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Virtual Monitoring with Uila

Monitoring of the data center is critical in the enterprise. The problem isn’t necessarily that monitoring data is unavailable, but rather that it’s hard to manage. It’s hard to troubleshoot issues, or even know how to provision your data center is you can’t tell the signal from the noise in all your monitoring data. This brings the issue up of too much abstraction. Enterprise IT is necessarily complex, these are multifaceted systems that are used in production. Any monitoring solution ne eds to strike a balance between gathering all the needed information, presenting it in a consumable manner, but provide analysis to give you meaningful insights. Uila seems to offer a solution that nicely strikes this balance.

Uila (pronounced wee-la) started off initially to focus on virtualization management. Over the three years since they were founded, this has generally moved to a focus on general IT infrastructure monitoring. While this may sound like mission creep with their product, the overall focus has constantly remained on applications.

There are no shortage of monitoring tools in enterprise IT, but often, these create their own problems. Uila saw these tools as creating yet another impenetrable silo in the data center. But with the advent of virtualization, this doesn’t need to be the case. Virtualization creates an informational choke point that everything has to pass through at some point. Instead of seeing this as a downside, Uila correctly identified this as a single point they could use to leverage all the information coming in and out of a VM.

Virtual Switches

One of the biggest sells for me with Uila, is that there really isn’t any configuration needed to get up and running. Having seen more than a few network monitoring solutions that offer similarly capable visualizations, I expected there to be some hardware needed, perhaps a software stack on the server side, or some kind of work needed in your data center. However it’s actually quite simple. Just enable the Uila solution access to the VM, and you’ll be up and monitoring.

Uila monitors your VM by a series of virtual switches. These are able to do deep packet inspection down to the application level. They are claiming support for over four thousands apps the switches can identify. This allows for fine tuned monitoring of VM performance. I looked into whether Uila is offering remediation with their solution, but they’re instead offering something some people may prefer, analysis. Instead of doing an automatic migration when an issue comes up, effectively putting a bandaid on a problem, Uila alters you to the problem. Using their application level analysis, they’re able to show specifically what is causing the issue, which should allow you to fix and plan for your workloads better in the future.

If you need application level monitoring for your VMs, you might want to give Uila a look. They offer a limited free tier to try out their service, so if that sounds appealing, give it a try. There’s no shortage of ways to be told something is wrong in your data center (that’s what CTOs are for), but Uila gives you the analysis to let you make meaningful change to your VM setup.

About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.

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