The Virtualization Practice

Virtual Instruments

The award winning VirtualWisdom® platform and services provide visibility into real-time performance, health, and utilization metrics throughout the open systems stack. Virtual Instruments drives improved performance and availability while lowering the total cost of the infrastructure supporting mission critical applications.

Four Tenets of the VI product & services strategy

  • Measure performance in real-time – Capture comprehensive, accurate, and granular metrics ‘on the wire’ at line-rate.
  • Monitor system-wide infrastructure – Provide a system-level solution for increasingly unified compute and storage environments.
  • Drive improved results – Monitoring, Diagnostics, Analytics, and Optimization.
  • Work at enterprise scale – Meet the performance, reliability, and administrative requirements of the largest enterprises.

VirtualWisdom directly measures and monitors the physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructure to provide an unprecedented view into what is happening in real-time. With the VirtualWisdom real-time dashboards and historical trending information, admins can immediately identify and resolve configuration or performance issues. This substantially improves the productivity of the IT team and can save enterprise organizations millions of dollars per year. VirtualWisdom is unique in that it has three different probes to provide a full cross-domain view of the infrastructure. There is the Virtual Server Probe software probe, which collects data from VMWare’s vCenter, the SAN Availability Probe software probe, which collects SNMP performance, error, and utilization data from network switches, and the SAN Performance Probe hardware device, which analyzes the Fibre Channel frames for detailed transaction and latency data. Once a problem is found, as defined by an exceeded performance, error, or utilization threshold, an alert is automatically sent to the customer’s management system or directly to the vendor of the failing or failed device.

As the industry-leading Infrastructure Performance Management solution, the VirtualWisdom® platform is comprised of the VirtualWisdom software and hardware and the SANInsight physical layer access hardware products. The award-winning VirtualWisdom platform provides visibility into real-time performance, health, and utilization metrics throughout the open systems stack. It drives improved performance and availability while lowering the total cost of the infrastructure supporting mission critical applications. VirtualWisdom enables enterprises to monitor, report, trend and diagnose infrastructure performance issues in a vendor agnostic, comprehensive, and non-intrusive way.

The ChallengesVirtualInstruments.Console

IT organizations that manage high levels of complexity in their IT infrastructures require a sophisticated set of capabilities to diagnose and prevent application slowdowns caused by the infrastructure, especially as they migrate from purely physical to virtual and cloud environments. Complexity is driven by the heterogeneity of storage subsystems, host bus adapters (HBAs), operating systems, fabric switches, virtualization platforms, multi-site replication, storage virtualization, and the continued 50% annual growth of data and bandwidth utilization.

VirtualWisdom Benefits

  • For senior IT managers, VirtualWisdom accelerates enterprise transformation by helping guarantee the benefits of reduced capital expenditures, lower operational costs, and improved business agility promised by server virtualization and the migration to a private cloud infrastructure.
  • For infrastructure, SAN storage operations, and server managers, VirtualWisdom enables reduced application response time, outages avoidance, and dramatically improved virtual and physical infrastructure performance and utilization.

What Makes Up the VirtualWisdom Solution?

The VirtualWisdom solution is a combination of software and hardware that optimizes the performance, availability and utilization of your SAN and virtualized infrastructure. It substantially eliminates the risk of deploying I/O-intensive business-critical applications.


VirtualWisdom Solution Components

SAN Availability Probe is a software probe that collects status from SAN switches via SNMP. The software probes collect metrics for each port, and these metrics are generated and reported to the VirtualWisdom Server by each SAN Availability Probe. Each SAN Availability Probe monitors all the ports of a particular fibre-channel switch and collects the metrics for each port, (such as the number of frames and bytes), as well as the key faults for each port, (such as loss of synchronization, link resets, link failures, packet discards, and CRC errors)
 Virtual Server Probe is a software probe that collects status from VMware servers via VMware’s vCenter Server. It collects data on and calculates 100+ different metrics including CPU, utilization and status, memory utilization, disk I/O requests and capacity, network requests, and overall utilization, allowing for end-to-end performance analysis from virtual machines to the LUNs. It enables VMware administrators to get a comprehensive view of both the performance and utilization of the virtual servers, and when combined with other VirtualWisdom probes, the entire I/O subsystem.
 SAN Performance Probe analyzes every frame header on a fibre channel SAN at line rates of up to 8 Gbits per second. The SAN Performance Probe detects application performance slowdowns and transmission errors by measuring every SCSI I/O transaction from start to finish, for every server/volume combination (initiator/ target/ LUN). It is the only true real-time SAN performance monitoring device in the industry and is essential for proactive SAN monitoring so that IT managers can avoid unplanned downtime
 VirtualWisdom Server software resides on a Windows server platform, controlling and collecting metrics from Virtual Instruments hardware and software probes. It manages the database of metrics, handles integration with third party products via SNMP traps, and handles alerting. The VirtualWisdom Server co-resides with the Virtual Server Probe and the SAN Availability Probe software software on the same physical server.  Two important parts of the VirtualWisdom Server are the VirtualWisdom Dashboard and the VirtualWisdom Views reporting capability.
 VirtualWisdom Dashboard software is a real-time summary display that provides a customized overview of your virtual and physical infrastructure performance and transmission faults.  It relies on the metrics collected from the three types of probes.  The easy-to-use dashboard displays the activity between VMs, servers, storage network, and storage arrays, including measurements for percent utilization, reads, writes, events, and alarms, as well as signal and error status on the probe channels.  VirtualWisdom Views software is an extremely flexible, powerful, and easy to use report writer that allows users to access the VirtualWisdom SAN metrics and alerts from their workstations in the form of reports, graphs, and tables, in real-time or by historical trends.

SANInsight Hardware

The VirtualWisdom instrumentation, measurement, and analysis solution is designed to provide an unprecedented level of visibility into complex, heterogeneous virtual infrastructures deployed with Fibre Channel SANs. System and storage administrators can implement all or some of the SANInsight hardware components to achieve the appropriate breadth and depth of monitoring and analysis that meet their needs. To provide complete real-time path monitoring and analysis across your virtual infrastructure and multiple SAN tiers, instrumentation is essential. VirtualWisdom makes use of instrumentation hardware and SANInsight Traffic Access Points (TAPs) devices, to measure and record all transactions crossing the SAN. The VirtualWisdom Server software collects, aggregates and correlates all of the physical-layer and operational data.

The TAP Patch Panel System (TPPS) provide a passive, fail-safe access point to Fibre-Channel network traffic on a SAN for failure analysis, problem diagnosis, and performance monitoring. TAPs operate “out-of-band” by transparently diverting some of the signal through the TAP to another port, which provides a copy of the Fibre Channel frame headers. The agent-less TAP has no impact on application or SAN performance and is integrated with a Fibre Channel Patch Panel for simple deployment.
The Rover physical layer switch extends the monitoring reach of each SAN Performance Probe to groups of SAN links. SAN Performance Probes and protocol analyzers can be attached to Rover physical layer switches and access any of the connected SAN links. Rovers provide a way to deploy a tiered monitoring architecture to lower the cost of monitoring and extend the investment in VirtualWisdom.

Virtual Instruments makes it easy to deploy VirtualWisdom performance monitoring solutions by offering a range of options to suit different physical, budget, timing, and staffing needs. VirtualWisdom can be deployed as a product, offering continuous infrastructure optimization, or as a pure service, offering many of the same benefits, but offloading the customer IT staff and freeing up the capital budget for other projects.

Comprehensive real-time infrastructure monitoring

FEATURES: Monitoring with TAPs, hardware and software probes, plus deployment services
ADVANTAGES: Continuous optimization of performance, utilization, and availability for mission critical applications and infrastructure. True proactive monitoring from the VM to the LUN.

Cost-optimized real-time infrastructure monitoring

FEATURES: Monitoring with TAPS, Rovers, hardware and software probes, plus deployment services. Rovers are included to share probe ports and multiplex between Tapped switch or storage ports.
ADVANTAGES: Reduces the total cost of full-time SAN optimization with nearly the full value of implementing real-time monitoring of every SAN port. Deploying Rovers will change sampling ratios to between 2:1 or as high as 16:1.

 Infrastructure health monitoring (Software-only)

 FEATURES: Monitoring with the SAN Availability Probe and deployment services
 ADVANTAGES: Full-time SAN health monitoring helps avoid potential SAN problems and drastically speeds problem resolution.

VMware monitoring (Software-only)

 FEATURES: VMware monitoring with the Virtual Server Probe and deployment services. Can be added to the SAN monitoring solutions or offered standalone
 ADVANTAGES: Generally combined with one or both of the SAN monitors, enables full-time I/O analysis from the VM to the LUN, to help de-risk moving mission critical applications to virtual environments

Tapping the physical infrastructure

 FEATURES: Involves only installing TAPs as the 1st step to accelerating problem resolution. Typically, TAPs are deployed simultaneously with all new storage and SAN switch installations and upgrades.
 ADVANTAGES: By installing TAPs when new SAN and storage infrastructure is deployed, you are ensured that your infrastructure will not be disturbed when advanced troubleshooting is required.


 SOS-4-IPM Emergency Troubleshooting

 FEATURES: Designed for enterprises running mission-critical applications who are struggling with immediate SAN performance or availability issues.
 ADVANTAGES: Delivers the full troubleshooting capabilities of the VirtualWisdom product solution, combined with the extensive hands-on experience of Virtual Instruments SAN experts.

 Infrastructure HealthCheck and Scan

 FEATURES: A proactive health assessment. Utilizes the full complement of VirtualWisdom SAN optimization products and services on a short-term consulting basis.
 ADVANTAGES: Assures the health of key SAN infrastructure components and identifies potential problem areas before they impact the business. Offloads the customer’s IT staff, freeing the  use of CAPEX for other projects.

Virtual Infrastructure HealthCheck and Scan

FEATURES: A proactive health assessment. Utilizes the full complement of VirtualWisdom SAN and Virtual Server optimization products and services on a short-term consulting basis. Expands on the SAN HealthCheck and Scan Service to extend I/O tracking to the virtual host
ADVANTAGES: Assures the health of key SAN and VMware infrastructure components and identifies potential problem areas before they impact the business. Offloads the customer’s IT staff, freeing the  use of CAPEX for other projects.

The Leading Infrastructure Performance Management Platform

VirtualWisdom is an Infrastructure Performance Management platform. There are certain capabilities that define infrastructure performance management, among them the ability to look not just at utilization and health but the ability to look at those and correlate them to performance, true performance in real time. Subsequently, it also requires the ability to not just look at the device layer but look at the systems layer and not just drive systems layer health, but drive systems level optimization. You must have the ability to correlate utilization and health with performance and the ability to optimize not at the device layer but at the system’s layer.

The Enterprise Systems Management market is well established, but is very much a device specific and utilization-bound view of the infrastructure. It doesn’t reach into performance and there’s no ability to correlate across the system. The application performance management space stretches into the performance quadrant, and understands performance from the server to the end user, but has no visibility into the infrastructure and therefore no ability to look at the systems level and systems level optimization. Network performance management tools are very specific to the IP network and TCP IP communications which is very much less relevant to the supporting enterprise class infrastructure that applications rely on for day-to-day operation. Finally, there is the SRM or Storage Resource Management space that very device specific or offers a device level view into utilization but has no view in to performance and no ability to optimize across the system.

An infrastructure performance management solution like VirtualWisdom, looks not just at utilization and health but also performance and is able to look across the device throughout to the entire systems layer.

Nearly everyone is beginning to talk about how they fit into the infrastructure performance management space, but the reality is that no one else actually has a view into true systems level performance across multiple layers in that stack. In fact, the only company today who can do it, and therefore the leader today in infrastructure performance management is Virtual Instruments

Committed to Your Success

Virtual Instruments offers comprehensive support and professional services to keep our products and your infrastructure continuously available with maximum performance. We offer online, remote or on-site problem resolution and optimization services, including customized training.

The Virtual Instruments team of SAN and virtual infrastructure optimization experts are dedicated and committed to your success. Virtual Instruments provides a set of core support and deployment services that enable you to maximize the benefits of the VirtualWisdom® solution. In parallel with our partners, we also offer a range of services to assist our customers in realizing the benefits of VirtualWisdom in your IT life cycle.

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