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Get Smart About Monitoring Virtual Machines

Netuitive has released Netuitive SI for VMware, a piece of management software aimed at balancing resource performance across virtual machines running on a single server.

The software comes at an important time in the evolution of virtualization software; while several products that enable multiple pieces of software to run on one physical machine exist, there aren't enough products in the market to manage them.

Enter Netuitive SI.

While vendors have sold traditional load balancers for years to help server products, Netuitive says most of them are static and don't handle changes in load very well.

"Virtually every performance management tool requires you to know key performance indicators. Then you have to figure out the average of your system and set a static threshold against that. Trying to do that against a dynamic model that's constantly changing is very difficult if not impossible," Daniel Heimlich, vice president of Netuitive, told internetnews.com

Netuitive SI for VMware handles that by taking performance information from the Service Analyzer, which Netuitive created to cross-correlate the components in an infrastructure with the user experience, and optimizing and managing virtualized environments in real time.

SI monitors the ESX servers, guest virtual machines and applications to learn normal behavior for each virtual machine and its relation to other components. The software then identifies any components behaving outside of normal parameters.

The software understands the performance of each system element and cross-correlates all of the components together to learn their interdependencies.

The Netuitive software works with all of the major existing infrastructure monitoring software, such as CA Unicenter, HP OpenView, and Tivoli.

Netuitive created SI for another key reason: establishing trust between the technology manager and his virtual machines.

Heimlich cited a Gartner report where 27 percent of IT execs said they had zero confidence in their performance management tools, and that's in the less-demanding, non-virtualized world.

"If you can't trust them now, how can you trust them in an environment that's much more variable, much more dependent?" he asked.

One of the reasons for the lack of faith in management tools is the high rate of false alerts. Netuitive said its own surveys found companies dealing with hundreds and even thousands of false alerts daily.

The company attributed this to the fact that most sensors in monitoring software aren't very smart. One customer went from 3,000 alerts a day to 12 alarms in a week with the Netuitive software, said Heimlich.

George Hamilton, research director in enterprise infrastructure at The Yankee Group, told internetnews.com that Netuitive does have some unique tools that will be of use in a virtualized world.

"In a model where everything is dynamic, just trying to monitor infrastructure isn't going to work. There are a lot of things that can fail," Hamilton said.

"The bottom line is, Netuitive has a really good understanding to the nature of those machines. It integrates with systems management tools to understands the nature of physical machines and resources, so that lets you optimize both the physical and the virtual."

Netuitive SI for VMware will be available on April 2 for $5,000 per host server and $200 per virtual machine.



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