VMware vRealize Operations (vROps) Review

Gives us a single pane of glass for DRS and SRM policies as well as alerts on CPU, memory, and disk I/O


What is our primary use case?

We're trying to use it for automation purposes, the automation of the process of consolidating hardware. We've had it installed for about 18 months and there's so much more we know it can do, but it's doing everything we know how to do with it right now.

How has it helped my organization?

The new features in v6.7 are going to bring a lot of our use case to fruition for us. Right now, we just don't have enough insider training to make that a reality. That was one of the reasons for coming here, to VMworld 2018: To improve our knowledge and figure out exactly what we could do with it. The sky's the limit now. Everything I see in 6.7, we're so looking forward to using it.

There was a course today on optimization and it was absolutely fantastic because everything that we want to do, using tags for SQL licenses and optimizing the hosts; for tiering - we have tier-1 servers, tier-2 servers, and test - so to be able to organize those and keep them on the host that they're supposed to be on, goes a long way. We have a very, I won't say untrained staff, but a young staff and to automate this process so that they can't make the mistakes - or if they make a mistake - it goes a long way towards helping with that.

What we've taken from VMworld is going to help us to push it to the next level.

We can also see things happening before the users do, which is huge. There's nothing worse than getting 50 tickets from the user community and you didn't even know that something was going on. If we start getting the alerts because we've got SLAs and the like on CPU and memory and disk I/O, those are already in place. Now, we know before the users.

What is most valuable?

Its most valuable features are the automation and the preventive nature that's built into it. For example, for the younger techs who are doing things in vCenter, you can change their security so they can only do certain things, but that doesn't negate them from migrating a production server into test, while keeping them from doing something that they just shouldn't do, storage-wise or CPU-wise. We all make that mistake of, "Oh, I'm going to just give this server 20 CPU," and then all of a sudden you have no resources on your host. This prevents that.

You put the rules in place. You take all of vCenter's built-in items and you've got one pane of glass for the policies: DRS policies, SRM policies, all of those things work well with vROps.

What needs improvement?

We're on the 6.0 version, so it does lack a little bit of that intuitiveness. You have to have some experience with VMware to get around inside of it. That's one of the reasons that I've loved what I've seen so far with 6.7. We've already downloaded the installation remotely and we're just waiting to get back home so that we can actually do our upgrade. That's the first thing we're doing Monday is upgrading to 6.7.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability - never an issue. We haven't had any problems at all.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Regarding scalability, it has done everything for us. Our first install of operations was with about 20 blades and we're now up over 100. It has grown with us. We add licenses, it takes on the new logs and everything else that it needs to. We can go in within a couple days and we already see the benefits of adding those additional hosts. The user interface shows us the information we want to see from them in the dashboards.

How is customer service and technical support?

We have not used vROps technical support, but VMware support has been top-notch. Any time we call, they take care of it. They take ownership, which is great.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We didn't have anything in place, we were just vCenter. But with vCenter, you don't get the alarms and alerts in an intuitive fashion and you don't have the organization that you have with vROps. It goes a long way with that one pane of glass.

What was our ROI?

It has provided us some cost savings for the high-capacity and our ability to manage that. We haven't seen the benefits for the users because we don't have enough experience yet. And I think that's what 6.7 is going to allow us to take to the next level.

Across all of our clusters from test through tier-1 and tier-2, we were way over-provisioned. We weren't taking on the features of over-committing and things along those lines, so I went from 45 blades or 45 hosts, down to 35, and I was able to just shut the other 10 off. When it came time for a hardware refresh, I no longer needed those 10, I no longer needed to get support on those 10. Ten blades at $20,000 a piece, that's a $200,000 savings. In its simplest form, that's huge, especially in the healthcare industry, where they're constantly chopping our budgets. So that $200,000 in the course of 18 months helped me.

What other advice do I have?

Install and do an evaluation and you'll be looking for licensing within a few days of your installation. It won't take the whole 30 days to figure it out.

My rating of eight out of 10 is strictly the result of my own experience with version 6.0. If I had to do rate version 6.7 - and I don't even have it installed - I would probably give it a 10.

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