I’ve been analyzing Scott Lowe’s competitive matrix for virtualization management in my last few blog posts, and, as always one thing is constant: CHANGE. I was all set to write about Quest vKernel and vFoglight as they are today, and all of a sudden, a deal was announced for Dell to acquire Quest. We knew things were going on when Quest announced plans for a management buyout a few months ago that would take them private. The acquisition by Dell was something that I, personally, didn’t expect. I think this late development just adds to the consternation that current Quest customers feel today.


Since the Quest vKernel and vFoglight offerings remain the same today, we’ve built a head-to-head comparison of SolarWinds Virtualization Manager vs. Quest vKernel & vFoglight for a detailed look at what each product offers. It’s probably worth noting that both vKernel and vFoglight were the results of two different Quest acquisitions (vKernel in 2011 and Vizioncore in 2008). The Dell acquisition of Quest means that these products will now be touched by a third set of managers’ hands. Many in the industry think that the vKernel acquisition was a significant vote of no confidence in the vFoglight platform from the Quest management team. However, because of some functionality missing from vFoglight, their hands were really tied. So, in vKernel, Quest acquired a product with a lot of overlap with vFoglight.


Generally, vKernel is a pretty good product that was built to address most of the same issues that SolarWinds Virtualization Manager addresses. Where Quest (or Dell) takes this platform from here is anyone’s guess.


vFoglight is a different story. There are several differences to note with this product versus the rest of the virtualization management market. First, it’s a physical installation for Windows (most virtualization management offerings today, including SolarWinds Virtualization Manager and Quest vKernel, come as virtual appliances).


I’ll outline what I believe are the most important distinctions in VMware monitoring between SolarWinds Virtualization Manager and Quest vKernel and vFoglight here:


  • Quest vKernel vOps Enterprise is really just a repackaging of vKernel vOps with vFoglight Pro. These two, separately-installed tools have a significant amount of overlap and very little, if any, integration between the two. So, those expecting to get an elegant, single-pane-of-glass solution will not find it with this product.
  • Quest vFoglight totally skips functionality like capacity optimization, VM sprawl control, and configuration management. In order to get capacity planning and chargeback/showback, users have to purchase Quest vFoglight Pro at a hefty premium.
  • Quest vFoglight Pro offers some physical layer management capabilities, but these have a reputation of being hard to implement.
  • SolarWinds Virtualization Manager provides a simple-to-deploy virtual appliance that lives up to its promise of a single-pane-of-glass management console with seamlessly integrated functionality.
  • Virtualization Manager’s TimeTravel feature gives you the ability to do a forensic analysis of what changed in your environment that caused a performance problem. Quest doesn’t give you this functionality in any of their virtualization management products.
  • SolarWinds Storage Manager, VMware monitor enables integration between virtual resource management and physical storage management for full VM-to-spindle mapping for faster troubleshooting.
  • VMware performance monitoring with SolarWinds Virtualization Manager has the advantage of a strong, stable roadmap. With the amount of overlap in the Quest portfolio, the odds are very high that management (whoever it is) will eventually rationalize that portfolio.  That could mean a huge waste in time and investment for customers that made the wrong bet on the products they implement.


At the end of the day, Virtualization Manager, the ideal VMware monitoring software is significantly less expensive than Quest solutions with similar feature sets and allows you to stay out of the coming acquisition ambiguity as Dell attempts to swallow Quest.