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Dell tweaks Foglight virty management to control freak VDI, storage

Slaps Foglight brand on VKernel wares, sunsets vOptimizer

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Quest Software ate Vizioncore and VKernel, and Dell bought Quest. Now their products have to be rationalized, so in conjunction with the launch of what would have been a rev of the VKernel Operations Suite, Dell has decided to put the Foglight brand on its server, storage, and network monitoring and management tools, and thus not have a product name that sounds like everything else out there.

Starting this week, the old VKernel products – which were abbreviated vOPS and came in a freebie Server Explorer Edition, a Standard Edition with more features, and an Enterprise Edition – are now called Foglight for Virtualization Free Edition and Standard Edition. What was vOPS Enterprise Edition is now called the Foglight for Virtualization Bundle.

The former vFoglight (there's a v in front of the name on purpose) – which was the top-end Quest server virtualization management tool – is now Foglight for Virtualization Enterprise Edition, and vFoglight Storage is now Foglight for Storage Management, and is being upgraded this week, as well.

The vOptimizer tool that Quest got through its acquisition of Visioncore, which is used to do thin provisioning for storage underneath hypervisors and boost I/O performance, will be mothballed sometime in 2014 – but don't get nervous. John Maxwell, Dell's VP of product management for storage networking and virtualization, says that much of the functionality that was in vOptimizer will make its way into a future Foglight 7.0 release, which will come as a relief to the 1,000 or so customers who are using vOptimizer today.

In general, Foglight for Virtualization Standard Edition (formerly vOPS Standard) is aimed at small and midrange businesses with between 10 and 1,000 virtual machines under management, while Foglight for Virtualization Enterprise Edition is aimed at midrange and enterprise shops with between 1,000 and 50,000 VMs under management. The Standard Edition runs $549 per socket in the servers that it manages, while the Enterprise Edition costs $799 per socket.

With Foglight for Virtualization Enterprise Edition 6.8, which came out this week, Dell has done a number of tweaks. First, says Maxwell, the tool has a much more granular sampling rate for telemetry coming out of servers, hypervisors, and virtual machines. With prior releases, the tool took a 20-second sample every five minutes of data in VMware's ESXi and Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor, which is in the same range as other virty management tools, by the way, according to Maxwell. Now it takes in a continuous data stream in 20 second bites and can present it in real time. The 6.8 release of the top-end Foglight virty management tool can now run on Windows Server 2012 and plugs into Hyper-V 3.0, its companion hypervisor.

The updated Foglight can hook into VMware's View virtual desktop infrastructure, and Maxwell says that every customer he is talking to is doing VDI. And right after they learn that View is supported, the next thing they ask is when Foglight will plug into the XenDesktop VDI broker from Citrix Systems.

"We're working on it," says Maxwell, which is important not only because Dell really wants to do a lot of VDI to push both servers and thin clients, but also because a lot of View customers use XenDesktop as their VDI broker and some even run it atop the XenServer hypervisor that is embedded in it.

The first phase of View support allows Foglight to see physical machines (servers and clients) that are running VDI and also to peer into the PC over IP (PCoIP) protocol that links the two. In a second phase, which will come through a software patch sometime around VMworld at the end of the summer, Foglight will be able to peer into the specific VDI user sessions.

The 6.8 update has more installation wizards and an agent upgrade feature, and the IntelliProfile dashboard can now display stats for ESXi and Hyper-V.

On the storage front, Foglight for Storage Management is being upped to a 2.5 release this week as well, and it can work with the virtualization monitor to provide a "VM-to-spindle" view of what is going on in a server cluster.

The 2.5 release supports N-Port ID Virtualization, which is abbreviated NPIV and which is a Fibre Channel protocol extension that allows multiple virtual ports to share a single physical port. NPIV is used by some hypervisors, blade enclosures, and Fibre Channel switches, so having Foglight be able to peer into it is important.

The storage monitor is also able to gather up latency statistics for LUNs in disk arrays, which Maxwell says is the number-one thing that admins want on the storage front. This LUN latency reporting is not yet available for EMC Clariion CLI arrays and will be made available for Dell's own Compellent arrays with an API collector at some future time. Foglight for Storage Management is sold separately from the virtualization tools, and costs $499 per server socket.

Foglight for Network Management, which was not updated this week, is priced by the device it hooks into at $49 a pop. The typical customer has on the order of 100 to 3,000 devices, says Maxwell. ®

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