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Hyper9 + SolarWinds = Virtualization Goodness

Level 19

We’ve written about the Hyper9 acquisition on The WhiteBoard and on Geek Speak, but I’m going to add a couple of thoughts and try my best to indicate where Hyper9 and our other related products are headed.

First off, why did we buy Hyper9?  As we’ve said before, we listen to our customers.  What we heard them telling us is that virtualization continues to grow in importance.  Moreover, we heard that they’re facing new management challenges around capacity planning, performance optimization, and configuration tracking.  We have a great engineering team, and they could have built what our customers needed, but it’s pretty clear that the problems they face are both serious and urgent, so we looked around at other companies offering virtualization management solutions.  To be honest, it’s not easy to find companies and products to join SolarWinds because their software has to meet the same standards as our software:  Easy to install, configure, deploy.  The UI has to be simple, yet powerful.  It has to be accessible to the little shops yet scale to the really big shops.  It’s not easy to find products like that because it’s not easy to build products like that. 

I can’t speak for everyone at SolarWinds, but one of my personal tests for evaluating other people’s software is whether I’m overcome with envy that someone else built something so good and that I didn’t get to be part of it.  That’s how I felt when I saw Hyper9’s product.  It’s pretty awesome.  Why didn’t I do that?  Sigh. My personality disorders aside, the quality of the product really came as no surprise because the product team is actually here in Austin.  Consequently, many of us already knew the folks on the Hyper9 team personally or by reputation.  Awesome product, awesome product team.   We bought Hyper9 because they solved the virtualization management problem so well that seemed like a much better option to join forces on this front than to compete with them.

If you have a virtual environment, you should check out Hyper9.  It’s a virtual appliance that you can download and drop on your VMware host.  Simple config process, and you’re collecting data.  You’ll find orphaned VMs.  You’ll be able to see how to squeeze more performance and more capacity out of your infrastructure. It’s got an incredible search engine that lets you find out anything you need about your VMs and their performance.   Plus, it’s just cool to play with that much new data. 

I do want to answer one of the questions we’ve started to get on thwack and directly to PMs about how Hyper9 relate to our existing Profiler product line, which has some virtualization-related functionality.  Where does each product fit?  Here’s the deal:  The Profiler product line is focused on storage management, but it has some virtualization features around mapping VMs to storage resources, which allows troubleshooting of VM problems such as those caused by multiple VMs contending for the same storage resources.  If you have a problem managing storage or a problem managing how virtualization impacts storage (or vice versa), then Profiler is the right product.  In contrast, Hyper9 is aimed at broad and deep virtualization problems like VM sprawl, performance optimization, and capacity planning—pretty much anything that isn’t storage.  Anyone who wants to get the most out of their virtual infrastructure needs Hyper9.

  • If you have a virtualization problem that has nothing to do with storage, you need Hyper9
  • If you have storage problem, but don’t much care about virtualization, you need Profiler
  • If you have a problem with the impact of virtualization on storage, you need Profiler
  • If you have a problems with storage, virtualization, and with the impact of virtualization on storage, you need both Hyper9 and Profiler.

And that’s how we’re going to invest in these products going forward:  Profiler will continue to focus on storage management, including storage management problems arising from virtual machines.  Hyper9 will continue to focus on all other aspects of virtualization management.  Will we integrate Profiler and Hyper9?  I can’t promise anything, but it wouldn’t be a shocker if we did, would it?

About the Author
"I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all..." (Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan). I was accidentally born as a Cajun from a small town in south Louisiana. Really far south. In fact, if you live south of where I grew up, then we are probably blood relatives. That it was an accident is indisputable because I grew up to be a geek reading science fiction and fantasy novels in a place where most people considered those genres only marginally more acceptable than the Communist Manifesto or the Satanic Bible (no offense to communists or Satanists).   I went to college to be an English major and accidentally stumbled across a psychology text among my girlfriend’s books and immediately fell in love with the cognitive psychology chapter. I loved it so much that I stuck with it until I got a Ph.D. from Rice University studying human memory. Note that this is cognitive psychology, not therapy or abnormal psychology. This is not an invitation to tell your non-SolarWinds troubles to me on Thwack.   Although I applied to many, many different universities in the U.S. and Canada, I ended up at LSU in Baton Rouge, which was more of a cosmic joke than an accident given that I’d been trying to escape the state all my life. I taught there as a professor for about 5 years before I realized that I was deeply bored and couldn’t imagine doing the same thing for 30+ years, which is what professors do. I realized that I wanted to get into the tech world because that’s where the other geeks were. Cognitive psychologists are fine folks, but you can’t count on them to take Battlestar Galactica or Buffy the Vampire Slayer seriously or to know an MMORPG from an RTS.   So I left LSU to work as a usability engineer for Compaq, which was possible only through the accident of a former colleague for Rice already working at Compaq. From there, I bopped through a series of jobs in the tech industry (IBM, BMC Software, NetIQ). I ended up at SolarWinds because I took a job at Winternals Software in Austin, only to have it bought by Microsoft a few months later. That our CEO was looking for product managers in Austin at just the moment that Microsoft was eliminating Winternals was just the latest happy accident. And that, my friends, was how I've ended up as the SVP of Product Strategy at SolarWinds. After 7 great years, I've moved on to other pursuits, but participation on thwack was a highlight of my time with SolarWinds.