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In the previous post, I provided a general context behind vCenter Operations and the rationale for integrated performance, capacity and configuration management. In this blog post, I will highlight a few  vCenter Operations capabilities, specifically for vSphere administrators, that makes it so unique.

  • vCenter Operations eliminates the need to have a short list of vSphere metrics to monitor (all those “top 20” metrics lists etc.). It tracks all the important metrics and aggregates them into simple, easy-to-understand scores.
  • vCenter Operations has built-in deep vSphere awareness that captures all the virtualization best practices. It defines new derived metrics to track resource allocation optimizations that the hypervisor does (e.g. CPU and memory demand and entitlement) to provide better visibility into the health and performance of resources. 
  • vCenter Operations does not rely on static thresholds, unlike other traditional management tools. The analytics engine continuously learns the behavior of the dynamic environment and adapts to reflect any changes in your environment to adjust the scores accordingly. Also, the analytics engine doesn’t assume IT data has a normal bell-shaped distribution. Instead it uses several sophisticated algorithms to learn what’s “normal” behavior and what’s not.
  • The simple user interface presents entire virtual infrastructure hierarchy in a way you can quickly identify and troubleshoot issues by highlighting resources that are deviating from “normal” behavior. You can switch context to any object in the entire hierarchy – physical and virtual. You can track historical change events for parent, peer as well as child objects. You can also pin-point the KPIs that have been breached and the exact timestamp when the breach happened. Not only does this user interface eliminates using 100s of clicks and browsing multiple screens, it’s very useful to understand the cause and effect relationship when debugging problems e.g. how do you know if a particular VM is a villain or victim in a shared, dynamic environment.
  • vCenter Operations Standard provides web-based access to LOB application owners. LOB application/business owners typically do not have access to vSphere client, and visibility to virtual infrastructure metrics. Often this transparency is a good first step to avoid the “finger pointing” blame games. At the same time, vSphere administrators can continue to access vCenter Operations through the usual vCenter plug-in interface from vSphere client.

I will close out this post with this compiled list of resources to help kick-start your vCenter Operations learning efforts: