The Big Picture: Managing large vSphere and vCenter environments is a complex task but you don’t have to feel like you’re alone. There’s a plethora of information and tribal knowledge out there stored in areas ranging from the VMware knowledge base to social media and cybersecurity threads. This information is typically accessed reactively but what if it could be accessed proactively in a continuously updated application to help you predict outcomes and apply the domain expertise associated with it.
Key Quotes: Stanimir Markov: “So we thought why not use all this really valuable information proactively. Scan all of the vSphere configuration logs in advance and discover these potential conditions that are causing the problems that are already known and documented and give you the opportunity to mitigate those problems before they manifest themselves.”
Stanimir Markov: “…it's not only protecting themselves from various outages, purple screen of death or even Spector meltdown, but they make sure, they can have piece of mind that they are security compliant as well.”
Mike Matchett: Hi, I'm Mike Matchett from Small World, Big Data and today we're going to be talking a little bit about performance in virtualized environments, vSphere performance, and I'm gonna have on Runecast and in a minute gonna introduce Stanimir Markov who's the CEO and co-founder, but first I wanna talk just a little bit about the problem that you face when you have a big vSphere environment or maybe 15 vCenter environments and that is you're gonna have to discover all these performance problems yourself. It's a very complex environment and you tend to stumble into things, look in the log files, have these problems hit you in the face over and over again. Even though we all know that there's lots of these vSpheres out there, there's lots of vCenters out there, and these problems probably been well discovered and even documented in the knowledge bases, it's still, when it comes down to it something that we end up tripping over and discovering and going looking for ourselves.
Runecast is gonna help us solve that problem. Welcome to the show today Sanimir.
Stanimir Markov: Thank you, thank you for having me Mike.
Mike Matchett: So you guys have come on the scene, 2014, and you had some first hand experience with vSphere and vCenter, you guys were experts in it, tell me what the problem was in your own words.
Stanimir Markov: Right. So myself and then my co-founders we actually used to work for IBM for many years. So we've been living and breathing VMware for about 10 years. We had to manage a lot of VMware accounts all across the [inaudible 00:01:31] region, and we had to face a lot of problems on daily basis on various different customers. When we started troubleshooting it sometime took us hours or sometimes days. At more than 90% of the cases, we ended up creating a knowledge base article that actually told us what is the root cause, what is the resolution, but during that time we had service outage or we had quite stressful situations that we had to solve.
After many years of going through this pain, as any other VMware administrator, we realized that all this valuable information, it's out there, it's documented as you mentioned, mainly in the VMware knowledge base, but it's normally used reactively. So only when the problem happens, you start Googling or searching all the symptoms and if you're lucky you're going to end up reading the right article that describes the problem. So we thought why not use all this really valuable information proactively. Scan all of the vSphere configuration logs in advance and discover these potential conditions that are causing the problems that are already known and documented and give you the opportunity to mitigate those problems before they manifest themselves.
We thought that there's no product like that on the market and we've decided to just develop it ourselves because it would really solve the biggest pain points that we had in day-to-day vSphere operations.
Mike Matchett: You gave me a little bit of a demo a short while ago.
Stanimir Markov: Yup.
Mike Matchett: And I couldn't help but talk through the fact that it's not even just the 30,000+ knowledge base articles that you've managed to bake into this and of course those are growing every day, by some constant stream right? There's more problems coming along.
Stanimir Markov: Yeah.
Mike Matchett: But you've got security in there, you've got compliance in there, you've got best practice guides in there, you got a very large and growing amount of predictive rules base that you're looking at on there, how's that working out for your customers? Are they actually able to employ that and get great benefits? Or does it rarely come across?
Stanimir Markov: Yeah, absolutely, and we see ourselves as knowledge automation experts, so I spoke mainly about the VMware knowledge base, this is really the biggest source, but yeah, as you said, there is a bunch of best practices, security hardening guide and the security health checks and the VMware, by the way, are often done manually. We do monitor social media as well because some of the problems emerge first on some popular forums or blog articles and before they're even documented officially by the vendor. So we make sure to include those in the product so customers can actually protect themselves, even from those problems that they're not yet recognized by the vendor.
So yeah, various customers they get multiple dimensional benefits from the product, it's not only protecting themselves from various outages, purple screen of death or even Spector meltdown, but they make sure, they can have piece of mind that they are security compliant as well. That's really important for a number of our customers, especially that those of financial organizations, and security, as you know, it's becoming more and more important. Something that we have in Europe that's being introduced now end of May is GDPR, and this is another important point of why you have to have all of your systems, especially with those that are storing some sort of personal data as secure as possible. So with Runecast you can configure continuous automated security health checks and you can see a track record of how compliant you have been, for example throughout the year, and that's another way how the product is really valuable to customers.
Mike Matchett: I noticed that when you were showing this to me, it's just an OVA in that sense of it's really easy to download and run and you can configure it to do the checking on a continuous basis, on an interval basis, and then it also looks at the log files on a real time basis to find patterns of things. So it's doing a number of stuff, but it's real easy to get started.
Just in the last couple questions here. Where are you going with this from core vSphere expanding outwards? What else are you gonna help people start looking at?
Stanimir Markov: So we see in the field that there's more and more customers adopting other products by VMware, we see that vSAN is becoming quite popular and NSX as well. We have actually just introduced vSAN in February, so just a couple months back and now we're working and we're about to release a support for NSX as well, so we're starting to add this really popular products by VMware that many customers already adopted and they can benefit from Runecast analyzer. Discovering potential issues or security vulnerabilities in those products as well.
Mike Matchett: Right, and that's really awesome as the environment gets more complex and more automated and more hybrid. I know you even told me this will work on VMware in AWS in the Cloud as well. So you've got all these bases covered. Where can someone find out more information or get a free demo of this?
Stanimir Markov: So you can visit our website, runecast.biz or we have runecast.com as well. Right now we have a live demo there, by the way, so you don't have to deploy anything if you just wanna browse through how our web interface looks like. It's just a couple clicks away, or you could just register for a free account and download the 14 day free trial. It's just 1.2 gig OVA, you can download and deploy to your infrastructure, setup the IP address, and you can already see the value out of the product.
Mike Matchett: If you don't have it, you'd almost be foolish not to try it to see what kind of predictive and proactive things you already have going wrong or at risk for, 'cause it's free right?
Thank you Sanimir for being here today.
Stanimir Markov: Thanks Mike. Thanks for having me.
Mike Matchett: Yup, thanks. This is Mike Matchett from Small World Big Data. Thank you for watching and I'm sure we'll be hearing more from Runecast as we get closer to VMworld and beyond. Thanks.
Stanimir Markov: Thank you.