If you want to manage and monitor a VMware vSphere environment that is agile and continuously growing there is no way around having a software support.
While there are a bunch of very comprehensive vSphere Operations Manager software is out there - they all come with a high level of complexity. People can argue that complexity means choice. But it also means a lot of training, learning on the job to use the massive functionality and a lot of frustration before the first successes. Especially smaller or midsize IT departments can suffer for a long time before they get value out of these products - we call it time to value.
Furthermore, the initial software costs are typically very high and the ongoing integrations costs are not low at all.
The functionality bias
It is a bit like Microsoft Word: Even if there are 1 million functions integrated, most people need 1% of them. That's the same with Operations Management software. The big question needs to be answered by you: What functionality do you really need and what feature set can you maintain on the long run.
Don't get me wrong, there are situations where you need deep insights and that kind of complexity to do a full blown research. Just to raise some questions to answer before making a decision:
- Is it a steep learning curve or does it take a long time until I can use the software?
- Are the license costs worth the gain - the typical return on invest?
- Can I really replace consultants to save costs solving issues that can justify the costs?
Massive amounts of features and functions always lead to frustration and it takes a long time of learning and customization (mainly to limit the required features to a useful level) to get the benefits out of the expensive software.
Of course, it's impossible to answer these questions in general and for all environments. But we want to share some of the feedback we received and are curious about other opinions.
To us, reduce to the max is key. Why offering thousands of options, when you typically need 20 of them 80% of your time. Our customers agree to that fact and highly appreciate, that they can use Performance Analyzer without a day of training.
Less features and functions, if covering the most important ones (required 80% of your time) guarantee a steep learning curve and instant value. Always add training costs, customization costs and compare the time to value of the products, before making a decision.
George Welsted, a happy customer of us stated:
We really do love Performance Analyzer here. No training needed or integration workshop – download, import, put it on a big screen.
The importance of ease of use
No matter how powerful and deep a software does its job, a human being still needs to be able to understand the results quick and without much training. That might change in the future, when Bots and AI is simplifying data analysis.
But today, we still rely on the visualization and aggregation of data into the little but important junks. Looking at performance data, it doesn´t help to have a heatmap for 2000 systems or hundreds of charts for every performance metric. It´s just to complex and time consuming before we even get to the correct result and can take the required action.
Therefore, less is more. Performance Analyzer is built from scratch to visualize the most important KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) in one dashboard - no matter if you manage 100 or 5000 virtual machines. You can drill down based on the coloring that indicates performance issues to find yourself in the exact place to get the result to take further actions.
Meaningful aggregation of KPIs and drilldown to the most important information for triggered performance bottlenecks, virus spread or storage bandwidth or LUN latency issues convince our customers.
Millie Cruz, another amazing customer of us used Performance Analyzer for 2 weeks:
We were impressed by the flexibility and ease of deployment of the virtual appliance and the nearly instant time to value.
We´re going to continue that series of blog posts soon - in the meantime, just start your free trial of Performance Analyzer