Embotics V-Commander 4.2 Review

Some years back I noticed this Embotics and its software at VMworld. Back then they also had a monitoring and reporting software called V-Scout that is now no more. The product has way to much in the way of features to get into all of them here. Check out the product page here for more information. After that VMworld I got in touch with Embotics for a demo because I though the software would my needs with managing multiple Virtual Center servers, as they were called at the time. We installed the product in the lab and while I did like the software it wasn’t the right time, the stars didn’t align or for whatever reason nothing materialized. Fortunately  sales persons like to keep in touch every so often to see whats going on and ask whether the time is right for another go round.

Recently everything came together for another engagement with Embotics and V-Commander. Many improvements were done since I had first touched the product but the main focus of single pane of glass for most operational tasks was still there. I have installed and tested some other products before that are kind of in the same space but they always ended up being so complex it took at least a day or more (work days) just to get the base configuration done. Then after that then the real work could begin. The installation of V-Commander literally took me only around 10 minutes which included creating an SQL database. That level of ease did not stop there either. The product was very intuitive for the most part but it is rough around the edges due to the fact that it’s all browser based. It’s hard to support every browser for web applications and it does show in minor areas of the product but there was nothing earth shattering.

One other thing to note is that they claimed to have Self Service capabilities which was not totally true in my opinion until version 4.x. In there previous version it was nothing more than a web form that submitted an email request. Now though it’s a different story. The Service Request feature now gives you the ability to have a request form with workflow built into it. A service request can now go through all of the required step with approvals and deploy the requested VM from a template all while keeping the requestor in the know from the V-Commander portal.

I’ll break down my review of the product into the Good and the Not so Good.

The Good:

  • Very easy to get installed and running
  • Single pane of glass to manage all of your vSphere environments
  • Self service
  • Powerful Reporting and Search
  • Support for SQL Server (this really improved the performance of the application)
The Not so Good:
  • Some tasks could be made more efficient (like adding access to vCenter servers)
  • Some tasks are can be very repetitive to do in a large environment

This should be noted:

  • You will want to use SQL Server which is now supported if you have a large environment. I did have noticeable slowness when using the default Postgresql database.
  • Now we’re in the VMware vCenter age where linked mode vCenter servers can be used to simplify management of multi vCenter environment but it only supports 10x linked mode vCenters. Plus the supported Maximums are reduced but that may not to big a deal for most.
  • This is not a true performance monitoring solution replacement. While you do get some useful information it’s nothing like what you get from using the vSphere client.
  • This is not for the configuration of your vSphere environment. Don’t expect to configure Distributed Switches or DRS with this V-Commander.

All in all this is a great product and I am so far happy with using it day to day. I have been fortunate enough to work with Jay Litkey and Colin Jack during the time of evaluating the product for a few month up until now where I use it in product. They were and are very receptive to my requests and seemed to genuinely listen to my feedback about the product. They now have a 30 day trial so you can try it out yourself.