SolarWinds VMAN Review - A service provider perspective.
Jez Marsh | TrustRadius Reviewer
October 19, 2018

SolarWinds VMAN Review - A service provider perspective.

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with SolarWinds Virtualization Manager

As the Founder of Silverback Systems Services Ltd, an IT consultancy specialising in providing professional services to both end users and resellers of SolarWinds products, I find myself working with many different businesses who have a need to monitor their virtualisation infrastructure. Virtualisation Manager, or VMAN for short, is the best-in-class, vendor agnostic, tool which does that job in spades. Whether an organisation uses VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, or a combination of both, VMAN provides all the details an organisation could want on their hypervisor estate. When integrated with other Orion modules, such as Server and Application Manager (SAM) and Network Performance Monitor (NPM), you get visibility across the whole estate, using Orion's AppStack™ environment views. In my experience, once a business takes up an evaluation of VMAN, they quickly find it a key part of their infrastructure team's toolset.
  • VMAN's powerful sprawl analyses allows businesses to see where their hypervisor estate can be made more efficient. Coupled with powerful capacity management, the efficiency gains allow the product to quickly start returning on it's investment, allowing businesses to do more with what they already have.
  • The recommendations provided by VNMAN allows administrators to schedule changes in compute, storage assignment, and host/guest balance. These changes can be automated to take place on a schedule to suit, with VMAN making the changes at the appropriate time, allowing businesses to potentially save on expensive out of hours administration.
  • It's not only on-premise! With VMAN you can monitor your cloud-based guests on Amazon EC2 and Microsoft Azure.
  • Whilst VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V are the two big hitters in the hypervisor estate, VMAN lacks support for other popular solutions, such as Citrix XenServer, Oracle VM.
  • Every business I have worked with who have adopted VMAN has seen an efficiency improvement. This means that they are able to run more guests on the same hardware, leading to an increased time before requiring further CAPEX for additional capacity.
  • Performance benefits, via heeding the recommendations within VMAN, are not to be underestimated. Once VMAN has enough metrics on your estate, it can quickly advise you which guests need more compute, but more importantly which ones are over-provisioined, and can have CPU/memory reduced! This leads to increased capacity.
If your host to guest ratios are not balanced, you could have a lopsided provision. This could lead to hardware failures, as one host is heavily utilised, whilst others are not. VMAN considers this, and will recommend moving guests between hosts accordingly, leading to longer service life for your host servers. With VMAN you can schedule the movement of guests between hosts, and have the software action the move itself, without the need to have an engineer action this change.

Whilst it's clearly sensible to have an engineer check the move was successful after the fact, you can rely on VMAN to get this job done.
Part of VMAN's powerful capacity planning is the ability to simulate how your current estate will cope with projected load. Using the capacity reports, you can see how many additional hosts (with similar specifications to hosts already monitored) you will need to cope with your projected increased guest population.

As all the metrics used by capacity planning are real ones gathered from your own estate, the reports are accurate, allowing you to commit to further CAPEX on additional hardware with confidence.
The core of SolarWinds Orion is it's flexibility. PerfStack is a perfect example. You can construct your own graphs of related metrics, and have a view of exactly what you want to see. From the VMAN perspective, you can drag host, guest, and application metrics together to paint a picture of application performance over time, quickly and simply, and share this dashboard with other Orion users.

This is not only a fantastic troubleshooting tool, but also allows users to create views of what is important to them, without the need to click between multiple different pages to get the different metrics.
If you have on premise hypervisors, and they happen to be running vSphere or Hyper-V, you should look at picking up VMAN. It really is that simple. The insight it gives into your virtual infrastructure is far too important to ignore. Check out the free online demo via oriondemo.solarwinds.com, and click on "Dashboards>Virtualization" to see what you are missing out on.