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Complete End-to-End Virtual & Physical Infrastructure Monitoring

on Wednesday, 30 November 2011. Posted in General

What is PHD Virtual Monitor (PHDVM)?  It's a virtualization monitoring solution that gives you complete visibility across your entire virtual IT infrastructure at all levels. It's designed as an web-based, comprehensive, Windows, Linux/Unix, Network Infrastructure Device, monitoring, alerting, diagnosing, collecting and reporting tool for managing availability and performance of physical and virtual servers, workstations, and network devices in IP-based physical and virtual networks.

I got the opportunity to take a good look at this tool. It starts with a completely user friendly next, next, finish ready installation. This saves you a lot of time which is always enjoyable. The PHDVM Server supports the bundled SQL Server Express 2005 database, which, by default is installed along with the PHDVM software, or optionally, the full Microsoft SQL Server. A small point of attention is the choice for the database to install on a separate partition if you go by default. But if I'm right, it should be possible to move your databases, Log files to another drive afterwards.

After your installation you are all set for configuration, what again is very, very simple. This is clearly well thought. A wizard walks you through your 'connecting virtual environment'. You get several choices. In my case I'm going for the VMware ESX host and VMware vCenter Server as well. PHDVM provides a Windows Agent for physical and virtual servers. You can also optionally install the Agent on VMWare ESX or Citrix XenServer Hosts, or alternatively use the Agent's built in feature to monitor VMWare or Xen virtual environments 'agentless' via vCenter or Xen Server, respectively. As a VMware fan, I love plugins. PHDVM provides the option of installing PHD Virtual Monitor's Console as a Plug-in to vCenter. How cool is that. Your complete console 'integraded' in vCenter. Besides a plugin, all monitoring, alerting, diagnosing, graphing, collecting and reporting information available at the PHDVM Server can be accessed from anywhere with PHDVM's remote browser-based console.

When you are finished configuring we can look at the monitoring options. The first thing I noticed is a dashboard. I love dashboards, I think most of us do. It gives you a very clear overview of your infrastructure.

Another cool feature PHDVM's provides is FileWatch! You choose the files you want PHDVM to watch. You can specify wild-cards to monitor groups of files, or even specify a folder name and monitor the entire folder for any changes including file additions and deletions.

PHDVM's Alert options provide a lot of options to send alert notifications such as Email, Pager, Beeper, SYSLOG, and/or SNMP Traps. This is quite a wide range of possibilities which is a good thing. Often many companies already uses other centralized monitoring tools. After deliberately creating some errors it sends SNMP Traps to my Hostmon centralized monitoring tool from ks-soft.

PHDVM’s has a very strong Report option build in. You can create any number of custom "CounterWatch" reports and analyze monitored counter values from any one or more selected servers, for minimum, maximum, and average values over any selected monitored time-frame, and including a Graph so you can pinpoint spikes and other periods of abnormal behavior. My experience is that log files can be large over time.  It's something you don't quickly paid attention to. That's one of the reasons I would like to see the possibility to install the Database on another drive/partition. But they tought of that too. Use Database Maintenance to manage the PHDVM Server database monitoring contents and overall size. You can schedule an automatic purge of monitored data to occur every day at a set time, and you can specify the maximum amount of days of data to maintain.

Before I started this I thought it would be a relatively simple monitoring tool. The opposite is true, because it is much more. And that's true!

For more information you can go over here: http://www.phdvirtual.com/monitor

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