VMware vRealize Operations (vROps) Review

Automatic reports allow us to "sanity-check" our entire environment and show us where we can improve

What is our primary use case?

We use vROps to manage our on-site private cloud as well as our public cloud out in OVH. It allows us to perform trending and analysis on all of our workloads to make sure that they're running as efficiently as possible.

How has it helped my organization?

It has saved us quite a bit of money by making those workloads run more efficiently and it has allowed us to recover a lot of wasted resources.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the ability to right-size a workload, based on historical data for that workload.

It also allows us to "sanity-check" the entire infrastructure by getting monthly reports on how everything is performing and where we can make improvements. That's all done automatically, without any administrator involvement.

One issue that I had last year, they've already added. They've put some chargeback functionality into it, which they didn't have before. That was very useful for us.

What needs improvement?

It's a very complex product. It has gotten better over the years, but they still have some work to do. It still requires a lot of time, and some training, to get accustomed to it.

Moving forward, I would like to see some tighter integration with the vSphere Web Client, just so that I don't have to open multiple windows and jump back and forth. We're currently running vSphere 6.7 and there is a lot tighter integration between vROps and vSphere, but it can always be better.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have no problems with the stability. It's always been pretty solid.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I haven't really had any need to scale beyond what we've always had. The last two versions of it, we've gone with the integrated, high-availability built into the product, and that was a welcome change for us. It's even better now not having to have any kind of load-balancer in front of it, so it's very nice.

I did add a couple of remote nodes. I think when we first started using it, that wasn't even possible, so it was nice having that capability. That did help us scale. If our company were to grow, probably through acquisition, which we seem to do a lot, it would be very easy for us to scale the solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

For this product, we have not used technical support in a long time. Probably some four years ago was the last time we used it, which speaks to the stability. We haven't had any problems recently.

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

When I started with my current company, seven years ago, they were using another solution and it was terrible. It didn't give us any of the planning, the change management, any of that stuff that was built into the vROps. To be honest, vROps didn't even exist back then so they pretty much did what they had to do. 

When vROps was offered, it still took us a while to get familiar enough with it to adopt it and, ever since then, we've been happy with what we've been given. 

In terms of actually selecting a vendor, my opinion on what is important has just changed. Our storage vendor is just getting bought out after a period of uncertainty, so I would have to say longevity, first of all; stability. We need to know that they're going to be around tomorrow. Also, somebody that continuously innovates. I did a press release almost 10 years ago for VMware and one of the statements that I made then still holds true. I said, "VMware gives me things that I didn't know I needed, and now I can't live without." I still think that that's the way to judge whether or not they're still giving me what I think they should.

They're constantly giving me things, features that maybe somebody else is asking for. A lot of times, they are things I had never considered before and then I look at them and I say "I have to have that". If I don't look at your product and say, "I have to have that," then I probably won't buy your product because I hate going to ask for money.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is pretty straightforward now. It used to be much more involved and a not very intuitive deployment at all, but now it's really nice.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There are other providers out there that will give a similar experience to vROps, but we're comfortable with it. We were being pressured to look at these other things because one of our acquisitions used one of them. They wanted us to come to an agreement on what was best and we didn't like what they were using, so we stuck with vROps. Now they're with vROps, and lucky for them.

What other advice do I have?

You'd want the ease of use to be the primary draw to the product. Somebody who is evaluating vROps - when I didn't know anything about it and I was looking at it for the first time - it is very daunting. It's very complex and very confusing and especially, back then, there wasn't really any good training. I would tell a colleague not to try to do it alone. It's worth the effort, but you need to get help, either from your TAM or from somebody else, a colleague of yours who uses the product. Get some guidance because it's a very difficult product to get into and master on your own.

As good as it is, it's not perfect so I would have to rate it a nine out of 10. I would love to see something that I could turn over to a junior administrator who hasn't had my level of involvement with the product and say, "Here you go," and have it be, from a certain perspective, clear enough and intuitive enough for him to at least start getting some information out of it.

Like I said, it's a very complex product and you can get a lot of stuff out of it and I like that, for myself, but it's hard getting other people involved with it when it takes so long to figure out what's going on. I think that the engineers who created it are on the same page as me. As soon as it opens up, I see a wealth of information. But it's very daunting to somebody who is new to the product.

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