VMware vRealize Operations (vROps) Review

Proactive monitoring and alerts have helped us to anticipate issues and decrease downtime


What is our primary use case?

We wanted a tool for monitoring the entire virtualization infrastructure. In addition to infrastructure monitoring, a second use case was application monitoring. At the time we were looking, they had a tool called EPOps through which you could do application monitoring. We also heard about some other components, partner integrations for VMware, through which we could monitor the SAP landscape and storage performance.

How has it helped my organization?

There was a team of five or six members. Only one member implemented the vROps, but the visibility was provided to all five of the core infrastructure members. They have been able to use the tool effectively to monitor all the applications from an infrastructure point of view.

We also created an application-specific dashboard, from an infra point of view, which was released to end application teams, so that they can then monitor the performance of their applications: How is the CPU and memory? How is the software: working or not working? It is a one-of-a-kind solution where we have onboarded application teams and given them logins for their specific areas.

vROps also provides proactive monitoring, at some level. It's not practical to keep on logging in to the tool to look at it. So you can create alerts and it will alert you if memory utilization is going beyond 80 or CPU utilization is going above 90. It significantly improves the monitoring, because we are able to act on it beforehand, before the system goes down. It has decreased our downtime by 20 percent. We are more proactive in anticipating and solving problems, and it has also reduced our mean time to resolution for infrastructure by about 10 percent.

We also use it for capacity management, for buying new capacity. It has saved us on hardware costs because we're able to plan properly and we're able to buy the necessary hardware. It has saved us around 50 lakh in Indian rupees [about $70,000 at the time of this review]. And because we are not buying as much infrastructure, the licensing requirements and costs have also been reduced. And it has saved us about 5 to 10 lakh [about $7,000 to $14,000 at the time of this review] in power and other data center costs.

What is most valuable?

For VMware monitoring, it gives a good amount of data, which can be circled back with the IT hierarchy, or application owner, to have a discussion. 

VM rightsizing is another very good feature and capacity planning is something else that I like about it.

In addition, over time it has become more user-friendly. When we deployed, it was only three-years-old. Recently, it has matured enough to monitor cloud infra also, but we have not tried that yet. But it has matured over the time. The GUI has become more user-friendly and it is very lightweight now.

It shows end-to-end visibility for infrastructure: CPU, memory, and all the processes that are running on the server. It will provide you everything. It will provide you some information about applications, depending on the tool capability, but it is not an application performance monitoring solution.

What needs improvement?

We integrated vROps with vRealize Log Insight, but it was not helpful to me. It was not giving me any good data.

Another area where there is room for improvement is an area which I've not looked at: cloud management and how efficiently it can do it. 

Also, while it is able to do VMware management very effectively, if you have any other hypervisor solution, I don't know how effectively it would work. It should scale to other infrastructure also.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using VMware vRealize Operations (vROps) for the last five to six years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product is more or less stable. We may find a database-related issue once in a year because it uses the open source Cassandra DB, so sometimes that does not work the way it should. 

Also, high-availability within the product is not so good. They have tried to improve it over the time. We have created a two-node cluster where, if one cluster goes down, the other node will take over. Whenever we have tried, it was not that seamless, and we had to involve their support.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable. It is easy to scale. We also implemented it in a remote location, where we just had to install a remote connector. All you need is good connectivity.

In a given week we were using vROps three to four times. That frequency has been reduced and now we use it about twice a week. I look at it in my role as manager of IT infrastructure and data center. On my team there are three people and they also look at vROps from time to time. They create VMs. They are database, software, and backup administrators. Above me there is our leadership team that also looks at it on a case-by-case basis.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very good, no doubt about it. If you raise a very high-priority case, you will get an immediate response. And most of the people are able to solve the problems. You don't have to roll the case over to the next available or superior agent.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We didn't have any tools before vROps, but it provides a single tool for virtualized infrastructure monitoring.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was a complex process, and it is still a complex process. There are too many products: the UI, database, and you have to properly size it according to your requirements, otherwise it does not work well.

Our deployment was a one-year project.

We took a full suite of licenses for all the VMs which we had. And that time we had some 600 VMs. We took two types of licensing, advanced and enterprise, where we were trying to achieve our application monitoring in the enterprise licensing. The advanced was used to create dashboards and other kinds of reporting.

Besides this, we used one more product, VMware Compliance Manager, which they have now stopped. That is one area which they have now integrated into vROps, but we have not tried it so far.

What about the implementation team?

We used VMware professional services. Our experience with them was okay. We thought we would implement way further, with VMware onboarding, but it took a year to complete the project.

What was our ROI?

We haven't really seen ROI. That was not the idea at the time. We wanted a monitoring platform. Return on investment on such a product is also fairly difficult to calculate.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Over time they have changed the pricing and the licensing model. Five or six years ago, when we took it, it was a very good option. Now, I think I have to reevaluate, to be honest.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at SolarWinds and BMC. One of the primary reasons we went with vROps was that we had a large VMware infrastructure. Also, at that time, the dashboards were very good. Also, at some level, it was an agentless solution. In all the other cases you had to install an agent in the end VMs. But because vROps is tightly integrated with VMware, it monitors without agents. That was a factor. Cost was also a factor.

What other advice do I have?

My advice would be to look at it holistically, meaning look at what you want to achieve in the final endgame. Also, evaluate a couple of products to get a feel for them and which product suits you. In addition, create roles within your company, because this needs dedicated attention when you implement it and attention to sustain it. There should also be alignment with an application team or leadership team when implementing this kind of solution.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

7
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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