VMworld 2017 Monitoring Survey
Kelsey Hanger | September 25, 2017

Moogsoft surveyed attendees at VMworld 2017 about the challenges they face & the tools they’re using to solve them.

Moogsoft surveyed attendees at VMworld 2017 about the challenges they face & the tools they’re using to solve them.

VMworld 2017 was full of big announcements. The most important of which came when VMware and Pivotal, in collaboration with Google Cloud, unveiled Pivotal Container Service (PKS), “a new product that enables enterprises and service providers to deliver production-ready Kubernetes on VMware vSphere and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), with constant compatibility to Google Container Engine (GKE).”

It was a very exciting show for VMware, and it was also a great show for Moogsoft because it was another opportunity to conduct our 2017 Monitoring Survey!

In this case, what happened in Vegas certainly did not stay in Vegas.

Tweet Section

63% of participants STILL USE EMAIL as their main notification tool.

VMworld Summary

So who did I interview? Unlike other surveys I recently conducted — at the Cisco Live, Velocity, and Monitorama shows — over 33% of the VMworld interviewees were System Administrators, an interesting difference when compared to the 47% Network Engineers who responded to the survey at Cisco Live. One similarity to Cisco Live respondents was that ZERO percent of them were DevOps / Site Reliability Engineers, which was definitely not the case with the Monitorama and Velocity Surveys.

The types of companies in attendance at VMworld also closely matched the types of companies we interacted with at Cisco Live — mostly large corporations in finance, telecommunications and healthcare.

Key Findings

  • The top 3 monitoring tools used by VMworld attendees are Splunk, SolarWinds, and Nagios
  • The top 3 monitoring challenges are the lack of a single pane of glass, alert noise, and alert correlation
  • On a scale of 1-10 — 1 being the most reactive company ever, and 10 being the most proactive — most respondents scored their companies at 7
  • The average level of alert volume per month most commonly cited by people we surveyed was in the thousands
  • The average number of P1 / SEV-1 incidents per month cited by most of the companies we surveyed was 0-2 per month

The Most Interesting Fact

Dissimilar to the Monitoring Surveys from Monitorama and Velocity and similar to Cisco Live,  the top monitoring challenge at VMworld was that attendees feel like they don’t have a single pane of glass through which to view their entire IT ecosystem.

This makes a whole lot of sense after thinking about what Sys Admins’ main role is. Since they’re responsible for maintaining the overall performance of their company’s services, of course they would want a single pane of glass to help them.

So why would these folks want more context in their monitoring ecosystem?

One explanation is that, according to our survey, 41.8% of them are dealing with “Thousands” of Alerts every month. (Monitorama and Velocity folks were mostly dealing with “Hundreds” of Alerts.)

Similar to the Velocity and Monitorama attendees, when I asked VMworld show goers where they ranked their companies on a level of proactiveness — on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the most reactive, 10 being the most proactive —  53.3% said their company is fairly proactive (6/7) when it comes to alert/event management.

So this begs the question: Given how similar their roles are, why is it that VMworld Sys Admins think that they’re a lot more proactive than the Network Engineers at Cisco Live?

I don’t know why one group thinks they’re more proactive than the other but I do have proof that these Sys Admins are in fact being proactive. When I asked them, on average, how many P1 / SEV-1 incidents (wide scale business impacting problems) their companies suffered, 51.2% of our survey participants said that they only experience 0-2 per month. Bravo! ?

The VMworld 2017 Monitoring Survey

Just over half (55.5%) of our survey respondents said that they don’t have an Event Manager. It’s also interesting to note that a lot of the legacy vendors — IBM, CA, and HP  made an appearance in this conference’s survey. (Sorry BMC, you got no love. ?)

AppDynamics is the #1 most used application performance monitor, with 42.8% of participants saying that they use the tool. It’s important to highlight that AppD is the APM leader for the second time in these Monitoring Surveys (first time was at Cisco Live).

SolarWinds is the #1 most used NPM, with 83.8% of respondents saying that they use the tool to monitor their network. SolarWinds is not-so-closely followed by Riverbed, with 22.5%.

With over 59% of the respondents saying that they use it, Nagios is the #1 most used Infra Monitoring tool. This comes as no surprise however, as Nagios — though loved by some and hated by others  is always in the top 3.

Splunk is still dominating the log scene with 88.8% of interviewees saying that they use it. It’s surprising that Logstash, from Elastic Stack, is only used by 7.4%  of respondents. This is rather low when compared to the past three Moogsoft Monitoring Surveys.

For the first time in the history of the Moogsoft Monitoring Survey  with over 66.6% reporting use  Apica wins the Synthetic Monitoring game. It’s no surprise that Gomez and Pingdom are tied for second.

Over 61.9% of respondents still use email to notify the right teams of an incident. Let me repeat that: Over 60% of respondents at VMworld STILL USE EMAIL as their main notification tool. This is the first time ever that email has beat out notification tools like xMatters, PagerDuty and VictorOps.

Another first: ServiceNow and Jira tied as the main ticketing tool among VMworld survey respondents.

Yet another tie: 48.6% of attendees say that they use Slack & Skype for communication. Normally Slack is #1 by a wide margin, so it’s great to see Skype continuing to bite at Slack’s ankles. Who doesn’t love some healthy competition?

In our language poll, Java got the #1 position, but Java Script came in at number… #4? It’s weird to see JavaScript not appearing in the top 3. This pair commanded the #1 & #2 spots in the Monitorama and Velocity Monitoring Surveys.

AWS continues to lead in the Cloud technologies category, with over 73% of those surveyed saying that they use Amazon Web Services.

Referring back to the PKS announcement, it’s nice to see that Pivotal made it to the Cloud (though only 3.8% of this show’s respondents said they use it). As the relationship between Google Cloud, VMware and Pivotal strengthens, maybe this number will rise in future monitoring surveys?

VMworld Conclusion

Here are the lessons I learned at VMworld:

  • Lesson #1: Don’t get lost!
  • Lesson #2: Don’t assume you know the dominant players in this ecosystem. The monitoring world is constantly changing — even from one event to the next  and the highly competitive nature of the players in this game can’t be ignored. Even if one tool has been dominating a category, it’s not safe to assume that it will continue to dominate in the future (unless it’s AWS).

So for the Apica’s of the world  all the small guys out there challenging the incumbent tools  I am eagerly awaiting your moment in the spotlight. Because, after all, Moogsoft is all about working with best-in-breed monitoring tools, regardless of whether or not they’re legacy players.

Moogsoft is the AI-driven observability leader that provides intelligent monitoring solutions for smart DevOps. Moogsoft delivers the most advanced cloud-native, self-service platform for software engineers, developers and operators to instantly see everything, know what’s wrong and fix things faster.
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About the author

Kelsey Hanger

Kelsey Hanger is a Product Marketing Manager at Moogsoft. When she isn’t writing blogs about AIOps or conducting Monitoring Surveys, she loves finding unique eats in and around SF and traveling to the parts unknown, whether that be a speakeasy in Oakland or the ruins of Monte Albán in Oaxaca, México. Feel free to tweet her @KelsHanger or connect with her on LinkedIn.

All Posts by Kelsey Hanger

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