Vendor Brief: Runecast

This evening I was amongst a group of vExperts attending a webinar briefing from Runecast. The company is relatively new on the scene at only a couple of years old, but the product has created a stir in the VMware community.

In this briefing CEO Stanimir Markov gave an overview of the product before Senior Engineer Ivaylo Ivanov dived into a walkthrough of the vRealize Operations integration they have developed.

Runecast Analyzer is a platform which takes the VMware knowledge base,along with some expertise, best practises, and regulations (for example the DISA STIGs used by US Federal Agencies) and runs an analysis to determine which of these advisories or best practises apply to the target virtual infrastructure. This produces a report of findings – perhaps there’s a missing patch, or a configuration issue which has been flagged as a potential trouble-spot – which exposes existing issues and enables the admin to keep their infrastructure running smoother. Runecast also scour social media, blog articles, and online forums to pick up on potential issues sometimes before they have been officially recognised by VMware and made it into the Knowledge Base.

The application is deployed as a virtual appliance and sits in the datacentre where it can talk to vCenter(s) and the ESXi hosts themselves (for example to receive host logs via syslog). The current version - Runecast Analyzer 1.6.2 – will support vSphere 5.x and 6.x versions. Although it usually requires an internet connection to download the latest updates, no data is sent back and in high security environments it’s even possible to run the system totally disconnected from the internet- providing updates on downloaded and tested ISO images.

VMworld this year saw the launch of the vRealize Orchestrator plugin which was covered in the demo portion of this briefing. This integration allows the potential for more automated responses to issues. As an example,  if there’s a Knowledge Base article which states that a certain configuration may cause an error and suggests a fix or workaround, a vRO workflow could be put together to interrogate the Runecast Analyzer instance, spot affected objects in the environment and apply the fix.

The Analyzer product is continually developing. vSAN and NSX support are on the roadmap along with integration with PCI-DSS compliance checks. If all this sounds interesting, check it out- there’s a free 14-day trial available through the website.

Beginners Guide to….. Runecast Analyzer

What does it do?

Monitors your environment against a list of VMware KB articles, and other industry guidelines to proactively avoid problems ensure your virtual infrastructure is running to best practises.

What do I need to buy?

Runecast Analyzer deploys as a virtual appliance with licensing based on ESXi sockets. There is a free 14-day trial.

How do I use it?

Deploy the OVA to your environment and point it at vCenter. Management of the product is via an HTML5 web interface, the vSphere (or VRO) Client via a plugin, or a REST API.

Where can I find out more?

Please read my standard Declaration/Disclaimer and before rushing out to buy anything bear in mind that this article is based on a sales discussion at a trade show rather than a POC or production installation. I wasn’t paid to write this article or offered any payment.