VMware vRealize Operations (vROps) Review

When someone thinks a VM could be running out of memory, it shows that the VM actually has too many CPUs.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is being able to see what's actually going on, down to the VMware storage level. And the fact that it can give you a suggested change and it'll explain why.

The most common thing we see is that we've got too many CPUs on a virtual machine. It'll say - and there's always a debate - or someone thinks it could be running out of memory, and it's actually because it has too many CPUs.

A lot of guys want to add more memory or more CPUs and it'll know why. It helps me with the other guys on the team and to show them why, because if you look at it, it'll tell you: This is what's going on and this is what you need to do. Also, a lot of times, there's a link for more information. You can find that information and read up on it, such as a KB article that explains what the product is telling you. There's not a lot of space in the product itself; just a little synopsis about why you should do it. It's readable for a VMware admin. If you're a regular system administrator, you might not understand what they're saying or doing.

How has it helped my organization?

Probably the most common benefit is catching problems. It has a view where it shows you a hot spot that starts turning red and you're see there's an issue. It also shows trends, so you can see how long it has been going on and other things like that.

We don't currently use the increased automation feature or integration with DRS for load balancing and scheduling. We're looking into doing it, but it's a trust factor. We're afraid it'll add a CPU or take away a CPU – things like that – on the fly, and we're not comfortable with that yet. It gives us suggestions and we'll implement those, but we don't want it to just automatically do it. I expect in the future, we will. We've had about six months and we're happy with it so far.

It’s difficult to say whether we have had specific cases where it has helped us avoid outages or shortened outage times, because when something comes up, we usually address it. So, I wouldn't know if we avoided an outage. I haven't seen anything super serious.

It has helped us with performance management; getting the VMs tuned better. And that's what I think it's really good at. We have a staff of six VMware admins, and some are less experienced than others, so they'll overbuild a VM or something like that.

What needs improvement?

Even though we don't have the full license for the full vRealize automation and some automation is already built in, I’d like to see them expand that and make it a little easier to use.

Also, it is very CPU intensive. It's hitting the storage, or I guess more storage. Our storage admins are always complaining it's one of the most utilized virtual machines out there. They're saying it's just as high as any of our big databases. If they could improve the performance, so our storage guys will quit complaining about the usage on the data storage. They're saying the virtual machine is probably using more IOPS than almost every other virtual machine in the environment. It's constantly checking the environment.

I think the learning curve on setting it up could be improved; it takes a while to understand it. I wouldn't say I’ve mastered it at all. I'm still working on it. If you really want to get into the automation portion, you've got to learn a lot of Python and things like that, because that's what it's using underneath.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I think it's pretty stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

As far as scalability goes, we have fairly a decent-sized environment and it doesn't seem to have an issue. We don't see a performance issue, but when our storage guys are looking at their console, they're getting worried because it's one virtual machine and this product stores a lot more than all the others.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not used technical support. I don't think we've used technical support; we've used our TAM to help us set it up, get it going and fix it up. I think we had one issue because we couldn't get it set up correctly and we had to call support. They were very good at resolving the issue, they just kind of walked us through it.

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

We previously used SolarWinds Virtualization, and it was not real time. We wanted something that was real time. It was always behind, because it was polling once in a while; it goes and grabs the data. So you'd be looking at all the data and it wasn't real. A problem would no longer, even though I'm looking at it. It's fine, I guess, for long-term monitoring, but when I wanted to deal with issues that were immediate, it wasn't a good fit for us.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There were no other vendors on our short list. We did the proofs of concept and liked vROps, so we went from there.

I think the most important criteria when we went with vROps was because it was a VMware product. We were more likely to choose it. They were getting the integration we wanted, so we didn't really look at a lot of other products.

What other advice do I have?

Do the proof of concept. I think that'll tell you what you need to know; if it's going to be a good fit for your environment. I would say that's probably applicable for anything you're going to look at.

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