We’re coming to the end of the NFL Playoffs. When I wrote the first draft of this post, there were four teams remaining with a chance to make the Super Bowl in Santa Clara, CA. After yesterday’s action, it’s down to two (being a huge Patriots fan this is difficult to swallow). There is a very good reason why the Patriots, Broncos, Cardinals and Panthers were still remaining heading into yesterday’s conference finals games. They built teams with solid defenses and offenses, created the perfect schemes to run, pass, and defend, and drafted or brought in the perfect player to fulfill their schemes. These winners did their research. They diagnosed and found out what their needs were and rectified, fixed and solved the issues that may have prevented them from being successful. Teams like the Browns, 49ers, or Chargers did not. Sorry if you’re a fan of one of those teams, but, the reality is, based on their records, these teams likely didn’t make the correct investments to ensure long term success and obtain a return on their investments. They didn’t implement a system to help them understand where their shortfalls were, allowing them to correct them. They made investments on the wrong players (hello Johnny Manziel) and now they are stuck with an underachieving asset.
Does this remind you of your virtualization infrastructure at all? Do you have the tools to find out how your investments are running? If not, it would be a great idea to run a free VMware vSphere Optimization Assessment (VOA) to get a better understanding.
VMware vSphere Optimization Assessment (VOA)
VMware vSphere Optimization Assessment (VOA) is a tool that can be downloaded that essentially allows you to install vRealize Operations to monitor your vSphere Hosts. It runs on your environment for a month or so and is different from a trial because it documents how your virtualized environment is running. It will let you know if you’re over-provisioned and provide capacity planning. It’s proactive in identifying issues and will even help fix them. At the end of the assessment, it will provide a detailed report of your environment and help you identify any potential weaknesses in your infrastructure. If you download the tool from GreenPages we will review the report with you and if additional software and licenses are required, we will work with you on the logistics. Yeah, ok there’s the rub, we’d like you to purchase more licenses, if necessary; however we’d also inform you if you’re oversaturated with licenses and prevent you from over purchasing licenses you don’t require.
It’s always a good idea to step back and assess where you’re at when you’ve invested a lot of money and resources over the years in an area of your IT environment. When reviewing monitoring and management toolsets with a broad stroke, it’s easy to say they’re nice to have but not absolutely necessary. Yet if you dive deeper, there are many features and functions that make the investment worthwhile in the long-term growth and planning of your virtualization environment.
What the VOA can help identify
vRealize Operations enables IT to not just see immediate issues but also potential future problems which can have a dramatic impact on reducing unplanned outages. With Predictive Analytics and Smart Alerts, it proactively identifies and remedies system issues, while dynamic thresholds automatically adapt to environments to provide fewer and more specific alerts resulting in a 30% decrease in time to diagnose and resolve performance issues. That’s three hours of your day you get back allowing you to work on improving and emerging your environment rather than troubleshooting constant alert noises and notifications.
The old saying, it’s better to be safe than sorry, speaks volumes in a virtual environment and especially in over-provisioning. Research has shown that 9 out of 10 virtual machines are over-provisioned. While this may not seem like a bad thing on the surface, it leads to diminishing efficiency and optimization within the virtual infrastructure and, more importantly, increased infrastructure costs. Having the ability to manage your VMs more closely and effectively with vRealize Operations (vCOPS), allows you to be able to finely tune each VM, allocating the resources that are really necessary and as a result save in potential hardware costs. This solution provides a holistic overview of your virtualized environment and provides deep insight into the health of your infrastructure which would otherwise be invisible.
Capacity planning is another key feature of the vRealize Operations toolset allowing you to model future resource needs and alert on constraints before those constraints result in unexpected system downtime.
As I said, I wrote the first draft of this post before yesterday's games. The example I had in here originally involved the Patriot's Malcom Butler. Well guess what? I'm keeping it in. Malcom Butler was an unknown defensive back out of University of West Alabama. He was an undrafted free agent that the Patriots signed in 2014. Butler went on to make the game saving interception against the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX allowing the Patriots to win their fourth Super Bowl title. It wasn’t sheer luck that the Patriots signed Malcom Butler. A lot of scouting helped identify key traits that he had that perhaps other teams missed. Once on the team, solid coaching and hard work allowed Butler to exceed. Due to this, the Patriots had the utmost confidence to put him in during the most crucial defensive play of the season. The Patriots could have easily drafted a much more touted defensive back from a larger school, but they didn’t want to assume a more recognized player would do the job. They made an investment and didn’t assume the easier model of managing their draft was a better model. They implemented a system to strategically provide them a better resolution and a stronger outcome and the reward for that was a Super Bowl.
The VOA is no cost tool and a no-brainer investment. The long term results of implementing such a tool could be very rewarding for your environment.
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By Rob O'Shaughnessy, Director of Software Sales & Renewals