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VMware vCenter Log Insight 2.0 Shines a Spotlight on Big Data Analytics Across Virtual and Cloud Environments

Can VMware out Splunk, Splunk? 

As server virtualization has been shrinking the hardware footprint of the modern data center via consolidation efforts, it's had the opposite effect on the amount of data being created and analyzed on a regular basis coming from the various devices: servers, desktops, virtual machines, operating systems, and applications that live behind the data center walls.  Over the last few years, that data has grown exponentially -- and the need to analyze that data has grown with it.  But at the same time, because of the data volume and distribution, it's become overly complicated to make any sense of it.

Getting visibility into what's going on inside this virtual environment is no easy task.  And that's where VMware vCenter Log Insight 2.0 comes into play. 

If you aren't familiar with vSphere Log Insight, it is VMware's solution for log management and analytics of dynamic hybrid cloud environments. The product analyzes large amounts of unstructured machine generated log data, and provides deep, enterprise-wide visibility. It also provides interactive, real-time search and analytics of that data in a meaningful way so that IT users can identify and analyze the data, then use that intelligence to proactively enable service levels and operational efficiencies across dynamic hybrid cloud environments.

The original product debuted back in June 2013, as a result of VMware's August 2012 acquisition of a company called Pattern Insight.  But with a quick development push, VMware has been able to iterate on the product in a non-typical fashion... coming out with new versions and new features on what seems like a fairly rapid pace.  

The virtualization giant is also coming up against some stiff competition, in a crowded market space with competitors who have been around for a much longer period of time... companies like Loggly, LogRhythm, SolarWinds, Splunk, and Sumo Logic come to mind.

But VMware has a couple of things going for it -- chief among them, they are analyzing their own product's log files, so there should be some corporate insight here.  And secondly, they already have a ready-made consumer and community base from which to draw from, so they simply need to get the word out to these people that this type of product exists and is available to them. 

According to Bill Roth, group product line marketing manager at VMware, the new version is also faster than its predecessors at ingesting and analyzing the log data.  He added, the data from across an organization can now be ingested 30 percent faster than with the original 1.0 release.

Some of the other interesting new features in version 2.0 that will help VMware make the splash they need, include:

  • Intelligent Grouping - A new machine learning-based technology that automatically groups related data to help administrators spot problems more rapidly and reduce time-to-resolution;
  • Query Performance - 6x faster query performance than the market leading solution will improve productivity levels of administrators and IT operations teams;
  • Data Ingestion - 8x faster data collection over VMware vCenter Log Insight 1.5 can speed insight into more of customers' physical, virtual and cloud environments;
  • Data Visualization - New data visualization capabilities in the form of tables and chart types will provide administrators with increased options for analyzing unstructured log data; and,
  • Extensibility - A new native Microsoft Windows agent will collect logs from Windows-based desktops and servers, enabling customers to now capture and analyze log data across all key environments.

VMware is continuing to push what I believe is one of the more interesting features around the Log Insight product - Content Packs, which are delivered by third-party companies, partners, consumers and community members.

The one drawback that I've identified thus far is that the community uptake seems to be a bit on the slow side.  With the Log Insight 1.5 release, VMware launched out of the gate with 12 publicly available Content Packs.  But with the 2.0 release, they have announced only four new packs -- One for Brocade Fibre Channel storage area networks (SANs) and three others focused on Microsoft technologies: Microsoft Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Windows.

The new Microsoft Windows agent is another welcomed addition to Log Insight 2.0, making it easier for VMware users to collect and analyze log file information from Windows machines.  The agent is lightweight, a small MSI file that can be widely deployed and it gives VMware an end-to-end log visibility capability without the need for third-party support.

VMware vCenter Log Insight 2.0 is available for download here via a public beta program today. It is expected to be available in Q2 2014. To be notified when VMware vCenter Log Insight 2.0 is available, sign up at: http://eepurl.com/T_nen

VMware vCenter Log Insight 2.0 is priced $200 per operating system instance with no log data size limits offering customers a predictable pricing model and no price penalty for storing more log data. It is also now available for $1,500 per CPU.
Go to VMware vCenter Log Insight Pricing/Buy page.
Published Friday, May 23, 2014 6:57 AM by David Marshall
Comments
Q&A: Interview with #VMware Talking Log Management and Analytics with vCenter Log Insight 2.0 : @VMblogcom - (Author's Link) - May 29, 2014 7:13 AM
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