The Business Challenge
The Information Technology Department for the City of Lynchburg supports 1,000 end users and every aspect of city business, from the fleet repair shop to the public works department. Like many organizations, Lynchburg decided to virtualize its IT environment to consolidate physical servers and save money. “We had a physical server for almost every application,” explained Tom Williamson, Network Analyst for Lynchburg. “That resulted in too many servers and steep hardware costs.”
Now 50 percent of Lynchburg’s IT infrastructure is virtualized. Tom and his team had 40 physical servers and consolidated 20 of them onto five VMware ESX servers, four of which are ESXi (the five ESX servers are a combination of Dell PowerEdge Servers, ranging from 1950s to 2950s to R710s). Since ESXi only supports sending Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) traps, the previous monitoring solution couldn’t retrieve data from the ESXi hosts themselves. “That was the key reason for us to search for a new monitoring tool,” Tom explained. “Not only was it important to monitor the Windows machines running inside the VMware hosts, but we also needed to see a picture of what the host itself was doing.”
The only way the IT team could gather performance data was to connect to each host. “This was very time consuming because we had to track down individual administrators, who were already busy, and ask them to pull data from the hosts,” Tom said.
Lynchburg began looking for a monitoring tool that was compatible with ESXi servers. “We wanted a product that was easy to use and could collect the performance data we need to help us make decisions on how to best allocate our virtual host resources to new virtual machines,” he said. “We also wanted a product that was cost-effective and included reliable support.”
The Veeam Solution
The IT team investigated several monitoring tools, both paid and free, and found exactly what they were looking for in Veeam Monitor. “We found Veeam to be the quickest to configure out of the box,” Tom explained. “More importantly, Veeam Monitor collects the performance data we need to effectively monitor our VMware hosts. The charts are exactly what we wanted, and the presentation of data is right on the money.”
Tom said Veeam Monitor is also easier to use compared to other monitoring solutions they considered. “With Veeam, we were up and running in minutes,” he said. “Other monitoring tools involved much longer configuration times—one took nearly two days to set up.”
In addition to ease of use, Veeam Monitor saves time for the IT team. “It used to take 30 minutes to pull performance data because we had to track down individual administrators,” Tom said. “But with Veeam, securing that same data takes minutes. That’s because administrators who are responsible for evaluating that type of data now have access to Veeam Monitor, and since it is so easy to use, they were comfortable with it in no time.”
Product support is also important to Tom and his team. When they moved their monitor database from one computer to another, they were concerned about losing the data already collected. “I went straight to Veeam’s online forums,” he explained. “Veeam’s support folks told me exactly how to do it. This is just one example of the great experiences I’ve had with Veeam support. They actually answer customers’ questions, and they do it quickly, unlike other support forums I’ve encountered.”
Soon after Veeam Monitor was in place, the IT team began searching for a backup solution for the VMware infrastructure. “Again, one of the key points for us was ease of use,” Tom said. “We found that Veeam Backup & Replication is just as easy to integrate and use as Veeam Monitor, and both products do exactly what they promise to do. Veeam Monitor has already become an essential tool in our virtual management toolbox, and we expect that the more we use Veeam Backup & Replication, it will become an essential tool as well.””
Installation and Configuration is 99 Percent Faster
It took Tom and his team just a few minutes to install and configure Veeam Monitor, but other VMware monitoring solutions took much longer—one even took nearly two days to set up.
Collection of Performance Data is 93 Percent Faster
Before Veeam Monitor was implemented, Tom and his team spent 30 minutes pulling performance data because they had to track down individual administrators. Now it takes a few minutes to secure that same data because administrators have access to Veeam Monitor.
Customer Support is Reliable
Tom and his team go straight to Veeam’s online forums when they have questions. They receive answers promptly, which is a welcomed relief. Tom said other support forums either provide incomplete answers or don’t provide answers at all.