Capacity management is probably the most valuable feature that made me want to bring it in. There was a lot of overprovisioned infrastructure before I came in. That was the main goal: being able to have evidence for when issues are not the infrastructure's fault, when there are application issues. There was a big issue with a financial management application that they were just certain they didn't have enough CPU and memory. We were able to demonstrate that, no, here's what it's using exactly, so what is going on is that the software is poorly written. vROps helped rectify those situations.
Room for Improvement
There's room for improvement; it's really good. Again, it's very powerful, but it's difficult to harness that power, and there's a lot of room for improvement there. They could improve the licensing and the expense, too.
In a vROps session at a recent conference, I heard they're trying to make it a little simpler, because when you first install it, it's very overwhelming. It's one of those products that's very, very powerful, but getting to a place where you can harness that power, there's a pretty steep learning curve. Doing custom dashboards and making things look simpler are not easy to do, compared to some other products. At my previous employer, we used VM1, which is a competitor, and I know there are other competitors such as VMTurbo; there are all kinds of other ones that do it. I guess those other solutions went more towards the ease-of-use side and less towards the power; the getting-into-everything side.
Use of Solution
I've been with my current company for just over two years. About a year in, I campaigned to bring vROps in, so I have been probably using it for just over a year now.
It is a consistent, stable solution. Although it's not really a stability issue, we had one issue when we upgraded from vCOPS to vROps and tried to run it in parallel. It wasn't really clear about how you would go about doing that, so we ended up having to reinstall vROps completely, and had to start over. It takes 30 days to get to where you have good information coming out of it, so we had to start that over again. That wasn't necessarily the product's fault as much as the documentation's fault.
We're fairly small from an infrastructure standpoint, so I just have the one appliance. I don't have any remote collectors or anything running. I have one vROps appliance monitoring vCenters; one has about 400 VMs, the other one probably only has about 20 VMs that run all the time. It's our DR site, and there are some production workloads that run there all the time.
Customer Service and Technical Support
I'm one of those guys that'll never call technical support, so unless we have a major issue, I'd rather figure things out for myself. And my company tends to buy the lowest level of support. I don't usually call.
We did call them one time for vROps, which was the issue I’ve mentioned about the database becoming corrupted because of the way we had done the migration. They just said, "Can't do it that way."
Initial setup is really easy, especially with the appliance. You just deploy the appliance, and point it at vCenter. I had one issue that was a little bit non-intuitive as far as setup, which was the ability to pull in vSphere tags. If you want to pull in tags, you have to give it more permission than what you would do for a normal vROps appliance.
It is complex when you first set it up. It depends on how quickly you want to be able to get good and actionable information out of it. Obviously, there are things that are in it that are actionable from the start, but it's probably a subset of what you're actually looking for. If you do want to have custom dashboards and items like that quickly, you need to have a professional services organization, whether that's VMware themselves or a vendor that's familiar with vROps, just because of that learning curve.
There aren’t a lot of – at least there haven’t been – good resources for vROps. I don't know what it is about vROps, because for just about everything else in VMware, you can find lots of information. It's hard to find specific information on how to do things. Maybe I just haven't found the right places, but it seems to me that it's harder to find information – walkthroughs and things like that – on vROps than it is for some of the other products.