“Google knows everything,” said my then 3-year old son Jesse to me one day as I looked up the answer to yet another of his endless stump-the-chump questions. How astute, I thought. And almost true.
It seems Jesse was on to something that several virtualization management providers have clued into of late. Google — or at least search – is a great way to get at just about any kind of information you might be after — including virtual environment configuration information.
That might explain the sudden explosion of search-based virtualization management tools. Splunk Inc., which pioneered the idea of applying traditional search and indexing techniques to IT management data, already has an application targeted at Citrix Systems’ XenServer environments and, in the coming days, is set to announce its VMware equivalent. Hyper9, formerly InovaWave, is also planning to show off a search-based virtualization management tool at VMworld before going into beta. Last but not least, today VKernel announced the availability of its free SearchMyVM tool, whose “Google-like” interface enables administrators to ferret out information about their environments, including virtual machines, hosts, clusters, storage, resource pools, files, snapshots, VMware tools, applications and configuration information, to name but a few items.
On paper, the idea of using search to discover IT elements – even virtual ones — makes sense, but part of me wonders whether search is really as effective when trolling log files and configuration data as Google Desktop is at indexing, say, my sundry email messages and Word docs. Obviously, integration with a virtualization platform’s application programming interfaces provides visibility into key configuration items, but is that enough? If you’ve used any of these IT search tools, I’d be interested to hear how useful you found them to be. Comments welcome.