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As the IT industry shifts from on-premises to cloud-based applications, VMware must deliver cloud capabilities to its customers. Its cloud-friendly release of vRealize Operations 8.1 represents a significant step in that direction.
VMware vRealize Operations provides system troubleshooting and performance optimization features to support business applications. The tool identifies underutilized resources or those requiring more capacity and automatically makes changes to keep a data center running smoothly.
Embracing the cloud
VMware has rewritten several of its legacy offerings to tailor them to cloud infrastructures -- most notably with the integration of Kubernetes container management into the vSphere hypervisor management platform. VRealize Operations v8.1 also supports Kubernetes clusters, namespaces and pods.
"The fact that VMware merged its code so it is the same for cloud and on-premises deployments is a capability that interests enterprises," said Torsten Volk, managing research director at Enterprise Management Associates.
Operations staff can use vRealize Operations to manage cloud workloads the same way they manage legacy applications running on VMware virtualization. They can monitor capacity, resource utilization and configuration of either container- or VM-based workloads from the same interface. VRealize Operations can illustrate bottlenecks for pods and clusters via dashboards and reports.
VRealize suite integration
System management requires complex coordination between a series of management tools. VRealize Operations 8.1 exchanges information with other vRealize products, including vRealize Automation, vRealize Log Insight and vRealize Network Insight. This enables VMware admins to monitor performance of essential infrastructure systems. For example, vRealize Operations can automatically discover and onboard both cloud and legacy applications that run on the hypervisor.
As they embrace the cloud, organizations might struggle to contain costs. Cloud prices fluctuate each month depending on the amount of compute resources a business requires. VRealize Operations features two price-tracking capabilities to help businesses avoid overspending:
- VRealize Automation tracks VM expenses in hypervisor configurations
- CloudHealth tracks workloads running on public clouds
"Three or four years ago, when VMware started to move in a new, ambitious direction, it was uncertain whether or not they would succeed in retooling their management suite," Volk said. "They certainly have come a long way since then."
VRealize Operations also integrates with the Slack messaging system to bolster internal communication.
Limitations to vRealize Operations 8.1
In theory, vRealize Operations 8.1's feature set works with all cloud systems, but some functions are only available for select cloud services. For instance, VMware has worked closely with AWS in the past few years. In the new release, VMware operators can integrate performance metrics from AWS. The information comes from AWS APIs to vRealize via NSX-T, the network portion of VMware's software-defined data center architecture. Such functionality is not yet available for other cloud services.
Other technologies offer deeper performance visibility for container and Kubernetes workloads compared to VMware. For example, Prometheus provides many metrics that help companies understand how well their containers perform.