vScope is making its move to the intranet so that more people and functions in the organization can have easier access to crucial information about the IT infrastructure.
In vScope 1.7.8 we introduced Breakdown Tables. This is a simplified way of viewing tabbed tabled broken down by Service, Customer, Organization, Site, or anything else you might find relevant.
Here is how to set up a Breakdown Table:
- Go into Preferences and select Breakdown Tables under Web Access and APIs
- Name your Breakdown Table (such as Customers, Services, Sites etc…)
- Select a table preset to define what columns to publish in this view
- Decide on a “master”-tag that you use as critera for breakdown. Each Value of this tag will become a separate tab in the breakdown view. You may use a “Customer tag” if such exists, or use something that is there directly after a first discovery (e.g. VMware Folder, Resource pool, or Operating System)
And here is how to find it on the web:
Many IT organizations experience that more than 1/3 of the budget is spent on people costs. Much of this time is spent on tracking configurations and performing manual routines and follow-ups.
“-We know that the backup software is performing, but which servers are actually lacking backup?”
“-What machines do not have anti-virus installed?”
“-What resources can we optimize so that we can postpone or avoid new investments?”
The list of questions is long, but chances are good that the answers are found in vScope!
In vScope 1.7.7 we have made an effort in attacking the manual routine work by automating configuration and performance audit. In other words it lets you achieve more in less time, thus saving in on your people costs. It’s time to release the power of your IT guy and enable him to work where he adds the most value. Leave the routine work to vScope.
Running vScope as a stand-alone software has many benefits in itself. But in the heart of vScope, there is also a powerful CMDB which can be integrated into other systems making the benefits even greater.
“Technology-wise, vScope is based on a next generation CMDB. On steriods!”
Konrad Eriksson, CTO InfraSight Labs
- Enhance the feature set in your existing systems and bring vScope use cases in to your existing tools. Integration is done though any of the vScope APIs (REST-access in json, XML and HTML).
- Use the unique vScope user interface to browse/view/analyse your IT from virtually any perspective you like
Using vScope as a CMDB is extremely cost efficient. Start by a low licensing costs without upfront investments. Then consider the low costs for setting it all up. You’ll be up and running in minutes! And along the way, say goodbye to manual updates in the CMDB. vScope is 100% automatic. And maintaining your vScope installation in itself is not a very resource demanding task. All in all, this is adds up to a very attractive total cost of ownership.
Read more about the Coren-technology, which in itself is also actually quite cool!
There are many reasons to maintain good control over configurations: keep risk levels low, house-holding with resources and licenses, facilitate problem solving and datacenter navigation, maintain correct billing and much more.
The people working with in your IT probably have the best knowledge about what configurations should look like already. But configurations constantly change, and this makes it difficult and time consuming to secure that all policies are kept.
vScope let me see my datacenter with new eyes. Thanks to vScope, we found and corrected several config inconsistencies before they caused problems!
In vScope, sorting, filtering and grouping makes it easy to view any IT-infrastructure with new fresh eyes. Experience has shown that this is an exceptionally good way to catch configuration violations quickly. It is also a great way to facilitate audit.
vScope in itself does not always know what a configuration should be, but vScope can present the facts in a way that makes it easy for technicians to discover potential problems early. Problems include, but are not limited to
- Servers in wrong folders
- Incorrect user/group access
- Missing anti-virus
- Inconsistencies in server configuration
- Incorrect patch-levels
- Incorrect server templates
- Mixed networks
- Wrongly configured vlans
- Incorrect patch-levels or configuration of switches
- and much more…
As said, the people in in your IT department probably know best already. All that is needed now is that they become aware!
Creating facts material for datacenter billing could be a tiresome exercise. A common way of dealing with invoicing is to manually update a billing system for each billing period (e.g. each month). It is not unusual that reporting of provisioned servers is done though a spreadsheet, which is later manually inputted into a CRM- or billing system. This process often involve several functions, like datacenter management, service delivery teams and invoicing/controlling.
While there is nothing wrong with the above approach there is room for improvements that can increase efficiency significantly.
- Automation can reduce the number of hours needed
- Manual routines lead to errors
- Errors leads to incorrect billing -> leads to unsatisfied customers -> leads to unnecessary high costs for customer service and correction
- Lost billing is a lost profit
- It is hard to follow up on customers’ actual usage (=margin)
- A spreadsheet does not give customers any value add in itself
- Manual routines are often unnecessarily dependent on certain people and the interaction between certain functions
- The measuring periods are sometimes longer than desired. E.g. one might want to be able to track changes by the day or week, but time only allows monthly or quarterly billing
vScope, which can be deployed in a few minutes, offer a way to improve this situation drastically. In its’ simplest form, vScope replaces the spreadsheet by automating the gathering and presentation of data, which is s real time-saver in the invoicing work to start with. The automatic classification feature help in tagging servers with the right customers, functions, service agreements etc – making the information richer and in context of business.
vScope is easily accessible to the people who need it, when they need it, so there is no longer required to involve several functions in gathering data and compiling reports each month. Since the discovery and gathering of data is an automated process, it can be performed more often and with more parameters. The result is richer data with higher granularity.
With the Table view, Reports or though the self-service web portal, billing- and accounting teams have access to correct data at any time! Creation of billing data has become so much easier!
But vScope offers more advantages which can make your operations smarter and more efficient. Having easily accessible information about customer usage enables you to perform analysis such as following up on profitability of each customer from KPIs like consumed and provisioned storage, number of active servers etc. Service delivery managers also benefit from this, as they can get a clearer picture of their clients’ installations in seconds. Using the history browsing and delta view functions gives a whole new dimension of the analysis making it easy to see trends and changes. Which disk or customer is growing the most? When was a certain change actually delivered? Which new products has been installed during the past year?
A good understanding of a client’s actual situation, is a good “reason to call”, and a starting point for additional sales of both services and products!
This example shows how vScope creates and presents information for people working with billing. vScope also offers excellent possibilities to further automate the billing process by integrating directly with an invoicing system. The possibilities to analyze data for human analysis remains of course!
Read more in this whitepaper or browse pictures below to see what it could look like.
Outsourcing of IT is convenient in many ways. But no matter how convenient the IT- or hosting management is:
As a CIO or IT manager, you can not outsource your responsibility or your costs.
How do you influence the cost structure of your IT? How do you secure a un-biased audit? And how do you get up on par on information about your IT, so that you have power to negotiate and plan your outsourced activities in the best possible way?
Outsourced IT or not, vScope provides a clear picture of the IT so that decision-makers are able to manage their IT more cost efficiently. Thanks to being capable of showing facts about IT from almost any angle, vScope adds value in measuring and planning cost drivers, as well as following up on a delivered service.
Furthermore, with better control and overview you will become more professional in your purchase role, making it easier for the hosting company to provide the service that you want.
- Pay less for outsourcing by identifying what you need and what you don’t
- Get full overview of your cost-drivers in outsourcing (Servers, RAM, CPU, storage, back-up, etc)
- Cut costs by identifying redundant resources and remove themBe better prepared to negotiate pricing or other terms with accurate information at hand
- Use documentation to benchmark prices from other partners
- Verify correct billing, and avoid being over-charged
- Understand usage and trends of existing cost-driving resources, e.g storage and back-up utilization
From vScope 1.6, there is a specific view to browse installed applications on servers and clients. In a few clicks, it is easy to display all software, patches etc installed on a specific computer, or find all installations of a specific software in the whole datacenter.
- Find all installations of a specific product or from a specific vendor. Make license audit and optimization easier!
- Browse all software installed on a specific computer/server
- Manage version control from one single view
- Find unauthorized software
- Find machines missing a certain patch
- And a lot more!
Now you can use vScope to keep an eye on your physical switches too! In vScope 1.6, support for SNMP-enabled devices, such as switches, is made possible. This makes it easy to maintain configuration control over several switches, in different locations, of different brands in one customizable dashboard (the Table view).
Physical (and virtual) switches are treated just like any other element in the Table view. Search, filtering, tagging, history browsing and comparisons can be used in the exact same way as with other elements!
(The SNMP probe in vScope also probes servers and clients for information about their provisioning and installed and running products and services.)
There are many reasons to maintain a good documentation of the IT, but the cost for creating a functional IT documentation is often (unnecessary) high. And the number of hours spent updating it is often under-estimated and not recognized. Many companies rely on many hours of manual routine work in spreadsheets or manually updated CMDBs. In most cases there is much important information (that could enable savings or optimizations, avoid failures, etc) not recorded at all. For this reason, IT documentation is often set aside. But frankly: What is the cost for not having any IT documentation at all?
Without a good picture of the IT landscape, IT departments are unable to deliver a cost effective service to their organizations.
vScope delivers a powerful, but easy-to-use IT documentation – Which you can use. With a correct, trustful and detailed IT documentation, IT departments work smarter and achieve higher results. Optimizations and savings are made possible. Budgeting and planning is done faster and with better results. There is less firefighting, and the IT organization can deliver a better service without disruption. Manual routines are avoided. And as an extra bonus, IT decision-makers often feel they are empowered in their decision making with vScope and that they receive higher trust from their peers!
Some benefits from using vScope as your documentation
- Maintain your IT documentation automatically
- Get access to a top class documentation structure you can actually use. For many things! (You might even want to replace other products)
- Save costs on software, hardware or outsourced resources
- Optimize existing investments
- Avoid or postpone new investments
- Get valuable insights into historical usage, trends and changes in your IT. With this insight your planning become correct.
- Enable your work force to work smarter and faster in areas like problem solving, budgeting, planning etc
- Maintain a top-class IT documentation with automation. Take away manual routines in keeping an IT documentation and/or a CMDB updated
Examples of features in vScope
- Automated discovery with scheduling. Just press ‘rec’, like on a tape recorder!
- No agents and Read-only access = Extremely low Total cost of ownership
- Platform independent
- Gather correct data with high detail. Also records the metrics and configurations you might need in the future
- Auto-classification through rule-based tags
- Full history of performance and configurations
- Search, filter etc on any vertical. Extremely powerful!
- Create reports. Share information in a self-service web portal
- Table view, Graph view and an automated compliance testing engine
A back-up protects your data so that you can avoid data loss. It is an insurance to avoid disaster. But it is also an important cost driver to keep track of regardless if this is service you pay for or if you manage the back-up yourself in your own datacenter.
Surely you have management tools to manage your back-up and restore routines already. But there are times when one might want to get an overall status report without having to log in to several different tools. One might also want to verify that the right services are backed up. To do this, the back-up information needs to be correlated with the existing IT inventory.
vScope records status updates from common back-up services like Veeam Backup and restore and vRanger, and breaks down the information into useful “tags” which can be used for sorting, filtering, reporting and much more.
As for everything else in vScope, the applications keeps a historical time-log over your backup status information. Furthermore, by using the cleaning-up feature, vScope also lets you re-claim the comment capabilities in the VMware vCenter, which is often cluttered with long status info.
Having a good understanding of your back-ups brings a lot of value:
- Avoid data loss. Of course, this is why you have a back-up service in the first place, but with vScope help you make sure you are backing up the right things and it also tracks relevant configuration changes
- Cost control for outsourced services. Identify costly redundant back-up and only pay for what you need!
- Identify servers where there is no backup
- Faster recovery. Track history to see where configuration has changed
- Re-claim the comment fields in vCenter
- Include back-up status in your reporting and decision-making material
- Report back-up incidents (but we bet your existing back-up management tool does this too…)