Vizioncore was one of the early entrants in the business of monitoring resources for VMware back when the company was independent and the name of the product was esxCharter. Quest Software subsequently acquired Vizioncore, and since the acquisition has focused upon taking components of it Foglight infrastructure and application monitoring suite and targeted them at the VMware market through the vFoglight product which is marketed by VizionCore. Since Vizioncore has the extremely rich set of enterprise infrastructure and application monitoring assets to pull from, Vizioncore is well positioned to deliver a very capable solution focused upon monitoring availability, resource utilization and capacity for the virtualization market.

The challenge for Vizioncore has been that the baseline Foglight set of products are built for a different audience than a VMware administration team. The base Foglight products are really built for the team that supports complex multi-tier applications in production – a team that has entirely different requirements than the team that supports a virtualization environment like VMware in production. The goods news is that with vFoglight 6, Vizioncore has succeeded in delivering a user interface on top of the underlying Foglight monitoring technology that makes vFoglight into an extremely capable yet extremely easy to use enterprise class monitoring solution for VMware ESX 3.x and vSphere.

With this release, vFoglight is focused upon the following core capabilities:

  • Detecting, diagnosing and resolving problems through performance monitoring
  • Predicting when limits in CPU, memory, network and disk storage limits will be hit through capacity planning
  • Associating costs with the use of the infrastructure through chargeback
  • Connecting business SLA’s to the infrastructure through service management

This focus is combined with a true enterprise scale. vFoglight 6 easily handles multiple Virtual Centers, large numbers of resource pools, and an environment that is mixed between VMware ESX 3.x and VMware vSphere (with Hyper-V support to be added early next year).  Furthermore, it is possible to install the full Foglight components into a vFoglight environment if for example response time monitoring or deep diagnostics of a J2EE or .Net application is needed.

Top Level Dashboard

Once of the nicest aspects of vFoglight is how the summary status of potentially a very large environment is summarized in the high level dashboard for the product. The status of many Virtual Centers, Datacenters, Clusters, Resource Pools, Hosts, Datastores and Virtual Machines is quickly and easily ascertained with a glance at this dashboard.

dashboard

Drilling down into one of the items across the top of the row (like the datastores shown below) quickly provides a summary of the top items in this group that require attention. In the case of datastores this includes stores that are running out of space, and stores that are very underutilized (any may represent a waste of money).

datastores

Drilling into a Virtual Machine summary quickly shows which VM’s are the top consumers of CPU, memory, network and disk resources.

VM

Summary Analysis

This was just a quick preview of what is a very feature rich and comprehensive product. The implications of this product for enterprises with significant VMware environments in production are:

  1. vFoglight 6 bundles monitoring, capacity management, chargeback and service level management into one suite. This may be an attractive option compared to choosing point products that address these needs, as all of these capabilities share one database, and leverage each other so that additions to the environment are quickly populated through all of the sections of the tool.
  2. vFoglight 6 supports both VMware ESX 3.x and vSphere. This may make vFoglight into an attractive alternative to VMware Capacity IQ which has just shipped and does not support vSphere yet.
  3. The other market leader in the resource and availability management space, Veeam, has a completely different strategy than Vizioncore. The Veeam nworks for Microsoft Operations Manager and nworks for HP Operations Manager are a set of plug-ins to these products that allow the management of the VMware environment from within those existing enterprise management products. The advantage of the Veeam approach is that for enterprises who already have these tools, a new management framework and set of consoles does not have to be learned and maintained. However the advantage of the Vizioncore approach is that a decided enterprise capable solution that is focused upon VMware (with support for Hyper-V coming) is provided in one virtualization focused solution.
  4. While vFoglight 6 does do a good job with CPU, memory, network and disk resources, the understanding of the storage layer is not nearly as mature and as deep as is the case with the Akorri BalancePoint solution. The focus of solutions like Akorri and Virtual Instruments upon Infrastructure Performance Management puts these solutions into a different category from products like vFoglight that focus upon the quantity of resources that are used.
  5. Similary, vFoglight is not an Applications Performance Management solution like BlueStripe or OPNET, nor is it a Transaction Performance Management solution like those from dynaTrace and Optier.

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Bernd Harzog (326 Posts)

Bernd Harzog is the Analyst at The Virtualization Practice for Performance and Capacity Management and IT as a Service (Private Cloud).

Bernd is also the CEO and founder of APM Experts a company that provides strategic marketing services to vendors in the virtualization performance management, and application performance management markets.

Prior to these two companies, Bernd was the CEO of RTO Software, the VP Products at Netuitive, a General Manager at Xcellenet, and Research Director for Systems Software at Gartner Group. Bernd has an MBA in Marketing from the University of Chicago.

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