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VMware Analysis Tools: Small Step, Big Vision

VMware’s touted software-defined data center has taken a baby step closer to reality. At an early stage of development, its log file analysis system, vCenter Log File Insight, is getting a helping hand from its older and wiser partners.

The software-defined data center will never arrive unless the activity of one machine is decipherable to another. In fact, servers collect reams of information on their own operations and store them in log files, but such information has traditionally been hard to access and understand. VMware wants to apply an analytics engine to the data and make it useful in making decisions governing the rest of the virtualized environment.

Cisco, NetApp, EMC, HyTrust, NetFlow Logic, Puppet Labs and VCE (VMware, EMC and Cisco subsidiary Virtual Computing Environment) have all produced specific content packs for Log File Insight to make the data collected in their products’ server log files more intelligible to Log File Insight. The latter’s analysis engine is capable of digesting large amounts of real-time data accumulated in the log files. But without specific knowledge of the terms and event patterns that are meaningful to each vendor’s server log, that analysis can’t yield much useful information.

When vCenter Log File Insight first became generally available in July, Sanjay Mehta, VP of the competing commercially supported Splunk log file analysis product, told InformationWeek: “Data is only as good as the value that can be derived from it. Splunk allows many users within an enterprise to extract tremendous business value from their machine data.” Splunk, with its head start on VMware’s product, could provide analysis on specific server systems, such as Hadoop, he said.

Network Computing

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