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VMware Simplifies, Automates Virtual/Cloud Management

VMware is expanding its management portfolio with vCenter Operations Management Suite by integrating with VMware vCenter Capacity IQ and VMware vCenter Configuration Manager for improved performance, capacity and configuration management. VMware revamped its virtualization management suite last October, adding the VMware vFabric Application Management and VMware IT Business Management tools. The new enhancements focus on embedding and integrating management tools into the platform, streamlining processes and applying analytics so customers can achieve better economics with their cloud computing deployments.

With VMware virtualization becoming increasingly pervasive within enterprise data centers, vCenter Operations Management Suite provides customers with detailed views into their infrastructures while also providing standardized methodologies for more effectively managing virtualized systems, says Charles King, principal analyst Pund-IT. He notes there are two main elements to the product's value proposition.

"First, having a single, unified management solution offers enterprises the chance of gaining significant cost and labor efficiencies in data center operations," King says. "In addition, as companies shift IT operations more and more toward cloud computing methodologies, having a single, virtualization/cloud centric management platform for all their x86 systems will become even more attractive."

VMware is also driving intelligence into the virtualization environment and driving further efficiency with vCenter Operations Management Suite, says Mark Bowker, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. Although VMware's value proposition to customers has primarily been focused on reduction of capex, vCenter Operations Management Suite is focused on improving operational efficiency and streamlined opex, he adds.

"Enterprises that have mature server virtualization deployments that include workloads beyond basic IT services require more management functionality to reliably deliver applications and efficiently utilize the underlying IT infrastructure," Bowker says. "At small scale, low consolidation and less critical workloads, the standard vCenter management console offers most of the features and functionality an administrator requires. As IT rapidly scales virtualized environments, drastically increases consolidation ratios and focuses its efforts on the next tier of applications, they need improved visibility, reporting and analytics that ultimately are geared toward driving automation into IT processes. vCenter Ops is focused on exactly this."

According to VMware, the integration between the different products will aid customers in identifying emerging problems, right-sizing infrastructure resources, and identifying and remediating performance issues that are caused by changes in configuration. VMware is not alone in adding performance management features into its management platforms. Microsoft's new System Center 2012 includes a rich set of tools for monitoring application performance and troubleshooting performance issues.

Additionally, VMware's management suite is equipped with a dashboard that's new to the management products portfolio. The dashboard provides greater depth into the health, risk and efficiency of cloud infrastructure. Smart alerts were included so IT administrators will receive notifications of emerging health, performance and capacity issues so they can be more proactive in the remediation of problems. Also included is automated root cause analysis for the identification of offending metrics across all layers of the infrastructure.

For applications management, VMware has included application awareness features that automatically discover and map the relationships and dependencies between applications and infrastructure components. These features are intended to help customers optimize infrastructure operations based on the individual application's requirements.

The updated VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite is available in four editions to address SMB to large enterprise requirements, with list prices starting at $50 per VM. Updates are also available as a free upgrade for current VMware vCenter Operations customers.

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