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CloudPhysics: Your VMware Performance Secret Weapon?

Startup CloudPhysics analytical service improves performance of virtualized environments; new downloadable apps troubleshoot problems.

Charles Babcock

August 12, 2013

3 Min Read

CloudPhysics doesn't know everything about managing virtualized environments. But it's learning fast.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based startup, freshly financed with $10 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, collects 80 billion data points a day from running virtualized environments it's monitoring. The cloud-based service collects information on virtualized system configurations -- which software combinations perform most effectively and which software stacks are most likely to fail. It then applies big data analytics to the data collected to mine the trouble spots. It's built up a knowledgebase that CEO and co-founder John Blumenthal claims can lead to "Google-like operations excellence" for virtualized enterprise data centers.

VMware upgrades and frequent changes and bug fixes to software lead to complex virtualized environments, making it difficult for administrators to remain fully informed on all aspects of the environment. VMware itself often publishes a dozen knowledgebase articles a week on vSphere, according to Blumenthal.

CloudPhysics has applied for a patent on its data center simulation system, which provides the virtualized resource management techniques the company uses to summarize and report to customers. It's intended to be an answer to the rapidly growing complexity of virtualized environments.

[ Want to learn more about why VMware is likely to remain at the forefront of virtualization, despite its doubters? See Don't Count VMware Out In Rough Seas. ]

CloudPhysics, which counts former VMware chief scientist Mendel Rosenblum and former VMware CEO Diane Greene among its early individual investors, emerged at VMworld 2012, winning the Best Innovation award with its monitoring service. On Tuesday Blumenthal announced a new packaging and extension of that service called the Card Store, which lets customers download applications to analyze particular problems and come up with a recommended best practices operation. Each card is focused on a user-defined problem.

"To paraphrase Apple, 'If you have an operational problem in your data center, there's a card for that,'" said Irfan Ahmad, CloudPhysics' co-founder and CTO. "With the Card Store, customers benefit from the collective intelligence of the IT community at their fingertips." The cards are run as software-as-a-service on the CloudPhysics platform. The card is connected to a local environment through downloaded connectivity software. The application analyzes the specifics of the user's environment, consults information from the knowledgebase, and proposes a solution.

Popular existing cards include vCheck suite, Security Hardening, Thin Provisioning Advisor, and KnowledgeBase Advisor. These cards were built through CloudPhysics' expertise or expertise tapped from known industry experts, Ahmad said in the announcement.

Customers can also use the CloudPhysics Card Builder to produce their own analytical application for a problem they define and customize it for their environment. They are invited to publish their solutions and share them through the Card Store with other VMware users.

In addition to specific problem solving, CloudPhysics provides remote monitoring that checks on the operational health of a given virtualized environment. The monitoring can provide a health check on the environment and warn of firmware bugs, hardware incompatibilities and other problems.

Virtualization administrators can also use the Card Builder application to gain insight into their environments through interactive queries. In response to specific queries, Card Builder may pull down pre-built cards with reports on the problem or find a community-constructed alternative.

Administrators can also use the service to analyze the servers, storage and networks they're currently provisioning to look for efficiency improvements, or they may opt to use the service for capacity planning purposes, using the data center simulator to test planned purchases against expected workload needs. Pricing for the service starts at $49 a month. For a limited time, users may download and try all existing cards in the Card Store for free.

CloudPhysics, which according to the company's website was built from engineering and other talent from Google, VMware and Cadence, is launching a contest to see what card users create on their own between now and the opening of VMworld on August 25. For more information, visit CloudPhysics' website.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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