nWorks provides MS management link to VMware

Once installed, there's a wealth of information that can be tracked and managed through the nWorks Management Pack

The nWorks Management Pack for VMware for Microsoft's System Center Operations Manager 2007 is a long name for a tool that provides strong VMware monitoring and management capabilities that are ultimately driven by Microsoft's management platform.

It requires, as the name implies, Microsoft's System Center Operations Manager 2007, which in turn, requires a Windows 2000 SP4+ host (we used Windows 2003 Standard Server Edition). Although it can be installed 'spontaneously', we discovered that a bit of planning pays off, as nWorks MP requires a comparatively sophisticated installation to pay out eventual monitoring and management rewards.

It takes longer to install the Microsoft System Center portion than the nWorks add-ons. nWorks MP for VMware connects as an add-in to System Center, between System Center and either VMware VirtualCenter, or VMware ESX directly. An nWorks Virtual Infrastructure Collector (called the 'VIC') connects to a VMware ESX Monitor to gather topological and inventory information. The Collectors (each for different VMware Hosts) are set up and configured for connectivity to Microsoft's System Center.

Once it's all installed, and it took well over three hours to install both product sets (with requisite updates), there's a wealth of information that can be tracked and managed, hindered only occasionally by the busy if beautiful Microsoft System Center user interface. The devil-in-the-details is deciding how to view the collected information -- either in long lines of status/alerts or graphs of comparative performance data; and aligning actions to be taken when target thresholds are exceeded. The mundane details of sorting event logs within Microsoft System Center is simple for examination, and setting trigger alerts to be spawned from logs or events is equally simple.

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