Following the Twitter feed from VMworld Copenhagen this year there seemed to be a common theme coming out of all the buzz – operations and management. Product wise it was AppBlast and Horizon that really took center stage in Vegas, but it was vCenter Operations 5 that stole the show in Europe.
i have been a VCops user since the beginning (well, since VMware purchased Integrien) beta and have been completely sold on the product ever since. Although the production environment i look after is relatively small in the eyes of VMware (150 VMs or so) that doesn't mean that the day to day operations and performance of those VMs isn't just as important as the larger environments. To be completely honest, VCops filled a huge gap between the standard vCenter alarms and performance graphs and our traditional monitoring software.
This was certainly an item that came out of the version 1 beta. The metrics that VCops collects is crazy and the analytics behind determining health and workload scores is insane. But the issue with v1 was that i never knew if my VM or host was experiencing a low health score unless I actually logged into the application. This was addressed in v5 with the system now sending out email alerts. Now beware when just simply enabling all alerts, you may end up with an astronomical amount of emails. This is certainly a feature that you will need to tune in order to only receive those alerts you want to act upon. We all know what happens when you start to receive too many alerts…filters get created and alerts end up being ignored. So be sure to fine tune your alerts to meet the needs of your business.
A few years ago i pulled down a trial copy of CapacityIQ and gave it a whirl. Mainly i wanted to check out some of its over and under provisioned VM reports. I thought the reports were great but at the time couldn't justify the cost of the application for what it was providing. Well now I'm happy to see that it has been simply ported into VCops. Honestly its a great fit for this product as now you can gain visibility into not only health and workload, but capacity, utilization, efficiency and risk.
Here is where VCops really shines. I have never seen so much information collected and analyzed be presented in such a simple interface. I've solved issues with our environment using VCops in basically, minutes. I mean, a host is red, click it. It drills down and shows you the VMs. You can see if its just one VM causing the issue or if all VMs are experiencing issues. You can see sibling hosts and VMs. VMs on the same datastore to determine if it might be a storage problem. This is all done within less than a minute from logging in.
Honestly these are only a few of the new features that are included in VCops 5. There is a slew of other features including Chargeback, Configuration Manager, Application Dependencies to name some. For a full list check out the official VCops VMware page here as well as a launch anouncement on the Management Blog here. As well the product is now branded as vCenter Operations Suite now including not just VCops but vCenter Infrastructure Manager as well. I haven't had a whole lot of time to explore everything it has to offer yet but will definitely do an update when I have. For now, go and pull down the trial for yourself