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New InfraDog features - VMware integration

InfraDog has a new feature being released today (Android, iOS to follow next week):

VMware integration!
I've been playing around with the final beta for the last 24 hours and have learned a number of interesting things about the new feature and the app in general.

  1. Adding the vCenter is super easy - on the management point software just add the vCenter hostnames, and it automatically picks up any attached hosts.  Push to cloud, done.
  2. Once on your device, it functions much like the regular server options, but you now have new tasks available (maintenance mode!) and an 'instances' section that populates with the VMs on that host.
  3. Clicking on a VM gives you server-like info with a few new options: remote console (view-only) and new tasks (the usual VMware soft/hard power options).
  4. I had one small UI complaint, but it turned out to be PEBKAC (PEBSAF?).  See below, because I enjoy embarassing myself in public.
From the main screen you hit 'System'.  This gives you the 'Windows Computers' and the new option 'VMware vCenter & Hosts'.  Hit the latter and you see your vCenters (greyed out) and their respective hosts (selectable).  Once you select a host, you have a new screen with the host info, instances (VMs), and tasks.

The issue: If you want to go back to the vCenter screen to select a different host, you must go back to the System menu.  Not a huge deal, but seems unnecessary.  At any rate...the extra tools you get for remote troubleshooting are 100% worth any small UI quirks.


Moving on
Let's look at a use case that I just made up in my head: You have an application server VM that is showing as down.  Event logs are clear, no prior warning.  Can't ping it or do any usual tests.  So you browse to the VM, hit the remote console, and boom: BSOD.  Reset the VM and after the boot cycle the application is back online, giving you time to research and figure out what broke it.

As someone who likes tools...having the right tool for the job is important, but having ANY tool is even more important.  Ever tried to take a screw out with your thumbnail?  Ya, you only try that once.  Point being, you might not use the remote console option or VM tasks options every day...but just having that tool in your pocket can make a big difference.

One last tidbit
I've been told it's okay to reveal this now...  A month ago or so I was invited to a seminar InfraDog put on to detail the VMware integration.  During the evening's presentation they also showed off their roadmap and some VERY cool features.  The one I'm most excited about is AD integration because due to legacy issues our users generate a lot of lockout tickets.

Mentioned this new option to my manager and it practically sold itself - the ability to unlock accounts/reset passwords (and more) from within the app would be a huge benefit to user happiness around here.  Other things like change group membership, update info, etc will also be good tools to have in your back pocket.

Maybe they should rename the app to SwissArmyDog...

Haha, turns out you can also modify the CPU/RAM config of a VM inside the app.  Just select a VM, then click on the CPU or RAM field.  You see usage as well as re-configure sliders.  Cool!!

I also forgot to mention vMotion...that's one of the VM tasks.  Works perfectly!


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