In my previous blogs, I talked about our quite a few of our vCenter Operations solutions, whether they be storage, compute, network, enterprise management frameworks or applications.  There is a method to my heterogeneous operational madness.  I was at the VMware Briefing Center recently going over a roadmap presentation and our customer was a bit surprised that vC Operations is now being widely used as an aggregator of data from multiple technology domains.  vCenter Operations is not just a vSphere operational management product.  Being able to ingest operational data from your deployed technologies is critical to getting a bird’s eye view of the operational health, risk and efficiency of hybrid cloud operations.  We recently conducted a customer survey on the top asks for integration and the following chart details the response we received.  The data was sorted by the technology areas that were critically important being at the top.

Domains for Focus

Storage & Compute:   Not surprisingly we see Storage and Compute pretty high up.   We have worked extensively with our Storage and Compute (Converged Infrastructure) partners.   Every major storage vendor is working with our partner program to build the deep visibility into the storage array.  We have observed converged Infrastructure is a significant driver for driving the need for correlation and analytics of physical compute.

Centralized Management Consoles: While we often interact with and pull data from the common (and uncommon) management frameworks, I was a bit surprised how high up on the list this was.   Being the latest wave of analytics based operational management products; we are pragmatic in realizing and integrating with existing “legacy” management frameworks.  Oftentimes our customers have significant multi-year implementation and people, process and technology investments and the path forward toward operational analytics often times is to ingest the data from the legacy tools and then vC Operations would perform the analysis and correlation to drive anomaly detection and the health, risk, and efficiency badges and ultimately provide actionable alerts to ITIL based systems.

Applications – Database:  No surprise here, Databases (in all their vendor flavors) are ubiquitous in the datacenter.  Virtualized or not, databases have anomalies and vC Operations deep analytics can identify the deep issues that cause mystery slowdowns.

Security and Network at all the layers: What comes next after Storage and Converged Infrastructure?   It is the network and security domains.   Managing applications in an Enterprise to an SLA is inexorably tied to knowing enough about the physical and virtual network L2/L3 as well as those higher level services of traffic management, application delivery control, firewalls and security services at L4-L7.  This will be an interesting year for network operational management in vCenter Operations.  This does raise an interesting problem we in product management spend a lot of time discussing:  who uses your product, why do they use it and what is the value to them.   In one mode of thinking the Virtual Infrastructure admin is being pulled into knowing just enough networking to do her job (this VM has performance issues due to XYZ in the network).  The second mode is summarized as the cloud admin needs to know about network and security to have that end to end view as applications are being provisioned.  Finally, the third mode is the network administrator needing deep views into the new areas of virtual networking with a view back towards the vSphere environment.  There is plenty of fertile ground for a new generation of product functionality covering network operational management.  If you have any thoughts on who in your organization will be managing network operations in the cloudy era, please leave a reply below.