Before this Runecast Analyzer first full Review, I had the opportunity to check Runecast, in its initial versions launched at the Beginning of 2017. Mainly when we had the vSphere 6.0 PSOD update 2, I use the tool to check any issues in our environment that could trigger this vSphere PSOD bug.
I also use the tool to do a full check in our VMware environment. Since I didn’t have many licenses was not possible to have a full view of our biggest VMware farm (dozens of ESXi hosts and thousands of VMs), but did notice that we had a great check detail on our environment and with a lot of useful configuration fixes to improve our environment.
Not only analyzing for VMware Best Practices, but also for better performance, security and always binding fix proposes to VMware KB. Even from the logs errors and how to fix them, still using VMware Knowledge Base for the proper solution/fix.
Meanwhile, Runecast has improved a lot and also grow to more robust monitor tool. Was on my list to give an in-depth analyze of this tool and write a review, but unfortunately, time is always short.
Now is time to have a better look at the tool and write a Runecast Analyzer first full review and adding some extra comments about the new features aversion 1.7.
Note: Would like to thank Runecast for providing me an NFR license so I can test their tool now and write this Runecast Analyzer first full Review.
What is Runecast Analyzer?
Runecast Analyzer is a monitor and optimization tool. But at the same time is more than that.
With Runecast you can not only monitor your VMware environment (and now vSAN also) but also detect and fix any problem in the environment (bugs, security or configuration).
By checking VMware knowledge base for Best Practices for vCenter, ESXi hosts, VMs, Virtual Network, Storage and, now vSAN, customers can now mitigate any outage in their environment. Giving the customer the ability to be proactive and fix issues in their environment by proving the appropriate steps to fix those issues according to VMware Best Practices.
Note: Runecast Analyzer also included in their portfolio the ability to detect and inform customers about MeltDown and Spectre chip issues on their ESXi hosts and vCenters.
“In addition to the VMware KB, Runecast Analyzer also uses the vSphere Security Hardening Guide and Security Technical Implementation Guide, together with industry Best Practices to analyze your environment.”
Personalty I work with VMware’s vRealize Operations and Veeam ONE for this type of monitor on my VMware farms, but those tools are complex to use and more expensive products.
I prefer Runecast for this type of reports and analysis. The size of your environment, the report detail, and automation, together with the budget, will, of course, define which tool is best suitable for your VMware environment.
Review Runecast Analyzer v1.7
First I will start to highlight the new features in Runecast Analyzer new version 1.7.
The main news and improvement in this new version is the support for the vSAN environment. When more and more customers are choosing vSAN for their Storage solution, this is an excellent tool to analyze and monitor your vSAN implementation for issues and Best Practices. Using Runecast to monitor their vSAN customers can now mitigate outages.
New product covered: VMware vSAN
The new version will analyze your VMware vSAN environment and as it does for your vCenter, will examine your vSAN for VMware Best Practices, but also for better performance and security. Keeping the vSAN configuration in optimal condition and preventing future failures or outages. In vSAN feature, again is included the analysis against Knowledge Base and Best Practices
Note: Will not go very deeply into vSAN Runecast Analyzer feature, since I plan to write a full article how to use this feature.
New VMware stack visualization of risks and issues
In this new version, Runecast did prioritized and sorted all issues by layer into five categories:
- Management issues
- VM issues
- Compute issues
- Network issues
- Storage issues
By stacking all issues (Runecast call this VMware Stack) in a board layer, Runecast did give the user the ability to have an easy view and quickly prioritize all issues in their environment by just clicking in each area and drill-down issues list.
By stacking all critical and major issues, Runecast gives a user the ability to react faster to a possible critical issue in the Network or Storage (vital resources in our VMware environment).
vSphere web plugin integration improvements (HTML5 and FLEX)
Version 1.7 also has some improvements in the vSphere plugin. The plugin feature displays information about your vSAN and vCenter / ESXi issues (depending which type of VMware environment is analyzing). The plugin will show any issues that were detected by Runecast Analyzer including a detail report about the root cause, and the proper steps to fix those issues.
Also in this new version, Runecast Analyzer updated VMware Knowledge base information in their product.
Runecast Analyzer first full Review
In this section, we will go through the main features and options in Runecast Analyzer.
Next is the central Dashboard from Runecast.
Display all discover issues stacked by Severity. Clicking on each severity gives us the issues list for all categories (Management, VM, Compute, Network, Storage) for Best Practices and Handling Security Violations.
In this section, the customer can have listed all issues regarding configurations. From vCenter, ESXi hosts, VMs, Storage or even Network.
An example of issues list above options:
Above in the new features on version 1.7 is already the description of this Layer Stack board.
4 – VMware KB issues found in logs
Display log related issues, base on VMware Knowledge Base. Runecast search VMware logs, check any errors and link to any VMware Knowledge base and provide the solution to fix it (if exists in KB).
Note: Runecast only analyzes logs if ESXi / VMs if is configured to send logs to Runecast.
How to configure ESXi / VMs to send logs to Runecast.
After selecting vCenter, you need to check which ESXi hosts or VMs are not enabled to send logs and choose the ones you want to be configured to send logs to Runecast.
Click “Configure Syslog settings” icon to select the objects to be configured.
Note: Objects with red cross are disabled, with the green check are already set to send logs.
Next just select the objects and click configure and Runecast will automatically configure ESXi hosts advanced settings “Syslog.global.loghost” and VMs Advanced settings “vmx.log.destination, In “value” column insert: syslog-and-disk”
In the next image, we can check that ESXi host has already changed within the “Syslog.global.loghost” option with the Runecast IP address.
ESXi host syslog can also be done to send manually logs to Runecast.
Enable Host logging
In order to enable Runecast log-KB correlation on this ESXi host you need to set
Syslog.global.logHost=udp://192.168.1.70:514in host’s advanced configuration settings and enable syslog in the host’s firewall
Note: Log analyses are from the last 7 days, the customer can change defaults by clicking right upper corner in date/time.
Just an example of Runecast Log analysis:
5 – VMware KB issues discovered in configuration
Display all issues found in your configuration environment based on VMware Knowledge base articles. If found any, Runecast will display to the customer detail information about the issue (again staking them by severity) and present the Reference VMware KB article and the way to fix according to best practices.
6 – Security compliance
The section where display all security rules based on the official VMware Security Hardening guides.
Display and check all best practices provided by industry related to VMware. Check not only VMware Best Practices but also others (can be security best practices or even hardware configurations). If Runecast checks fail in at least one object, will be flagged as fail.
Next is an example:
8 – Display all connected vCenter /vSAN to Runecast.
All information in the central dashboard and sub-sections are related to all your vCenters. If a customer wants to display information only to a particular vCenter/vSAN, need to select in all vCenter list.
Or click on the option “more” in the vCenter section on the dashboard and will display all analyzes, and information about your vCenter.
Note: Customer can click in “ignore” in any configuration issue, bug or security rule, next that issue will not be rechecked.
Lets us check how to check one issue and how to fix it (the process is the same for any of the above options regarding issues list).
Will choose an issue on the issues list randomly. Selecting the issue, we will get the details about the problem and the proper VMware KB solution for the issue.
Next, we need to check which objects have this issue and need to be fixed. Just click “Findings” option to get this information.
As we can see in the above image, the ESXi hosts “192.168.1.7” have the issue, while the ESXi host “192.168.1.8” doesn’t have this issue.
How to fix it:
Returning to the first image we just scroll down the issue detail (and the VMware KB) we get this:
This issue occurs because devfs heap is full.
Impact / Risks
Reboot is required for settings to take effect.
This is a known issue affecting ESXi 6.0.
Currently, there is no resolution.
To work around this issue, increase the value of storageMaxDevices to 1024.
To increase the value using vSphere Client, go to Software > Advanced settings > VMKernel > vmkernel.boot.StorageMaxDevices.
By default, Runecast Analyzer is set manually. It means that Runecast will not automatic analyze your VMware environment every day/week after the first analyses. You need to set this to automatic and set the analyze which best fits your business and environment.
Runecast Analyzer is unique, and there is nothing in the market like Runecast Analyzer.
Runecast provides to customers a tremendous value by checking their environment and compare with any misconfiguration regarding security, performance or just VMware bugs with VMware Knowledge Base articles.
Technicians when implementing any VMware environment always have in their checklist (as they should) about hardware and software “best practices.” Is essential to make sure our configurations are according to all vendor best practices.
When using Runecast Analyzer this work is more accessible, and if there are changes in those best practices, Runecast Analyzer will upload and read them to compare to your VMware environment. With Runecast you always have the best monitor and automation about the health of your environment.
The new feature for vSAN Runecast as again proved that the product as a market to be improved and also space to grow to other areas in VMware (Cloud? NSX?) and maybe even supporting in the future Hyper-V environments.
Runecast Analyzer presents the issue, provides the solution, but do not apply the solution itself (except to change the ESXi Syslog settings). That is something that Runecast Analyzer should implement in the next versions.
Some of the solutions are just simple setting changes that a simple PowerCli script can do. So, should not be difficult for Runecast Analyzer includes in the tool a feature that not only provides the solution but also providing the possibility to fix the issues with just one click.
Runecast Analyzer is available as a free 14-day trial for testing purposes. You can register and download Runecast Analyzer HERE.
Hope with this Runecast Analyzer first full Review you can have a better overview of Runecast Analyzer and decided to try it.
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