted on,” according to Merriam-Webster.

While vCOps may provide the “smoke” alerts, these still require significant interpretation to get to the underlying “fire,” let alone prevent it in the first place.  An actionable approach to IT Operations means a set of resource allocations and placement decisions that can be acted upon, to move the environment into a healthy and efficient state.

vSphere With Operations Management Economics

It’s easy to confuse price with value.  In IT Operations Management, value can and should be measured—the ability to deliver on operational and infrastructure efficiency and deliver on service level guarantees translates to real and measurable metrics such as VM density and the number of incidents/problems that occur, among others.  Make sure to measure them.

The VMware Software-Defined Data Center Vision

Transforming IT through flexibility and automation is another goal I think we can all get behind.  While the inexorable march of virtualization through the technology stack (compute, storage, network) continues, we need Software-Defined Control to harness this flexibility and deliver on the promise of operational and infrastructure efficiencies.  There continues to be multiple gaps in VMware’s strategy, one of these being a next-generation control plane that can orchestrate across clusters, data centers, and clouds.

Whole enchilada?  Not quite, but maybe a breakfast burrito! 🙂

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