Runecast Analyzer – take my money already!

Have you ever upgraded firmware, or installed a driver, only later to find out that it’s not compatible with vSphere or ESXi?

Maybe I’m just the only one who doesn’t check the HCL or release notes before doing stuff like that.

TL;DR = If you manage infrastructure, and have to comply with regulations (or a boss)… This tool will save you time and money!

I guess I got some stuff to work on!

Got your attention, so what does it do!

I’m not going to bore you with setup, it’s your typical- deploy, pair, run – scenario. So let’s get right into the awesome stuff. What I’ll talk about below are actual screenshots from my lab environment showing you all the stuff that it found wrong.

Compliance

Let’s start with the stuff that’s generally the biggest P.I.T.A. – compliance. Runecast takes all the work out of compliance. You simply point the appliance at your cluster; it does its magic; and you get a pretty dashboard!

There are various compliance profiles to select from.

As the screenshot above shows, they have profiles already configured for the most popular compliance standards. They really take the guess work out of this!

Conclusion – DO NOT EVER PUT YOUR CREDIT CARD INFORMATION ANYWHERE IN MY LAB … Apparently it’s not PCI compliant!

Not too surprised about my PCI-DSS security

VMware Best Practices

All kidding aside, even if you don’t need all those security hardening tips, Runecast is also great for making sure your infrastructure meets general VMware best practices.

I can’t even imagine how much time it would have saved me when I was installing VMware clusters regularly. Instead of manually going through things, I could have just ran the tool, and it would have told me what was wrong and how to fix it!

Simple best practices like NTP are easily found too!

Do you look at your syslog files?

If you do, do you know what your looking for? Do you look at them daily even when things aren’t acting funny?

Runecast does.

In fact Runecast will even configure your hosts to sent logs to the Runecast appliance.

Runecast configuring syslog settings

Then it will graph the messages, and highlight issues that it finds.

Runecast Log Inspector

Conclusions

I have to say I’ve seen Runecast at VMworld for years, but I’ve never really looked into them until recently. I should have years ago!

I can see use cases for both small and large I.T. shops. In a smaller environment, I think Runecast could save you from having to hire an extra person for compliance and infrastructure maintenance.

In a larger I.T. shop where hardware is still in abundance, Runecast is going to make it manageable for the people who are managing compliance and maintenance. I would bet that if you put this in a shop that has people managing HIPPA or PCI compliance it will still find stuff that was missed. (nothing against those people… but it’s impossible to be as thorough as this tool!)

Overall, I recommend you try it for yourself, and if you do leave a comment and let us know what your thoughts are too!

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