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How to Use Microsoft System Center & Veeam MP for vSphere to Improve Performance Management

Servers, Storage and Networking | Posted on March 25, 2014 by David Davis

To manage a dynamic virtual infrastructure, datacenter administrators need tools to give them visibility, monitoring, performance data, capacity utilization, and more. To fill that need, there are numerous virtualization management tools available today that push new features and marketing messages, daily. However, there may be a tool that you have already purchased and already use on a daily basis that may be a strong contender for management of the VMware vSphere infrastructure.

The Microsoft Windows Server OS and Microsoft System Center Suite are the undisputed standards in the datacenter today. However, when it comes to virtualization, VMware vSphere still dominates in enterprise data centers. Those virtual infrastructures are growing at a break-neck pace, both from the further consolidation of physical servers but also from the rapid growth of new virtual machines.

When you think of managing vSphere with System Center, you might think of using System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM). While SCVMM is a strong tool for management of Hyper-V infrastructures, it doesn’t offer enough for daily vSphere infrastructure management, monitoring, performance management, and other advanced needs. While the basics are available, using SCVMM as your only tool, on a daily basis, to manage vSphere will leave admins disappointed and in the dark. However, SCVMM is not the only option for managing vSphere.

What is Veeam Management Pack (MP)?

Veeam’s System Center Management Pack (MP) works with the System Center Suite, which allows for the full vSphere management functionality you need.

Why I like it

While System Center offers strong application and operating system visibility, with Veeam MP you’ll gain deep virtual machine, host, and hardware resource visibility. By adding Veeam MP to System Center, you’ll finally achieve real management in the datacenter from a single console – providing visibility from your applications, all the way down to the server hardware (that’s something that even high-end vSphere management solutions struggle to do).

Q1-14-Veeam-Fig1

Figure 1 – Monitoring VMware vSphere storage topology in System Center Operations Manager

The best thing about choosing Veeam MP is that it leverages your investment and existing expertise in Microsoft System Center.

How Veeam MP Helps You

For those administrators using existing vSphere management tools or who are considering purchase those tools, here’s the core functionality that Veeam MP provides you:

  • Agentless vSphere host hardware monitoring
  • Proactive monitoring of resource over-allocation
  • Performance analysis and correlation
  • Configuration tracking and alerting
  • Capacity planning and reporting

Q1-14-Veeam-MP-Fig2Figure 2 – Analyzing vSphere Host Disk Usage

As an admin who uses System Center, it’s likely that these features are similar, in many ways, to what the System Center Suite provides you already for your physical Microsoft Windows Servers in the datacenter. It’s time that you had the same capabilities over the vSphere infrastructure!

What Makes Veeam MP Unique?

Certainly, the integration of a solid vSphere management tool with the System Center console is unique but, with numerous virtualization management tools available, Veeam MP is still able to stand out with unique features like:

  • Fault tolerant collection architecture and new enhanced fault tolerance to ensure that performance monitoring and capacity analysis stays up even when faults are occurring
  • Monitoring of Veeam Backup, again furthering it’s “single pane of glass” design for those using Veeam Backup for vSphere or Hyper-V virtual infrastructures
  • VMware knowledge base advisor helps admins who are traditionally more Microsoft-focused solve vSphere issues with ease

Q1-14-Veeam-MP-Fig3Figure 3 – vSphere Knowledge base Advisor

Drill-down dashboards to help you determine root cause analysis when problems occur. No more wasting time trying to solve problems that were really caused by other problems

Q1-14-Veeam-Fig4Figure 4 – Detecting Top Resource-Consuming vSphere Virtual Machines

  • Application-to-Metal visibility – very few other tools are able to give you the OS and application insight that System Center provides and the virtual infrastructure insight that Veeam MP provides – all from a “single pane of glass”
  • Optimization Analysis is what will help Veeam MP pay for itself by helping you to rightsize virtual machines (and save resources), identify who is using what storage, find powered off VMs that can be deleted, map datastore performance, identify the “top troublemakers”, and more.

Personally what I like about Veeam MP for those who are using System Center is that deployment is so easy. With System Center already in place, Veeam MP gives you the visibility and expert-level insight into your vSphere environment. Never has the deployment of a performance monitoring tool been easier.

Veeam MP offers a free 30 day, fully functioning evaluation, make sure to try it for yourself!

Who should use Veeam MP

If you 1) have System Center and 2) have vSphere, Veeam MP is what you should be considering for management. With Veeam MP, you’ll be able to keep your existing (comfortable) System Center user interface, reduce management complexity, improve vSphere infrastructure efficiency, and finally gain complete visibility of your datacenter, all the way from the application, to the OS, to the virtual infrastructure, and to the physical server hardware.

The Softchoice value

Softchoice’s dedicated Storage Solution experts are ready and willing to help you gain visibility into your current storage environment and work with you to determine the most effective solutions for your business. For expert knowledge and pricing information, contact your Softchoice representative.

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