In many businesses, IT exists for one thing, right? The users and the applications they use are what makes the business money. There are many solutions that focus on this: solving performance concerns for the applications, managing user data, making sure it’s secure and backed up. I think something that is often overlooked in all of this, however, is taking care of ourselves. Our systems are often the last to be upgraded and the last to be proactively worked on, which seems backwards to me.
CloudPhysics (@CloudPhysics) is doing something about this. At #VFD3 we got an opportunity to hear about it. They’re using the knowledge we have and the power of big data to make IT more efficient, more cost effective, and more stable. CEO John Blumenthal said that the solution was created to solve this problem: “IT doesn’t have the answers to some very simple questions. For instance, ‘how many virtual disks can I really fit on this datastore?'” By collecting billions (with a B!) of data points per day and then crunching and analyzing them, CloudPhysics is helping administrators answer these previously difficult questions in a matter of seconds.
How Do I Start?
- Download and deploy the Observer vApp OVA
- Power on, IP and name it
At this point, you’ve spent 10 minutes and you’re already uploading metrics to CloudPhysics to be processed and begin providing feedback. This super simple setup is one of the highlights of the product in my opinion. These days, people are looking for products like this as opposed to one that they have to purchase professional services to turn up.
Many people are immediately concerned about security because of the massive amounts of data being turned over to another organization. As it turns out, while understandable, this fear is unwarranted. CloudPhysics excludes sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, IP addresses, and MAC addresses from transfer by default–these are never sent, in any form, to CloudPhysics. All collected data is strongly encrypted using SSL 3.0/TLS 1.0 when streaming to CloudPhysics. Once collected, your anonymized scrubbed data is securely stored in CloudPhysics’ systems.
So now that it’s installed and we’re comfortable with the data they’re collecting, what can we do with it?
Cards and Card Builder
The CloudPhysics model uses something they’ve called “cards” which is basically a predefined set of filters. They offer many of these cards out of the box, but the real power comes from the fact that the community can also contribute cards. This is an awesome facet of the product: the more it grows in the market, the more awesome it is. As the presence grows, the amount of data points to crunch grows and the data becomes more accurate. One of the great uses for all this data is to be able to predict changes to your environment before you make them – predict improvements to your environment before buying flash caching technology, for example.
With a few clicks in the Card Builder tool, you can create a new card that will generate a beautiful report in a very short amount of time (seconds to minutes depending on complexity). During the live demo we were given by the CloudPhysics team, Krishna (@esxtopGuru) created a useful new card in 10 seconds; I timed him.
Try It For Yourself
The awesome people at CloudPhysics offer a free trial and you can check out the detail of that here. But a very important note is that they also offer a Community Edition that is completely free. It obviously does not include support, and the feature set is limited, but why would you not use a free tool that is this awesome?? I plan to install it in my lab to do more testing, and hopefully in my production environment to see what it can do for me. Let me know how it goes when you try it out!
If you’re looking to learn a bit more, here are some other great resources:
- #VFD3 Day One In the Books, What to Know
- Scott D Lowe | Big Data is Coming After Your Data Center And That’s a Good Thing
- Jeff Wilson | http://agnosticcomputing.com/2014/03/09/vfd3-day-one-modeling-your-io-blender-with-cloud-physics/
And here are all the videos of the presentation, given at the CloudPhysics office in Mountain View, CA:
DISCLOSURE: Travel and expenses for Tech Field Day – Virtualization Field Day 3 were provided by the Tech Field Day organization. No compensation was received for attending the event. All content provided in my posts is of my own opinion based on independent research and information gathered during the sessions.