PHD Virtual Monitor

January 17, 2012

in Tech,VMware

I had the pleasure of evaluating PHD Virtual Technologies PHD Virtual Monitorsolution. PHD Virtual Monitor was designed to address the issue of monitoring your IT infrastructure as a whole. It allows for not only the monitoring of your hypervisors and virtual machines including the applications running on them, but also your physical servers, network devices, and storage controllers. For the purpose of this evaluation we focused on VMware.

System Requirements

The node in which the PHD Virtual Monitor Server is installed on has to be one of the following operating systems:

  • Windows XP
  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Server 2008 32-bit or 64-bit.

You will need to make sure that the network address is set to a static address, that you have a minimum of 2GB of RAM and a 4GB page file.

note: There is a dependence for .NET 3.5 SP1. This must be installed prior to kicking off the installation on Windows Server 2008 64bit R2 and it is recommended to be installed prior on all versions of Windows Server 2008.

 

PHD Virtual Monitor supports Microsoft Access, all versions of Microsoft SQL Server from 2005 – 2008, and Oracle 8i or 9i as its backend database. Microsoft SQL Server Express 2005 Edition is the default database. For environments that want to monitor more than 50 devices, which will be most of you, you will need to connect to either a full version of Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle.

Installation

There is really not much to say about the installation. I found it straight forward. If you have ever used an installer in Windows then you know what to expect. Just make sure you have the correct version of the software as there is a separate files set for the 64-bit install. Step through the installer following the wizard. If you do need additional assistance with the install, included in the zipped installation files are copies of the Installation Guide and Users Guides in PDF format. The Installation Guide, while short, appears to cover all that you need to know to get the product up and running.

Configuration

I’ll show you how simple the steps are to configure your VMware environment in PHD Virtual Monitor.

Image 1

Image 1

On initial start of the application (which is browser based) you will be prompted for the license key before you can do anything else. I used the standard 15 day trial. The first screen you will see is the Get Started with Configuration Wizards screen (see image 1).

Image 2

Image 2

You are given two options on this screen, Configure Virtual Environment and Deploy Agents To Windows Virtual and/or Physical Machines. Since we are focused on VMware, select Configure Virtual Environment. Once selected, the 3 steps required to setup a VMware or Citrix XenServer are outlined, click Next. You should now see a screen like image 2. This is where you can enter in all your vSphere hosts, vCenter Servers, and/or XenServers.

Image 3

Image 3

Click the Add button and fill in the Specify Connection Information window (see Image 3). Repeat this step for each vCenter Server and vSphere host you want to add. Use the Test button to test the connection.

Image 4

Image 4

The License screen appears next. Here you can assign PHD licenses to your various hosts (see Image 4). Notice at the top of the two columns there is a summary of your total licenses, used licenses, and available licenses.

Image 5

Image 5

Put a check mark in the hosts you want to license and use the double arrow button to move them from the Available Hosts column to the Licensed Hosts column (see Image 5). Once you have them where you want them click the save button.

Image 6

Image 6

On the final screen, on step 1 you are given the option to install a plugin to your vCenter Server (see Image 6).

Click on the button in step 1 and a screen with your vCenter Server credentials will pop up. Click the install button. After a moment you should get a success screen. Click close and then click the Finished button at the bottom.

Image 7

Image 7

Now at this point jump over to your vCenter Server and you will notice a new tab across the top (see Image 7). You can now perform all your PHD Virtual Monitor tasks from directly within vCenter Server! Note this includes tasks for not only VMware related tasks but tasks related to your physical servers and network devices.

That’s it.  It’s that easy. Additionally you may want to further configure your environment, for example deploy Linux or Windows agents either on your Virtual Machines or on your physical servers, you can get help by clicking on the Get Started with QuickStart link. The Quickstart will take you through about 15 minutes of steps that should get you up and running with additional features you may be interested in.

 

Features

PHD Virtual Monitor comes with the ability to monitor not only your hypervisor but also your guest operating systems and the applications running inside them. This gives an administrator an overall picture of what is happening in your virtual environment. Also don’t forget that from within the same console you have visibility to what is happening outside of your virtual environment. This is an important feature since there are times when slow response times or poor performance of an application in your virtual environment can be effected by something going on in your physical environment. Having both of these environments together is invaluable. In addition to having you covered on monitoring, PHD Virtual Monitor also has the ability to alert and take actions when these alerts are triggered. If you’re looking for reporting, PHD Virtual Monitor has you covered as well. You have the ability to create a wide variety of historical and real time reports. For those IT shops that have to worry about log retention for compliance reasons PHD Virtual Monitor also contains a Syslog Server. Not only can you ship all your logs to a central location and store them but you can configure monitors to watch for various conditions to happen and alert the appropriate staff when it does.

Conclusion

Overall I found PHD Virtual Monitor really easy to install. Configuring the environment was straight forward and about as painless as I have seen. There are a couple of things that are hard for me to determine in a test environment. I cannot tell how well it will scale for larger environments. And long term once you start configuring custom monitors and alerts, how much care and feeding will the product require. If the features sound like what you’re looking for I would recommend downloading the trail and setting it up and playing with it. It’s definitely worth a look.

Please note this review was sponsored by PHD Virtual.

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Awesome!

December 2, 2011

in Uncategorized

Great start for the book!

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