The Business Challenge
The Belgacom Group has a large VMware environment, including more than 30 clusters, 150 ESXi 4.1 hosts, 1,100 Windows virtual machines (VMs), 600 Linux VMs and 900 Windows clients. The virtualized workload includes mission-critical applications. “If these machines are down, there is a direct, tangible cost in terms of productivity and, potentially, in lost revenue opportunities for the company,” said the Windows Engineering Team, Belgacom.
Belgacom had already invested in Microsoft System Center; therefore the IT team and set out to find a monitoring and management tool for the VMware infrastructure that also integrated with Microsoft System Center Operations Manager. Team members compared two solutions: the Veeam Management Pack™ for VMware and another product.
The Veeam Solution
Given Belgacom’s large and multi-faceted IT infrastructure, the IT team chose the MP for two key reasons: it is hardware-agnostic (at the time, Belgacom had a multi-vendor hardware policy), and it provides the enterprise-class functionality the company needs, including high availability, load balancing and a distributed, scalable architecture.
According to the Windows Engineering Team one feature of the MP that is extremely helpful is its ability to proactively monitor virtual infrastructure resources. “It integrates visibility of essential data into Microsoft System Center Operations Manager, such as datastore disk issues around latency, contention and free space alerts before they become a problem.”
The MP also proactively monitors Belgacom’s large VMware View virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). “Thanks to Veeam, we quickly discovered that an accidentally activated screensaver was consuming all CPU, causing the VDI cluster to go ballistic,” said the team. “Without Veeam, it would have taken us a long time to identify this problem because it was not visible on an individual level. Veeam lets us view our VDI environment as a whole entity via System Center Operations Manager without the use of agents.”
The MP also monitors the “heart beat” of Belgacom’s operating system. “We were unaware that a particular server began to reboot in the middle of the night,” explained the team. “However, the MP sent an alert via System Center Operations Manager, and it became apparent we had an issue, so we fixed the problem and prevented any business downtime. The MP, together with Microsoft System Center Operations Manager, gives us a global view of our infrastructure, as well as a single pane of glass to see everything, whether it’s virtual or physical. Now we have the full picture and can proactively intervene and prevent problems, which ensures business continuity.
“In a nutshell, an enterprise such as Belgacom simply must have adequate monitoring of the virtual infrastructure,” the Windows Engineering Team added. “By using the MP together with Microsoft System Center, we can see a problem coming and either prevent it from happening or take actions to reduce the impact.”
Provides enterprise-class scalability and performance—
The MP provides continuous monitoring of Belgacom’s large VMware infrastructure by integrating vCenter Server events, VM and ESXi host resource usage, vSphere configuration, and performance, state and capacity data into Microsoft System Center Operations Manager.
Ensures visibility and proactively monitors virtual infrastructure resources—
The MP provides visibility of key virtual infrastructure resources, such as datastore disk issues, disk performance and free space. For example, it has alerted the operations team to disk latency issues before they became problems. The MP also proactively monitors Belgacom’s large VMware View cluster. When a system-wide screensaver consumed far too many CPU resources, the operations team discovered the problem through the MP.
Provides a global view of both physical and virtual infrastructures on a single management console—
The IT team monitors the VMware infrastructure and leverages the full power of Microsoft System Center Operations Manager, enabling team members to proactively intervene and prevent problems to ensure business continuity. “With the MP, we have end-to-end coverage of hardware, hypervisor and storage components of our VMware environment,” the team said. “And we can bring all of that information into System Center Operations Manager to get a holistic view of our entire virtualized infrastructure across the different platforms.”