According to a recent research report from analyst firm IDC, the worldwide smartphone market reached a new milestone in 2013, having shipped 1 billion smartphones in a single year for the first time. To put that number into perspective, it represents a new smartphone device in the hands of every seventh inhabitant on the planet.
Beyond calling and texting your besties, what else can (or should) you be doing with your new smartphone? If you're an IT administrator who's escaped the confines of the physical data center and has been presented with the opportunity to manage a virtualized VMware vSphere data center, you might want to head over to the iTunes store or Android marketplace to download a new, free tool by VMware called VMware vSphere Mobile Watchlist. In a nutshell, it enables you to remotely monitor virtual machines in your vSphere 5.x infrastructure while on the go, with nothing more than a smartphone at your disposal.
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Mobile management of a VMware infrastructure isn't a new concept; for many years now there have been other mobile apps designed to reproduce the functionality of VMware's desktop client for virtual administrators on the go. But a VMware representative told InfoWorld that the company has been hearing from vSphere administrators that a more targeted end-user and pain-point-centric approach was needed for a truly valuable mobile application.
Through the company's research, VMware found that many vSphere administrators were overwhelmed by the amount of data being collected on their virtual machines and hosts, and sorting through that information to identify what needed to be reported back to their organizations was troubling. Feedback also suggested that a monitoring capability needed to be coupled with remediation. In other words, administrators want to be alerted when something is wrong, but at the same time want to be told how to fix it.
Motivated by this research, VMware focused on a few simple workflows that administrators would want when they are away from the data center and device access was limited to a smartphone. The company determined that Mobile Watchlist needed to enable the following functions:
- Select a subset and monitor important virtual machines
- Understand what is going on with these VMs
- Initiate remediation directly or delegate to a team member back in the data center