Bryan Semple, VKernel CMO, spent some time with me last week reviewing some of the new features and improvements in their Capacity Management Suite (CMS). According to Bryan, there are three improvements users should hear about in the new release. These are:
We’ll review the improvements in these areas in more detail below
Here’s a shot of the dashboard:
Figure 1: CMS 2.0 Dashboard
The VKernel CMS is composed of four components that can be mixed and matched. Together these form the entire suite. If you’re not already familiar with the various components please visit the VKernel site and take a look at the full feature list, as I’m just highlighting some of the new functionality. These components are listed below with some of the recent improvements:
- Capacity Analyzer 5.0: Nuanced analysis allows fine tuning of what resources are reported on and which systems to exclude
- Optimization Pack 2.0: Automation and scheduling enable fine grained and extensive reclamation and recovery activities
- Chargeback 2.0: Report on allocated or utilized resources for VMs
- Inventory 1.0: Inventory, index, filter, document, annotate the environment and configuration
One of the additional improvements we discussed was streamlined installation. This comes from the fact that the entire suite is now integrated into a single VM with licensing activating the various modules. This helps improve the performance, scalability, and manageability of the product by reducing the footprint and inter-component communication necessary.
VKernel has also been working hard to improve the UI. When dealing with 100s or 1000s of VMs the quality of the UI has a huge impact on the utility of the product. From what I’ve seen, the new interface reduces time and clicks when reviewing and optimizing your environment using VKernel’s custom groups. When this is coupled with the ability to exclude vms, hosts, clusters, and run analyses only over custom time ranges it provides a new level of accuracy in reporting.
One great example of this is that most VMware admins have a test cluster or a dev environment (or both if you’re lucky). We don’t want those older GHz which are frequently idle to count against us for production machines when reporting to the CIO. With the VKernel suite it is a simple matter to exclude these systems from the analysis and reports.
All together, these improvements add up to an increased ability to monitor the resource utilization as you wish to see it while concurrently capturing configuration data. This is important as you have correlated historical configuration data to review as you tune your environment. This can be a real lifesaver should you need to back out config changes in your environment at a future date.
Finally, the real killer feature here is the fine grained control and scheduling ability to recover and reclaim wasted resources. This really leads to a more self-tuning environment where the automation delivers actual ROI by providing more available resources for more VMs or enhanced capacity for existing systems.