IP networks are comprised of thousands of interconnected devices. Any outage can cause a flood of alarms on the console, leaving operators with the task of trying to distinguish root-cause problems from their symptoms. To provide the actionable information needed to sustain service, management solutions must automate the following functions:

  • Discovery - Determine what elements exist in the environment.

  • Modeling - Combine the results of discovery with data from other sources to map where the elements are located, how they are related, and how each element’s behavior correlates with related elements.

  • Root-cause and impact analysis - Provide the actionable intelligence necessary to sustain service by revealing what precisely are the problems that need to be fixed and what is the impact of these problems on the business.

    Most management solutions today are event-based and rely on rules to provide intelligence for a set of events that occurs. Rules writing means that for every possible event or combination of events that might occur in a complex distributed network, you need to create a rule that accounts for that condition. The problems with this approach are obvious—there’s no built-in analysis, the solution can’t scale with the constant change so characteristic of today’s networks, and it’s very expensive, time consuming and labor intensive, because the rules-writing never ends.

    VMware Smart Assurance takes a different approach since it relies on two key technologies:

  • The VMware Smart Assurance Common Information Model

  • The patented Codebook Correlation Technology

    The VMware Smart Assurance Common Information Model is based on the DMTF standard and is extended to include many classes and relationships. It is a conceptual and structural view of systems that applies object-oriented concepts to systems management. It provides a unified representation and classification of logical and physical entities that describes their state, behavior and relationships.

    The model uses generic objects, such as Switch, Host, Application or Service Offering, to represent IT infrastructure devices and their authentic problems. The model is basically a library of generic physical and logical objects that includes attributes, relationships it can participate in with other objects, authentic problems, characteristic symptoms of problems it can cause, and how the problems propagate to related objects. These generic objects represent a wealth of knowledge about that type of object and its behavior. By associating business objects, such as services and customers, with applications at the edge of the network, VMware Smart Assurance can automatically correlate IT problems to business impacts.

    Object and relationship instances discovered in the environment are instantiated with the library of generic objects to automatically become part of a real-time inventory of, or repository for, the managed environment.

    The Codebook is layered over the model to monitor the environment, look for combinations of symptoms that indicate service-affecting problems, and deliver the actionable intelligence needed to prioritize corrective action on the problems that matter most. Problem signatures, which are a set of symptoms that create a unique identifier for a problem, are derived from the library and repository. These signatures are stored in the Codebook.

    VMware Smart Assurance IP Manager provides powerful discovery, modeling, root-cause, and impact analysis capabilities across the IP network, including network-attached storage. The product suite is distributed on a CD/DVD-ROM and available for download from vmware online support. It is installed, by default, to the /IP subdirectory under the InCharge root directory. The VMware Smart Assurance Installation Guide for SAM, IP, ESM, MPLS, and NPM Managers provides the procedure to install services manually for the underlying servers used in the IP Management Suite.

    VMware Smart Assurance IP Manager represents the following VMware Smart Assurance Domain Managers:

  • VMware Smart Assurance IP Availability Manager

  • VMware Smart Assurance IP Performance Manager

  • VMware Smart Assurance IP Server Performance Manager

  • VMware Smart Assurance IP Availability Manager Extension for NAS

  • VMware Smart Assurance IP Configuration Manager

    A Domain Manager is a service assurance application that is associated with a particular type of information technology domain, such as networks, systems, applications, or application services. For IP Manager, the domain is IP network transport. Each Domain Manager is autonomous in the sense that it:

  • Maintains its own data models, repository, and problem signatures.

  • Monitors and analyzes the discovered objects in its own domain.

    The IP Availability Manager and IP Performance Manager are examples of VMware Smart Assurance Domain Managers. You can choose to start IP Availability Manager (AM) only, IP Performance Manager (PM) only or a combination of both IP Availability Manager and IP Performance Manager (AM-PM). The configurations and licenses that are applied to an IP Manager at startup determine which discovery and analysis will run.