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VMware users welcome Integrien acquisition

Users at the VMworld 2010 conference said VMware's acquisition of Integrien, a performance monitoring software company, fills an important gap in VMware's product line.

SAN FRANCISCO -- VMware Inc. filled an important gap in its product line with the acquisition of performance monitoring software maker Integrien Corp. Tuesday, users said.

The acquisition, expected to close this quarter and for an undisclosed sum, was announced during the opening keynote at VMworld. Users were given a brief preview of Integrien's real-time performance analytics dashboard, which VMware vice president of technology development Steve Herrod said would give users a high-level dashboard for monitoring application, virtualization, server, storage and network resources in a data center.

The Integrien dashboard presents a running "heat map" of virtualized workloads and their associated infrastructure, and can perform automated root-cause analysis, bringing forward and correlating relevant statistics on the environment in response to violations of service levels. The Integrien dashboard also color codes and visually diagrams guests running on hosts, and can provide predictive analysis -- for example, that a given server will run out of CPU or memory resources in a few days.

Prior to the show, users had already indicated they prefer third-party tools similar to Integrien's to VMware's native tools, in some instances because third-party tools provided correlation and root-cause analysis that VMware's vCenter didn't.

Before the announcement Tuesday, attendees also said they were looking for better monitoring tools. Philip Schutte, a systems administrator for a global financial services company, said one of the chief problems with managing virtualization is having enough hardware resources to cope with the demand for new virtual machines. "People see how easy it is to provision a VM, but it's difficult to keep track of and manage VMs and ensure you have enough horsepower underneath them."

Integrien is not as well known as some of VMware's other virtualization management partners, and scant details were available at the show about how VMware plans to integrate the software into its existing offerings. But in the abstract, users said they were intrigued by the product and looking to take it for a test drive.

Foundation for IT as a Service
Embracing IT as a service isn't possible without better monitoring and management tools, said Tony Stauffer, a manager of end-user services for an automotive manufacturer in the Midwest. "It's not just providing services but ongoing management of those services -- we struggle with that in IT. I feel like VMware just really stepped up."

Another attendee said he's planning to investigate Integrien as an alternative to Microsoft's System Center Operations Manager, which his shop is currently evaluating for virtual machine management. Damion Sandidge, system engineer for the UCLA Office for Research Information Systems (ORIS), said he's been leery so far of the amount of time SCOM will require to manage. The kind of correlation Integrien promises "is something we have to do by hand with scripts [with SCOM] and it's killing me," he said. "I don't even have time to write all the scripts we need -- and it'll almost take a full body to manage. I'm looking for something more out of the box with direct integration into vCenter."

Ashraf Keval, Windows systems administrator for California's Department of Water Resources, said he's also in the process of evaluating another tool, Quest Software's (formerly Vizioncore's) vFoglight, but is more interested in a product from VMware for monitoring. Keval said a tool integrated with vCenter might be cheaper with his Enterprise license than going with a separate tool.

Ken Antonucci, director of operations for consulting firm A-Z Computers, said he's seen some of his clients' attempts to virtualize or deploy VDI derailed by a lack of network performance monitoring. "There are a lot of tools available out there, but a tool from VMware, being developed on the inside track, is something people tend to trust more," he said.

Check out all of our VMworld 2010 conference coverage here.

Beth Pariseau is a senior news writer for Write to her at

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