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

Over the last 10 years, server virtualization has solidified itself as a key component to shrinking the hardware footprint of the modern data center. However, what hasn't decreased during this process of consolidation is the amount of data created on a daily basis from the devices, the physical servers, the virtual machines, and the operating systems and applications that live on each of these instances. In most of these cases, the data has become magnified.

As virtualization administrators were forced to branch out from their original comfort zones of server administration to storage, network, and even desktop administration, the next technological leap for these individuals will therefore come in the form of big data and analytics. As in other areas in the server virtualization world, companies like VMware are making an app for that in order to make that transition easier.

[ Also on InfoWorld: 10 big virtualization and cloud stories from 2013 | Parallels says key to success is cloud virtualization, not Mac desktop virtualization | Track the latest trends in virtualization in InfoWorld's Virtualization Report newsletter. ]

That's where VMware vCenter Log Insight comes into play. The product debuted back in June 2013, as a result of VMware's August 2012 acquisition of Pattern Insight.

If you aren't familiar with it, Log Insight is VMware's solution for log management and analytics of dynamic hybrid cloud environments. It can analyze large amounts of unstructured machine generated log data, enabling deep, enterprise-wide visibility. It provides interactive, real-time search and analytics of that data in a meaningful way so that IT users can identify and analyze the data, then use that intelligence to proactively enable service levels and operational efficiencies across those dynamic hybrid cloud environments.

Common use cases for the product include security and compliance auditing, as well as monitoring and troubleshooting vSphere and other servers, storage, and networking devices.

Earlier this month, VMware released vCenter Log Insight 1.5. The bulk of the work done on this release was to make it a more enterprise-ready product. As an example, VMware added authentication support for Microsoft's Active Directory for easier integration into an enterprise environment. This eliminates the need for multiple logins/passwords and allows for seamless integration into an organization's pre-existing identity management architecture.

Some of the interesting new features in version 1.5 include:

  • Significant query performance improvements by optimizing the execution of common queries
  • New analytics function: Unique count (ucount)
  • Better integration with VMware vSphere and vCenter Operations Manager
  • User interface for upgrading from previous versions of Log Insight through Administration UI
  • User interface for syslog configuration of ESXi hosts
  • Easier user deployment types with installation guidance on what capacity each one provides during installation
  • Improved health monitoring of the Log Insight Virtual Appliance
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