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Meet the VMware Go IT Advisor, Your New Best Friend (or Wingman)

By: Andy the Angry IT Guy

Editor’s note: This is the second post from “Andy,” an anonymous IT administrator working for a mid-sized organization located somewhere in the American Midwest. When we last left Andy, he had just deployed VMware Go Pro and was describing its main features – as well as bemoaning his inability to make eye contact with Liz from accounts receivable.

Benjamin Franklin is alleged to have once said, “In this world, nothing can be certain but death and taxes.”

I’d like to add an addendum to that quote: nothing can be certain but death, taxes, and IT admins wearily facing a thankless mob of employees with an endless list of demands on a daily basis—most of which could be nullified if they had simply listened to you the first 30 times you reminded them to install that new software patch!

It’s the constant lament of the IT admin; there are simply not enough hours in the day to keep track of – let alone meet – the list of issues that employees in a given organization face. Like most folks in charge of IT shops for smaller organizations that lack the resources to employ an army of IT admins (I’m looking at you, Fortune 500 companies…), I feel like I’m largely on my own most of the time.

Enter IT Advisor from VMware Go Pro, the closest thing I’ve had to a friend, or better yet, wingman – I’ll elaborate on that shortly – in running my IT infrastructure. IT Advisor is a central feature of VMware Go Pro: it’s an intelligent central management console that proactively provides recommendations that are tailored specifically to my IT environment.

When I deployed VMware Go Pro, IT Advisor ran a comprehensive assessment of both my physical and virtual environments to ensure it fully understood the realities, tendencies, and trends of my IT infrastructure. From there, it’s been able to feed me an extremely useful stream of information that’s suited to my exact situation.

IT Advisor does this by providing tips and tricks to better manage my physical and virtual environments – which is particularly useful for me, as I’m just getting into virtualization in the first place. It also offers recommendations on managing hardware, software devices, patch and security management, and implementing an easy help desk – as well as updates on new product information and patch coverage for Microsoft and other third party software.

What’s more, it can view the average number of missing patches per machine, so that I don’t have to. It’s definitely providing me some serious relief in some of the most tedious tasks I have to handle on a daily basis.

Are you following me here? No?

OK, picture this:

It’s been a long week and you’re out at a bar with your best friend to unwind. Let’s say you catch the eye of a stranger from across the bar, and they motion for you to come over and talk to them. You, fueled by excitement at the prospect of chatting up an attractive stranger, begin to walk towards her when your trusted best friend, who magically seems to know the situation better than you do, puts their hand on your shoulder and offers a few pearls of wisdom before you depart:

“Do you have any idea what you’re going to say to her – or are you just planning to blindly charge into this with no real plan of attack? Did you notice she’s got a Longchamp bag? Of course you didn’t! Maybe she likes shopping. Maybe she got that bag at their flagship store in Paris – which means she must like traveling too! You should tell her about the summer you spent backpacking around Southern Europe…”

Unfortunately, I don’t have that friend. And I’ve never been to Southern Europe – which a real best friend would know in the first place. There’s a reason I don’t go out to bars.

But, as I said, I do have IT Advisor from VMware Go Pro. It’s like the friend in the aforementioned scenario—it understands the situation I’m in, usually better than I do, and it provides proactive recommendations to ensure that I’m doing everything I need to do to thrive in a given environment – virtual or physical.

Before I troubleshoot for a given employee, for instance, it can remind me that they’ve yet to install a needed security patch that I flagged over two weeks ago – which likely would have prevented that malicious Trojan file in the first place.

I won’t go so far as to call IT Advisor a magic bullet – until it’s able to tell Kathy from finance why her laptop won’t turn on (answer: it lacks a hard drive), my headaches will continue. But, it’s an incredibly effective tool for keeping me up to speed on the latest virtualization tips and tricks and automates critical (and tedious) functions like patch management. It really is the ultimate IT wingman.