Triage Requires Live Data – Xangati Delivers

Close your eyes for a moment and . . . . Wait. . don’t do that. . . But imagine for a moment your CEO calls your desk directly and is in a huge panic because one of his reports is taking way too long to run, and he needs it for the board meeting in 15 minutes.  Instantly your life flashes before your eyes: 

  • All those arguments you had with the DBA’s and the application owners, and even your boss about how “we can’t possibly virtualize this application”. 
  • The meetings where the vendor said they would support it but they don’t “recommend” it. 
  • Conference calls where you told them they were just out of touch and that you could virtualize anything, and they wouldn’t even notice a performance hit. 
  • The look on their faces when they first tested the virtualized app and realized you were right.

 

And look at you now.  This is all on you.  It’s do or die time now.

 

So you bring up your preferred virtualization performance software to have a look.  For your sake, I hope it’s Xangati VI Dashboard.  

 

Having seen Xangati’s pitch before, and having tried the free version a couple years ago, I didn’t feel it was something I needed in my environment.  However, last week at Virtualization Field Day 2 in Silicon Valley, the company’s founder, Jagan Jagannathan said one thing that really struck a chord.

 

“Liveness is what you need to do triage.  If you want to do post-mortem, you don’t have to be live.”

 

He makes the point that in medical analysis, if you delay the analysis, even for a few minutes, the patient is dead.  “Not all patients die.  But some do.”  It was at this point that the Xangati story clicked with me.  It’s a tough product to get your head around in a quick demo, or marketing slide.  But after hearing directly from the man who invented it, everything makes sense. 

 

Jagan talks about other virtualization performance applications being largely database driven.  They essentially suck in data at intervals, store it in a database, crunch it, and then pipe it out to a GUI for display.  Some even require input from you on what interactions you might want to see before they even crunch the data.  

Xangati sucks in the data and crunches it, with every interaction, all in RAM.  This means the data you see is an order of magnitude more current from Xangati’s interface, than from the other guys’. 

 

 

The other products are showing you a snapshot of data, followed by another snapshot, and so on.  This is sufficient for the type of predictive trending coming out of vCenter Operations for example.  Xangati can crunch 1 million metrics per second and pipe them right to your display. 

 

Which data would you rather have when your CEO is standing over your shoulder?  Which data would you rather have if you’re running thousands of VDI sessions like at the VMworld Labs?  Xangati was VMware’s choice for the Labs environment.  And since we have all taken a sort of Virtualization Hippocratic Oath by talking companies into virtualizing, we cannot afford to let our patients die on the table because we didn’t have the data to save them. 

 

I had the good fortune of sitting with Jagan at dinner after their presentation, and we got into a conversation about a huge paradigm shift in our industry that’s happened over the past decade.  A couple years ago, SAP founder Hasso Plattner was asked by his own employees why he felt the need to deliver an in-memory appliance.  His response nails what I feel this paradigm shift is all about.

 

“People at SAP ask me, ‘Why do you insist on running a dunning program in seconds instead of two minutes? No one is asking for that type of speed for a dunning program,’ ” Plattner said.

“And I tell them, “You are asking the wrong question: the right question is, how long will someone with an iPhone wait for an answer? And the answer is that 15 seconds is the absolute maximum amount of time people will wait before they go and start doing something else: check voicemail, send text messages, check email, send text messages to themselves . . . . This is the new reality!”

 

In most enterprises a decade ago, the world did not come to an end if an application was down for a few hours.  People took a long lunch, and moved on.  In this new world, people go absolutely insane over the slightest performance degradation of any application. 

 

Downtime is unthinkable, even for the most mundane and “insignificant” application.  Can we blame all this on the iPhone?  I’m not sure, but one thing I do know is that we had better have the tools to enable us to deliver on these expectations.  Xangati is a huge step in the right direction. 

 

There’s a lot more to Xangati, like industry leading awareness and visibility for VDI environments, and the ability for users to initiate recordings of metrics while a problem is occurring.  Cool features abound.  You can read about some of them over on Rodney Haywood , Dwayne Lessner and Chris Wahl’s blogs.   For me, the one feature that stands out most is the live data.  The life you save could be your own.

 

 

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Brandon Riley

About Brandon Riley

I am a Senior Distributed Systems Engineer working in the financial services sector for the past 15 years. I help design and implement open systems infrastructure. Virtualization with VMware and EMC VMAX is a huge part of that infrastructure. All views expressed in my blog posts are mine and mine alone. Opinions do not represent my employer or affiliates of my employer.