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How to expand the reach of vRealize Operations Manager

One of the key features behind VMware's monitoring and management offering is its extensibility that allows it to broaden its reach in the data center.

In today's data center where workloads can run on Hyper-V, ESXi or Amazon's EC2 cloud, an administrator needs a management tool that can help survey the virtual landscape and make decisions that keep all systems running smoothly. VMware's vRealize Operations Manager -- formerly vCenter Operations Manager -- is one tool that supports these mixed environments.

As part of its feature set, vRealize Operations Manager has "adapters" and "solutions" that expand the capabilities of vRealize Operations Manager. You will almost always use adapters with solutions.

A solution is basically one or more management packs designed to handle specific monitoring or analysis tasks in the environment. Some solutions are included with vRealize by default. For example, the VMware vSphere solution is included with vRealize Operations Manager to manage the integration with vCenter instances. Many other solutions are available to download from the VMware Solution Exchange or VMware partner. For example, Trend Micro Deep Security is a management pack available from Trend Micro designed to monitor security status and events in the data center. As another example, the Dell EqualLogic management pack from Dell offers storage analytics and monitoring for EqualLogic storage subsystems.

A solution includes a variety of underlying components such as prefabricated alerts, formatted reports, dashboards and various adapters. Adapters typically provide the interface that allows vRealize Operations Manager to communicate and integrate with other products or applications running in the data center. Each solution may contain several adapters, and adapters must be configured once the solution is installed before vRealize can use the solution's analysis and alerting components.

Solutions -- including the underlying components such as adapters -- may be available for free, but some may also incur a fee. For example, management packs like EMC Storage Analytics or HP StoreFront or OneView are paid solutions, while other management packs like EMC ViPR and Brocade SAN Analytics are free. Organizations should include the cost of corresponding solutions into the TCO analysis prior to vRealize deployment.

While vRealize Operations Manager doesn't manage Amazon cloud or Hyper-V deployments out of the box, it can use a number of solutions to incorporate that ability via the appropriate plugins or management packs to the vRealize platform.

Hyper-V is covered through vRealize Hyperic operating system agent plugins which also include NetApp Filer, vCenter Server, vSphere Single Sign-On (SSO) and Microsoft Hyper-V. Application agent plugins include JBoss, Java applications, Microsoft .NET objects, Microsoft Active Directory, Apache Web Server and many other enterprise applications. Amazon cloud instances can be covered by installing the Amazon Web Services management pack available from VMware for free through the VMware Solution Exchange.

Even the most powerful management platforms cannot monitor and control every enterprise system or application. Tools must be highly configurable, capable of self-learning, and extensible through plugins and add-ons. VMware's vRealize Operations Manager offers these attributes, allowing machine learning to determine "normal" behaviors and set thresholds dynamically while accounting for normal downtime which might otherwise skew monitoring behaviors. In addition, the tool can be expanded to monitor a wide range of enterprise-class systems and applications to support complex data center environments.

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