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VFoglight Storage 2.0 marries server and storage monitoring

Dell's newly acquired vFoglight Storage 2.0 software brings storage monitoring and server performance management into one application.

VKernel, which became part of Dell last month, this week rolled out its vFoglight Storage 2.0 software, which gives storage and server teams a common performance monitoring and management tool.

The new version of vFoglight Storage combines vFoglight's storage monitoring software with technology from vKernel's vOperations (vOPS) Server Enterprise performance monitoring, configuration and automation suite.

The marriage of the two products is the result of multiple acquisitions. The storage monitoring comes from Monosphere, which Quest Software acquired in 2009. Quest also acquired vKernel and its vOPS product last November, and Dell closed its $2.4 billion acquisition of Quest Sept. 28.

Server and storage admins often use different tools for monitoring application performance. Storage tools focus on fabrics and arrays but not servers, and server teams have no visibility into the storage arrays.

Alex Rosemblat, vKernel product marketing manager, said vFoglight Storage 2.0 shows performance data for storage and servers.

"We have all this server metrics and performance data available, and vFoglight Storage opens up all visibility into the storage infrastructure," he said. "We can marry the two together for application to storage infrastructure performance management."

Bernd Harzog, a virtualization and capacity management analyst for The Virtualization Practice, said virtualization has created a need for common monitoring of servers and storage.

"It turns out that when virtualized infrastructure does not perform well, nine times out of 10 it's something having to do with storage that's the problem," he said. "Understanding how storage latency is affecting the performance of a virtualized environment is a critical issue."

Harzog said operations management products, such as VMware's vCenter Operations, try to measure system performance by monitoring resource usage. "The old way of measuring performance by looking at resource utilization doesn't work in virtualized environments," he said. "It's too abstract, too shared; it's too dynamic."

Harzog said the ability to monitor and manage virtual environments fills a big need in the data center. "VMware has over 400,000 customers, and less than 10% of them have a product like this in place," he said. "So there is a large, untapped market."

Rosemblat said vKernel's differentiator from competitors such as ExtraHop Networks Inc., Riverbed Technologies Inc., Virtual Instruments and Xangati Inc., is its ability to do the performance analytics, provide expert advice when issues are discovered, and automate the fixes.

VFoglight Storage is designed for organizations with as few as 50 virtual machines. "It's kind of a tipping point that we've seen with our customers where they lose the intimacy with the environment and they forget what changes they've made on which days, and everything starts to go a little bit crazy," Rosemblat said.

VKernel also announced it added support for EMC's VNX storage arrays and, unsurprisingly, Dell's Compellent storage products.

VFoglight Storage 2.0 is available for download or through a vKernel channel partner. Pricing starts at $499 per socket.

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