VKernel Performance Analyzer Provides Real-Time Analysis Of vCenter

In a move that helps the company better compete with the recently announced VMware vCenter Operations, VKernel has added performance analysis functionality to its VKernel Capacity Management Suite software. VKernel Performance Analyzer provides real-time analysis of system alerts and metrics coming out of vCenter to help determine abnormal trends and their impact, as well as the root cause and a resolution of current problems in the environment.

March 17, 2011

3 Min Read
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In a move that helps the company better compete with the recently announced VMware vCenter Operations, VKernel has added performance analysis functionality to its VKernel Capacity Management Suite software. VKernel Performance Analyzer provides real-time analysis of system alerts and metrics coming out of vCenter to help determine abnormal trends and their impact, as well as the root cause and a resolution of current problems in the environment.

In addition to competing on features, VKernel is also competing with VMware by using a different type of pricing structure that is more attractive to companies that are using virtualization heavily to make a more efficient use of their servers.

"It's nice to see root cause analysis, because that has been one of the tricky things," says Richard Mayer, systems technician for John Wiley & Sons, an Indianapolis, Ind., book publisher that uses the company's existing product. "You start to throw everything in one basket, you end up with a problem that shows itself in different ways, and you can have trouble tracking that down." While he says that VMware's product is "prettier," he adds that the VKernel product has the ability to show the administrator everything behind a problem.

The VKernel product is not intended to replace vCenter but to complement it, says Bryan Semple, chief marketing officer for the Boston-based company. While vCenter does a great job of monitoring, administrators need help in seeing through "alert storms" to figure out which virtual machine is misbehaving and causing problems for all of its neighbors, he says.

The product can also be used to help validate that the problem resolution was correct, to look for performance problems that haven't reached the point of causing alarms, and to let administrators manage their own environments by setting their own trend alarms, says Semple.The difference between VMware's and VKernel's product is that VMware is just getting started in management software and is combining two products: VMware vCenter CapacityIQ and vCenter Operations Standard, says Bernd Harzog, an analyst with The Virtualization Practice. While VMware is going to integrate the products more over time, they currently consist of two consoles and two databases while the VKernel offering is a single product, he says. What VMware should be doing is to spend the next couple of years integrating all its acquisitions into something that's easy to use, he adds.

The software costs $299 per socket, or $659 per suite, which the company uses as a point of comparison to VMware, which is priced at $50 per virtual machine. Because VMware is priced per VM, there is no benefit from a management software standpoint to getting more VMs per host, which makes it easier for VKernel to show a return on investment on its software, Semple says.

"We have very dense hosts," confirms Mayer, whose company has three hosts with six-core processors running a total of more than 200 VMs in them. "I can buy everything that VKernel puts out and still come in under the cost of VMware."

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