This is the first part of my vendor / booth evaluation during a tech-conference. Let’s have a look at the young and innovative company #Runecast I have visitied during #VMworld 2016 in Barcelona.
Disclaimer: The following text is a personal impression and opinion. Feel free to contact me or use the comment section as information-exchange media.
General information about my evaluation criteria can be found here:
See a summary of all ‘lenzker visit’ posts right here.
Lenker’s visit of Runecast: Summary
Market position :|
- What problem does the demonstrated solution solve and which ones does it create?
- The product Runecast Analyzer can be categorized as a pro-active operations management solution. In general Runecast Analyzer gathers data from the existing vCenter and compares this information against any known issues defined within VMware’s knowledge base articles or other community related sources. Besides that, Runecast promise us to check the environment against the current version of vSphere’s hardening guide and to give us some log analysis opportunities.That sounds quiet simple and is properly one of the product ideas most of us would say: ‘Why didn’t I came up with this idea?’. Runecast run as an on-premises ( ‘ssss – wow I did it’) solution in form of a virtual appliance and requires vCenter read-only access and a proper ESXi syslog configuration. To stay up-to-date the Runecast Analyzera appliance requires internet access and that’s it. Within an easy and clean HTML5 user-interface an operator can find any relevant information he needs to react on problems that might occur in a nearer future. Runecast’s Analyzer is not a disruptive solution that re-invents the wheel, but it tries to stick to its core competence in a very easy and slick way. The more complex our environments are becoming, the more important it gets that we are able to identify potential issues at the earliest point in time. Within vSphere 6.0 many people would have benefitted with such an solution informing you early and automatically about the CBT bugs or similar.The Appliance is quiet small with 1.2 Gbyte in size, just register at the Runecast website and download the Appliance.
- Which functionalities are lacking or can be improved?
- 1 Runecast Analyzer per vCenter server required (no single solution for multiple vCenter)
- No public documented API
- Definition of own criterias to test against not possible (You must rely on Runecast’s dataset)
- Support for VMware vSphere only
- No vCenter Server log files used for analysis
- Pattern-update done with VAMI update mechanism
- How easy is it to install the solution?
- The installation is quiet easy. Download the appliance, deploy it, set basic network parameters, connect it to the vCenter Server and configure syslog on the ESXi hosts. The overall process should not take longer than 30-60 minutes.
- How well does it integrate with an existing IT-landscape?
- As mentioned earlier the installation and integration in the existing environment is quiet easy. Since Runecast Analyzer will not be an dependent layer we are not dealing with bigger availability risks right here. The software can be easily backed-up via vSphere API for Data Protection in case some data corruption/data loss occurs.
- How easy is a transition into production (handover/knowledge-transfer)?
- Every experienced vSphere admin will feel comfortable with the product. It is easy deployed, the slick and clean User-Interface is self explaining.
- How is the product licensed?
- Runecast Analyzer will be licensed per Processor/CPU Unit of the monitored ESXi.
- Which maturity has the company?
- Runecast is a small company based in London (UK) with around 10 employees across the globe. Founder Stanimir Markov is a fellow VMware Certified Instructor (VCI), a VCDX and a very kind/smart guy. Runecast has been founded in 2014 and is still in a start-up phase. The current company evaluation is unknown to me. Their product has a simple story for the customer and should therefore be easy to create monetarization.
- How can you purchase the solution?
- Runecast Analyzer can be purchased directly via their own Sales channel across the globe.
- What are the biggest current customer?
- Runecast’s biggest customer at the moment are Indonesian Cloud, German Aerospace Center (DLR) and a few more (can be found on their website)
- Who are the opponents on the market?
- Opvizor, vRealize Operations and Log Insight
- How do they differentiate from the opponents?
- vRealize Operations offers much more functionality than Runecast’s solution. The functionality is clear defined. Use existing configuration and log-data and compare it against know issues. Pretty simple and therefore something really useful for companies who does not need the complete vRealize Operations stack. I love vRLI and vROPS, but both of them are solutions I call ‘monster’. You definitely need training and implementation effort (if you need so: hire me :D), otherwise you will get punched down by the functionality. So far I have not gathered any more practical experience with Opvizor, but from a functional level it seems that they play in the same league offering configuration and health-check services.
- How easy is it to get access to the binaries and documentation?
- Runecast Analyzer can be easily evaluated with a fully function set of 30 days. vExperts can gain a 1 NFR year license by contacting Runecast directly.Runecast makes it quiet easy to get a first look-and-feel by offering a Internet based demo solution (User: rcuser / Runecast!). In my opinion that is a very important offering to demonstrate capabilities. Talking honestly: If a company is not able to give me a chance for quick hands-on they fall rapidly out of my tech-radar (look at that Airwatch!!!).
- How much help can we get from the community?
- The complexity of the product and maturity of the company leads to the fact that we don’t see an active community like we have it with Veeam or VMware. But to be honest, the simplicity of the product itself does not require a bigger community. Many of the Runecast employees are vExpert’s, so I assume we can get quick answer when contacting them via Twitter, E-Mail, etc.
- How skilled was the staff at the booth?
- I had the chance to talk directly to founder and VCI colleague Stanimir Markov. Since he is a technical guy and the head of Runecast’s Analyzer he was pretty deep into the product and what’s coming up in the future. Stanimir was quiet thankful for every feedback and feature-proposals I had. From a personal level I always appreciate when people try to make a fortune and create their own companies. I wish honestly Runecast all the best for the future!
- How good was the demonstration of their solution?
- The demo was slick and simple. We are able to go through a lot of functional aspects within less than 20 minutes. I would recommend everyone to deploy the appliance and figure out Runecast’s Analyzer can help you with you vSphere management operations.
- How would the product have changed my statements / life as a professional instructor/consultant in the last years?
- So far the product is not innovative enough to change my statements about specific things. That might sound that I have some negative concerns about the product which is not the case. It is a great operational enhancement tool, but it is not a radical innovation like Docker or any other disruptors on the market. A customer using Runecast’s appliance will know most of the deterministic outcome of a VMware health check delivered by a VMware Partner or PSO itself. It will not replace a professional external consulting of the own environment, but it will give faster, better and more granular access to information which is always something appreciatable.