Today VMware releases some of the new vCenter applications announced in January.
The first ones, Data Recovery and vShield Zones, came out with vSphere 4.0 last month.
Today is time for vCenter Chargeback 1.0 and vCenter AppSpeed 1.0.
AppSpeed 1.0 (build 36919) is powered by the technology that VMware acquired in May 2008 from B-hive.
It is able to discover the elements of the virtual infrastructures (physical hosts, virtual machines, clusters, etc.), the applications running inside them, and even some structures inside the applications (like tables inside a database).
Once tracked the applications, AppSpeed sniffs their traffic to understand their “normal” behavior (like the response time, the performance) and build some baselines.
At this point the product compares the baselines with the actual application performance to recognize potential slows down (or lack of availability) that affect the user experience.
The new AppSpeed pricing starts at $1,250 per CPU.
In some ways this approach seems similar to the one that Liquidware Labs/vmSight is taking to understand the user experience in a VDI environment and plan the environment capacity accordingly.
In both cases the self-learning technology is precious for the virtualization administrator, who often has to prove that the hypervisor is not responsible for a performance degradation. When an application doesn’t work as expected the first component to blame is the newest one, the virtualization layer, but AppSpeed tracks the software behavior day by day so there’s some concrete information to investigate.
Like Chargeback 1.0, AppSpeed has huge potentials: combining its capabilities with a change management solution (VMware will release one called vCenter ConfigControl later this year) it may track down which modifications in the virtual infrastructure negatively impact the behavior of one or more virtualized applications.
Anyway the most interesting thing is that AppSpeed is another component that may easily work on physical infrastructures but doesn’t.
virtualization.info already suggested how VMware is slowly turning into an infrastructure management company, getting ready to compete with the big four BMC, CA, IBM and HP.
The company keeps saying that it’s not interested in managing the physical infrastructures, even if it recognizes that a lot customers out there don’t migrate 100% of their systems inside virtual machines and those customers are interested in a solution that manages everything.
At today, the VMware’s answer to those customers is to offer integrated end-to-end solutions mixing together their products with the ones of the big four above.
But the point it that while VMware doesn’t have yet all the pieces needed to become an infrastructure management company, the ones that are in place (like AppSpeed) are purposely limited to the virtual data center. And this is the biggest potential that VMware has today.