Pushing Virtual Limits

VMware Management Suite Showdown – vCharterPro vs V-Kernel Capacity Bottleneck Analyzer

This review is long overdue. A quick trip around the country to meet with customers and setup a new Virtual Infrastructure Lab have put me behind schedule. Mea Culpa

First, I want to comment about the support I received from both VizionCore and V-Kernel. Glen P from Vizioncore kept them in the running a lot longer than anyone else could have. Kudos to him and that team for trying to work through all the “glitches” we ran into. The whole team at V-Kernel was also very helpful and successful in diagnosing and resolving the defects I hit.

That being said I hit major defects with both of these products. Both teams released patches or provided workarounds in short order but the ability of V-Kernel to quickly adapt and address new problems was definitely a positive mark for them.

In the end we never got vCharterPro working 100% due to some data collection issues. After two months of working with support and their team I had to compare their “sort of” product against one from V-Kernel that was now doing everything it promised it would do.

When comparing features I found that my deployment was not par for the course. Anyone who has read my previous posts understands that my mantra is that “Hosts Don’t Matter!” All my vms live in the Virtual Machines and Templates views in a heavily nested folder structure. Running reports against business units is a breeze if the application is aware of this folder structure.

vCharterPro had no awareness of the folder structure. It assumed a Host or Cluster based reporting model (kind of silly when you have a huge Cluster running DRS and two or three departments sharing it)

V-Kernel has a native folder level awareness. They let me easily create groups for analysis based on the nested folder structure or via the traditional host/cluster method. This flexible group creation was ultimately the winning feature. Having lots of data in bad groups is useless but if we can get the data into meaningful reports or views it adds immediate value.

Where vCharterPro clearly excelled was in the looks department. Both products are bringing back roughly the same data (vCharterPro has a fixation on disk I/O vs actual space used) but vCharterPro presents it in a very pleasing fashion. Utilizing their parent companies framework they provide a seriously customizable interface to really tweak the dashboard view to be exactly what you want.

V-Kernel CBA has clean looks but it is nothing to get excited about.

As I am sure it is now apparent that I went with V-Kernel’s product suite. We chose it because it had intellegent grouping that worked with my environment as is rather than requiring me to reorganize everything from scratch. It collected all the data I needed accurately and efficiently (vCharterPro wanted a 4cpu box with 2GB+ ram versus CBA which is 1 CPU with 1 GB ram). I really appreciate that V-Kernel is going with a ready made appliance that is easy to deploy and just as easy to upgrade.

In the near future I will start sharing some of the reports that I am running and the value add I get out of them. I am very interested to see what other people see from this data. We will also be implementing V-Kernel’s ChargeBack product within the next few weeks (pending the next release). At that point I will share some pictures of that.

Also – Check out Rob’s blog over at the V-Kernel main site to get an interesting take on a variety of challenges facing the virtualization industry. I promise it is worth at least a quick perusal.


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