Dan's Take

Insight Into vSphere Clusters

SIOS' new product offers predictive analytics.

SIOS President and CEO Jerry Melnick called in to bring me up to date on SIOS and to discuss the SIOS iQ v3.5. I've followed the company and its technology for quite some time, and am always interested in what it's doing to add intelligence to IT operations.

We agreed that most enterprise computing environments have become far too complex and diverse for staff to monitor, understand and manage in real time. Addressing this challenge requires intelligent tools that can learn from the environment, discover normal behavior and then be able to point out issues before they can turn into problems. This, according to Melnick, really requires the use of machine learning and predictive analytics.

Instantaneous Identification of Issues
SIOS positions SIOS iQ v3.5 as the "First stop for answers to VMware infrastructure questions. The goal is making it easy for IT administrators to gather operational information by using "machine learning" to gather useful data, analyze that data and provide "guided remediation" quickly.  SIOS describes this as "Instantaneous Identification of Issues Before They Become Problems." The company claims the product takes 15 minutes to install, requires minimal configuration and doesn't require the installation of agents everywhere.

Rather than relying on tools that report on each system, database, application and application framework, SIOS believes that iQ provides a higher level, cross object view of the environment. According to Melnick, what sets SIOS iQ apart is its ability to configure itself, adjust itself as needed when conditions change, learn from the environment, and deliver meaningful insight using predictive analytics.

Better Integration
The newest generation of SIOS iQ provides integration with SQL Sentry and a topological view of VMware vSphere clusters that includes a view into use and performance of applications, system resources, storage and networks.

I've followed some of the technology offered by SIOS for quite some time. In each case, the technology focused on improving reliability, performance and manageability. SIOS iQ is no exception.

I first was introduced to LifeKeeper, a fail-over clustering technology and now one of SIOS' products, when it was first introduced by AT&T Bell Labs to support voice network operations on its Star-line of UNIX systems. Later, the division that created this technology was spun off and became part of NCR. SteelEye acquired this technology and enhanced it so that it would support Windows and Linux computing environments. The technology is sold as DataKeeper for Windows computing environments, and LifeKeeper for Linux environments.

SteelEye was acquired by SIOS. Now the technology supports workloads executing on physical hosts and virtual machines (both VMware and KVM).

The latest version of SIOS iQ is built upon the same technical expertise that powers SIOS' clustering technology. The company has learned through decades of customer experience how to operate complex computing environments, and is packaging that experience into the predictive analytics capabilities of the product.

Dan's Take: Test and Verify
I wouldn't suggest that enterprise IT staff take this at face value. I would advise them to instead drop the product into their own computing environment and see for themselves what it sees, how quickly it learns and what type of operational guidance it offers.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.


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