Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Proactive Monitoring Tools

As I meander down the hall to my health care provider for an ultrasound, I think of the severe flu I suffered from two weeks ago. I was at home with a high fever, chills, fatigue, and coughing. At one point, my oblique muscles were very tender from all the coughing, I sneezed particularly hard and my muscles had a spasm. I stood up, light-headed, and then blacked out; my wife told me it was time to go to the doctors.

My doctor gave me a quick diagnosis, he told me that coughing, sneezing or laughing can sometimes place a sudden strain on the autonomic nervous system, which can cause you to faint. He was pretty sure that it was a combination of my severe flu, muscle spasm, and the strain from the sneeze that caused my blackout. But, to be safe, my doctor scheduled an ultrasound and some blood work. He specifically wanted to rule out the possibility of kidney stones, since the pain was in the vicinity of my kidneys. Outside of the seasonal flu, on the surface I seemed healthy, but with technology he could gain greater perspective of any underlying issues.

As I lay on the ultrasound table, they checked my liver, kidneys, stomach, and a few other internal organs. They used the technology to proactively look for any issues that may cause a problem down the road. My doctor was interested in preventative health care, taking measures for disease prevention, as opposed to waiting until it becomes a major health incident and it is a disease treatment. 

vRealize Operations Manager is the ultrasound of your datacenter. Without proactive monitoring tools, we can only analyze what is on the surface, which means we typically respond to IT system issues only after there is a major incident. When we have vRealize Operations Manager, it gives us a set of tools that helps us analyze the health, risk, and efficiency of our environment.

We gain greater insight into the infrastructure components that support our business applications. Using the vRealize Operations Analysis dashboard, I can immediately see if there are issues in the Workload, if there are system Faults, or if there is Stress in the environment. 

Is capacity an issue now or down the road? And what is the bottleneck that needs to be addressed to ensure there are no issues in the near future?

This is preventative health care for your infrastructure, your IT professionals become the doctors with the tools available to proactively diagnose issues that could plague your infrastructure. Instead of screening for common diseases like hypertension, depression, high cholesterol, and kidney stones; they are looking at CPU demand, memory demand, disk I/O, and network latency.

Preventative activities, for example, right-sizing virtual machines and understanding resource growth trends, become a part of day-to-day operations for infrastructure well-being. IT System Engineers will appreciate the opportunity spend more time at home with their families and working on strategic initiatives, instead of being on the phone at 11:38 pm on a Friday night working on a critical server issue that is impacting a production business application that could have been prevented a week ago.

Recently I wrote a couple of white-papers for the VMware TAM Blog site, they include Right-Sizing Best Practices and vRealize Operations Guide 5.8. Hopefully they can help you down the road of preventative medicine.
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