The Business Challenge
GameStop Corp.’s retail network is vast. It includes several e-commerce sites and nearly 6,600 company-operated stores in 17 countries.
The company’s virtual server supports applications for daily operations, such as Microsoft SQL Server, Exchange and web servers, as well as a portion of e-commerce. When GameStop’s IT team became frustrated with the amount of time required to troubleshoot issues in the virtual environment, Albert Uy, APM Manager for GameStop’s IT Engineering team, and his colleagues tested their current VMware vSphere monitoring tool against several alternatives.
“We didn’t have the ‘eyes wide open’ we needed in our virtual environment,” Uy said. “We wanted detailed information about vCenter servers so we could troubleshoot more efficiently, and we wanted detailed performance data so we could be more proactive in capacity planning. We also wanted to take advantage of the time we had invested in Microsoft System Center—our operations and engineering teams know it well. We set out to find the best VMware vSphere monitoring solution for Microsoft System Center.”
The Veeam Solution
GameStop’s IT team chose Veeam Management Pack™ (MP) for VMware. “We chose Veeam after testing it and other products on the market,” Uy said. “Veeam was the only solution to identify all of the issues we created in our test environment. For example, when we created six issues, Veeam discovered all six, while the other products discovered two to four. Identifying only half the problems is not acceptable in an IT environment where hundreds of VMs run essential applications that support a business and 45,000 employees.
With Veeam MP, Mean Time To Resolution (MTTR) for VMware problems has substantially decreased. “Before Veeam, a problem might not be noticed and might escalate as a guest issue, but now we have full visibility into the health of our vSphere environment and any potential issue at the hardware or hypervisor level,” Uy explained.
Veeam MP monitors GameStop’s VMware vSphere infrastructure in Microsoft System Center Operations Manager. It gives the IT team visibility of overall VMware vSphere health, including VMs, hosts, clusters and vCenter servers by monitoring hundreds of metrics and events.
“Veeam gives us the detailed information we need to be proactive in resolving issues, and it also gives us what we need for capacity planning. Here’s a simple but typical example: a guest is averaging 50 percent CPU utilization, but after a new application code push, the guest’s average increases to 75 percent. We can then plan accordingly and add a processor or two to bring utilization back to 50 percent.”
Uy said Veeam MP also helps the IT team drill down and correlate events in the physical and virtual environments. “If we’re having a problem with an application that resides on a VMware server, we can determine if it’s a physical or virtual problem. Veeam makes troubleshooting issues like this so easy because we use one console and get a single view of the whole infrastructure. Now we definitely have ‘eyes wide open.’ ”
Provides complete view of entire IT infrastructure
Veeam MP provides scalable, fault-tolerant and agentless VMware monitoring and management directly in Microsoft System Center, giving GameStop’s IT team a full view of virtual and physical environments from the Operations Manager console. Veeam MP enables all Operations Manager functionality for all VMware components and includes a detailed health model with hundreds of metrics and events, as well as a comprehensive knowledge base that serves as a VMware “expert in a box.”
Reduces MTTR for VMware problems
Since Veeam MP provides visibility from the physical server to the hypervisor to the VMs and applications and services running there, GameStop’s IT team can troubleshoot problems much faster than before.
Supports capacity planning with granular performance data
In addition to resolving issues faster with Veeam MP, GameStop’s IT team uses Veeam MP for capacity planning in the virtual environment. “We get detailed data on the virtual environment, allowing us to make it as efficient as possible,” Uy concluded.