Big data analytics star in VMware vCenter Log Insight 1.5 update

Log aggregation, analytics, and search platform adds support for Active Directory; improves content pack infrastructure

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In an end-of-the-year prediction, Paul Strong, who helps lead VMware's Office of the CTO, said we have to use machine learning and big data to infer structure, along with good and bad behavior. Strong went on to say:

Machine learning lies at the heart of vCenter Operations Manager, and Log Insight uses big data techniques to evaluate log files. One of the things I would expect to see across the industry in general in 2014 is more use of these techniques, and tying these to provisioning engines, to enable more automated, policy driven closed feedback loops, for application service level management.

That's where VMware's vCenter Orchestrator would come into play.

For this technology to continue to expand throughout 2014, Log Insight will need to draw data from other devices that fit within the application's framework for data handling, moving beyond servers and into other areas like storage and networking devices from various hardware manufacturers. Capturing that type of data will turn the learning system and the enhanced future use cases that Strong talks about into a reality.

But there's good news! With version 1.5 of Log Insight, that knowledge expansion is already under way. One of the most interesting features found in this new release is designed around the concept of something called "content packs." Strong said VMware's goal is to be able to collect all operational data in the data center, both structured and unstructured. To further this goal, the improved content pack framework in vCenter Log Insight 1.5 allows you to produce charts, alerts, and dashboards for user-specific logs. The company has also introduced new features to facilitate the sharing of content packs across organizations and communities.

The first set of pre-built content packs is already available. Within the company's community download center, VMware offers 12 publicly available, free-of-charge content packs that can be downloaded and added into Log Insight. Beyond support for VMware vSphere, vCenter Operations Manager, and VMware Horizon View, other vendor applications that have already made the list include Cisco UCS, EMC VMAX, EMC VNX, ExtraHop Wire Data, HyTrust Appliance, NetApp Data ONTAP, NetFlow Logic, Puppet Enterprise, and VCE Vision Intelligent Operations.

VMware may be trying to build a better mousetrap that can help administrators analyze and make sense of data center logs, but it certainly isn't alone in this endeavor, nor is it the first. The market may feel a bit overcrowded with products from companies like Loggly, LogRhythm, SolarWinds, Splunk, and Sumo Logic already available. But VMware's entry stands out, if for no other reason than because of Log Insight's tight integration with VMware vSphere and vCenter Operations Manager.

And we can't discount VMware's huge success with its partner and community base either. We should anticipate that these content packs will continue to grow and evolve.

Since this is a VMware product, the virtualization giant can also choose to up sell Log Insight with sales of its other products, or it can throw it in for free for a period of time, both of which could help push adoption of their application over that of its competitors -- at least in a VMware environment setting.

This article, "Big data analytics star in VMware vCenter Log Insight 1.5 update," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization at InfoWorld.com.

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