Last week at VMworld we asked a secret shopper to visit all the major cloud management vendors (BMC, CA, HP, IBM, and CA Nimsoft) and ask the Toughest Cloud Management Question.
VMworld is a great place to do this. Because the attendees are very smart and experienced and the people working the vendor demonstration stations know their products very well.
It's a great question. It's simple and understandable. And the answers are revealing, because to solve it you need to follow links from the consumer's service to the virtual machines and hosts and through the datastores to the storage device. Then you need to take into account whether load balancing is allowing the service to continue functioning with lower capacity and whether automatic Vmotion-style recovery has completely hidden the infrastructure problem from the consumer.
Our Secret Shopper reported that only Zenoss said "Yes, of course." And demonstrated it, live.
For the other vendors, we think their answers show just how unready they are to provide real cloud management. We'll keep the answers anonymous to protect the guilty, but here's some of what they said:
"I don't think there's a link between our hardware infrastructure and service management products."
"To find out which customers are affected by a storage issue, you'll need to go into vSphere."
"We don't have any 'cloud consumer' views that would tell you who is affected by a storage issue."
"Sure it will work, as long as all the relationships are defined in the CMDB."
"Let me have someone get back to you about whether we manage storage devices."
Go ahead and try our our question for yourself. We think you'll learn a tremendous amount about who is really ready to help you manage your cloud.