What is our primary use case?
Our primary use case is monitoring and reporting on our VM infrastructure for student-facing applications, classroom-facing applications, and data center infrastructure like AD and DNS.
It has performed really well. I have been using it since whatever it was called before vROps, so I have been using it for a while. It works really well.
How has it helped my organization?
It gives us a lot of details about the environment that we normally wouldn't be able to see without using other tools. We get visibility into our infrastructure, a single interface to see storage performance, VM performance, and to find issues in the environment that we wouldn't normally see.
Some of the forecasting features give us a picture of, let's say, in six months I know that my storage will be full, or I'll be out of resources. It gives us a little bit of forecasting. But it's not a tool for us that really shapes how we do stuff or improves functionality, it's just a bonus. In terms of solving some problems, it helps there, but it doesn't make a big difference in the grand scheme of things for us.
What is most valuable?
The most valuable feature is the reporting, to be able to generate reports. You come in on a Monday and see, "Okay, here are the things it found in the environment, here are the issues it's seeing," and you can go and address them at your leisure. But you get that type of reporting, it's always there.
It's pretty user-friendly. It is very intuitive, the layout is well-built, and the user experience is well-built. You look at the interface and you say, "Oh, I understand what these sections or what these categories of features do." For example, for reporting, there's a tab that says "Reporting." You click on it and there are all your reports. So the user interface is really well-designed to make it intuitive.
What needs improvement?
One of the features I would like them to bring in is more application monitoring and more visibly into applications. Instead of the actual hardware and the environment, they need to go one step further and bring in application availability and application performance. I don't really care if the hardware's overloaded, as long as the application is performing correctly. That's all the users care about and that's all I really care about.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
I've never had any issues with its stability. Even through updates, it's pretty stable.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
In the environment I'm using it in currently, scale is not really an issue. In previous environments I was in, it scaled very well across all of the infrastructure. So scalability has never really been an issue for us because it's just a reporting tool.
How is customer service and technical support?
I don't think I have ever had to use technical support. Customer service through VMware has always been fairly good. We haven't had to use it for this product but, overall, VMware is a pretty good customer service experience.
How was the initial setup?
The setup is pretty easy. It takes 20 minutes and it's up and running. It's pretty straightforward.
What was our ROI?
It goes back to: "What does it actually do for us?" It's a nice-to-have and it gives us a little bit easier way of predicting when we're going to have issues. Or, if we have issues that no one else notices, a major reporting platform like vROps sees stuff before we know it's an issue. It gives us that heads-up along the lines of, "Hey, you might be having issues or you might be seeing issues in the future. You may not be right now, but here's something to look forward to." That's what it gives us, a bit of heads-up in terms of the way our infrastructure is performing.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Costs could always be lower.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
For this environment we're fairly small, so we didn't really look at anything else. In other environments, we compared other products and other companies against vROps. But, for this environment, it's so small, it just made sense. It's easy enough to do, so we just went with vROps.
What other advice do I have?
I rate vROps at eight out of ten. I don't think any platform will ever be a ten because there's always that little bit of room to grow. But they do what they do fairly well. Maybe there are other products that can do it a little bit better, but for the balance of cost, the ease of use, and how well it integrates into our environment, it is a good fit for a lot of places. If you have specific needs it doesn't fill, there may be better options. But for us, in our environment, it just works well.
The most important criterion in selecting a vendor is intuitive interfaces, the ease of management going forward. I don't want my reporting and management platform to be hard to manage. It's not something you should have to look after. It's something that should be looking after your infrastructure, not your having to look after it to look after your infrastructure. The most important thing is a good user experience, something that's very intuitive. If you bring some new person into the environment, you don't want them to take weeks to understand how the tool works and what it does for them.