What is most valuable?
The tool really gives our VM admins the ability to dig deep into the VMs and really get a feel for what's going on. That's really a gap that we had prior to this product. Application teams would claim performance issues, etc. Our team really didn't have the tools to get in and do that deep-dive analysis without logging onto host and doing some very deep, technical commands. Very few people were able to do that type of analysis and this tool has really allowed us to open that up to more of our team, to be able to get a quick idea of what's going on with a VM.
How has it helped my organization?
It gives us quicker time to resolution. If we're in an outage situation, our teams can quickly get in there and identify whether it is a storage issue, a network issue, or a compute issue. It gives them the ability to discover that pretty quickly and then, when there is an issue, we can go back and do root-cause analysis. It gives them that ability to dig deep in and not just see it was a network issue, but get more specifics and hopefully get to an actual resolution because of that long-term fix.
It's a very powerful tool. It gives us the ability to get a lot of visibility that we just did not have before. The capacity management side of it is very big for us as well. Just being able to understand you know are we getting the most out of our infrastructure or not.
What needs improvement?
The biggest gap that we have today is that it doesn't integrate with our ticketing system. We get alerts out of the system in an email but those aren't actionable alerts. We actually did another professional service engagement with VMware to try and tailor those alerts some. We have been able to do that, but it's still an email alert, where we'd really like for that to be a ticket, so that somebody can be responsible for taking action on that.
There's also some gaps with the ability to aggregate the data and show it at a higher level. You have to dig deep into the specific VM to get the information you want. Not just anybody can do that. We've been able to open it up to more people on the team, but it's still not a completely intuitive tool that they can just pick up and use.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It seems to be a stable tool. We did have some issues early on with getting the kind of configuration correct. We've actually had to rebuild it, I believe two times, because of some bad configuration to start out with and, I guess, some databases getting too large. Outside of that, the tool has been pretty stable for us. For the most part, it's pretty reliable.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It seems scalable as well. It does a really good job of looking at the entire environment and aggregating all that data together. Going back to the scale and the database issues that we have had, I think that had to do with the amount of data that we were collecting on the number of VMs we were collecting. Now that we've got that fine-tuned a little better, it does seem to be pretty scalable in meeting our needs in that aspect.
How are customer service and technical support?
We have used technical support. I don't know that I have a very solid answer regarding it, though. That would be more of our technical guys that were in there, day-to-day, dealing with it. I do know that we've had issues we've been able to resolve, but how easy that was, I'm not all that sure.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We really weren't using anything different. We were just using the vCenter functionality, really knew there was a gap there, and looked at the tools on the market at the time. We went with this tool because it really did give us that ability to dig deep into the VMs and get that technical deep dive. With some of the other tools, it was more of trusting the algorithms to tune the VMs correctly. We really wanted a little more control than that; that's why we went with this tool.
How was the initial setup?
We use professional services to do the setup; that definitely helped us there. We did have configuration issues. There were some things that maybe weren't apparent at the time we went through the install. Over time, support realized there were some issues and made some different recommendations. I'll say using professional services definitely gave us a good foundation that we at least were doing things according to best practice at that time.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
VMTurbo was the main one that we looked at.
The most important criteria when I’m selecting a vendor like VMware is the relationship. We have a good relationship with VMware. Also, whether it is a proven product, and then obviously cost is always at the top of the list.
What other advice do I have?
I recommend vROps. I recommend professional services engagement, as well, especially for the tuning of the alerts, because it comes out of the box with just a lot of information. It takes a bit to get through that and kind of narrow it down. Your team either needs to really understand and be able to spend the time to do that, or get somebody to help you that's been through that experience before.