News: VKernel Ships Bottleneck Analyzer

New tool analyzes performance of VMs running on VMware ESX Server

As many IT managers have already realized, traditional IT management toolsets don't often translate into useful resources in virtualized environments. Optimizing performance for real-world virtualization brings with it a whole new set of challenges. As with any new technology, a "performance gap" exists as larger, more established vendors work to catch up to the needs of IT shops that are already ahead of the server virtualization curve.

One company trying to fill this gap is VKernel Corp., a startup based in Portsmouth, N.H. Last fall the company announced its first offering, the Chargeback Virtual Appliance. Now it has released the second: Capacity Bottleneck Analyzer is designed to identify performance bottlenecks, specifically for VMware ESX environments. It zeroes in on capacity bottlenecks that might occur on hosts, clusters and resources pools which can cause performance problems for end users and then prioritizes them on a single screen (see Figure 1).

Figure 1
[Click on image for larger view.]
Figure 1. The Vkernel Capacity Bottleneck Analyzer dashboard gives insight into performance problems.

"There are two major problems happening right now in virtualized data centers," noted Dave Repczynski, director of product marketing. "The first is that even though servers are virtualized, they still have the same memory and CPU requirements. What's happening is that virtualized infrastructure is scaling at a rapid pace and sprawl is increasing, but there are no tools on the market today that give clear visibility into where bottlenecks exist."

The analyzer tackles this problem by looking at RAM, CPU, storage and network resources, identifying the bottlenecks, and then trending the data over a 30-day period so that IT admins can see if resource problems are improving or trending downward. The product also has a predictive capability that can tell the IT admin when CPU utilization is likely to max out and in what specific timeframe. In addition, it can be configured to send SMS alerts when user-selectable thresholds are exceeded.

The product is currently available and sells for $199 per processor socket. It's available through distributors, although VKernel is still in the process of putting additional channel partners in place. The company says future releases are likely to be developed for other hypervisor environments as well.

About the Author

Tom Valovic is a freelance technology writer.