Veeam readies capacity planning for virtualization management battle

Experts say the release of VMware vCenter Operations means the race is on in the virtualization management market to deliver the most comprehensive products at the best price.

Veeam Software Inc. is brushing up the capacity management features in its Veeam One suite, as competition in the virtualization management space heats up.

The new capacity planning module will slot into Veeam Reporter, which makes up the Veeam One suite along with Veeam Monitor and Veeam Business View. The company also plans to fold Veeam Reporter and Veeam Monitor into one product down the road, said Ratmir Timashev, Veeam president and CEO.

Veeam Reporter had some capacity planning capabilities prior to the addition of the Advanced Capacity Planning module. It was able to predict when user-specified capacity thresholds would be met and perform simple “what-if” scenarios for the existing infrastructure, including predictive analysis of virtual machine (VM) failures or additions of hosts or VMs to the environment.

Now, the capacity planning module will offer the ability to perform custom “what-if” analysis on hosts and VMs that may not actually exist yet in the infrastructure. It will also be able to report on over-provisioned storage capacity and provide predictive analysis on host as well as VM failure.

Integrating virtualization management features alongside backup and replication gave Veeam a leg up over its main competition, Quest’s vFoglight products (formerly Vizioncore), said one Veeam user, Kevin Stephens, an infrastructure specialist for the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, based in Columbus.

“[VFoglight] had more user-friendly graphical [interface elements], but Veeam gave us the best return on what we wanted for our virtual environment -- the reporting and the backup, and everything integrated together,” Stephens said. “You can report on the backup jobs Veeam does…which is very helpful when looking to correlate an issue.”

Stephens said he hasn’t gotten the chance to kick the tires on the new capacity planning module, but says he also appreciates that it’s being delivered in modular form.

“With the way Veeam has chosen to deploy new feature packs and products, it’s not a teardown and a reinstall and rebuild. They provide packs that you just import in…that was one of the things we wanted for scalability,” he said.

Stephens still has some wish list items for Veeam One, including continued improvements to the graphical user interface.

“There’s a couple of features I would like to see, where I could instantaneously start to get report data off an item visually [on mouseover] instead of through a wizard,” he said. “There’s a lot of little features that could definitely help as far as the way the dashboard and report views are actually generated.”

Virtualization management competition could mean better prices
According to Timashev, the company is positioning the Veeam One suite against another player in the virtualization management space, VKernel’s Capacity Management Suite, and will also bump up against VMware’s own recently announced vCenter Operations, which combines capacity planning, performance monitoring and configuration management along with event correlation engines for automated root-cause analysis and remediation.

For its part, VKernel also announced the addition of performance monitoring for storage I/O in virtual environments in January, which Bernd Harzog, an analyst at The Virtualization Practice, doesn’t see as coincidence. According to Harzog, vCenter Operations established a “thesis” that performance management, capacity management and configuration management belong together, prompting other virtualization management players to round out their offerings.

“All of the ecosystem that is focused upon those elements has been working very hard to come up with cleaner, competitive, easier to use and less expensive alternatives to vCenter Operations,” he said.

VKernel isn’t the most widely deployed virtualization management product on the market, at 600 customers according to its website, but Timashev acknowledged VKernel had established “mind share” in the market for capacity planning.

“We believe other things are more important like good monitoring, reporting and solutions for [addressing] VM sprawl…but customers are asking us for these features,” Timashev said.

As for vCenter Operations, Veeam is treading more carefully in its public statements, as it is also a VMware partner, but Timashev said Veeam intends to compete on price with vCenter Operations’ Advanced and Enterprise editions, which offer capacity planning as well as reporting, monitoring, forecasting and integration with third-party data center management tools.

Veeam’s software is priced at $550 per socket, while VMware’s vCenter Operations Standard edition starts at $50 per VM. The price rises to $130 per VM for the Advanced edition, and starts at $500 per VM for the Enterprise edition.

With smaller players such as Veeam and VKernel, according to Harzog, “We’re looking at [vendors] that are looking to compete with vCenter Operations Advanced at a price that’s basically half that. That’s what’s going on here; it’s very simple.”

Beth Pariseau is a senior news writer for SearchServerVirtualization.com. Write to her at bpariseau@techtarget.com.

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