Just a few months ago I was talking about the awesomeness of vRealize Log Insight 4.6 in this post. This product has always been one of my favorites so I was surprised when VMware announced the End of Availability (EoA) on July 16, 2018, and the End of General Support of vRealize Log Insight 4.6.x on August 23, 2019.

VMware is announcing the End of Availability (EoA) of vRealize Log Insight for vCenter Server starting with the next release and all future releases of Log Insight. The current version of Log Insight, version 4.6.x, is the last release that will support the Log Insight for vCenter Server capability. The next release will not accept vCenter Server license keys for activation.

You can witness the sad truth of the product lifecycle matrix here.

vRealize-Log-Insight

A: For this product version, an exception to the End of General Support has been applied.

What does this mean?

Until the current version 4.6 of Log Insight, you could use a vCenter license key that entitled you to 25 OSIs (sources of logs, i.e. ESXi, Guest, vCenter…) without buying the full vRealize Log Insight. A few features aren’t available with a vCenter license like HA but it was still great, especially for customers who run a small to medium size infrastructure. If you had less than 25 hosts, you could gather the logs of all of them and still have a few spare ones for other components to forward their logs.

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From now on, you will still be able to download and use Log Insight 4.6 with a vCenter license under the same conditions but if you want a newer version you will have to open your wallet and choose one of these options:

  • Purchase Log Intelligence, a new VMware SaaS offering as part of VMware Cloud Services, supporting both public and private clouds, with a 30-day free trial
  • Upgrade to vRealize Suite, our enterprise ready cloud management suite
  • Purchase full vRealize Log Insight as a standalone product

As you can see VMware is enticing people to move to the cloud like they have been doing for the past few years. 6.7 was quite obvious in this regard.

Now let us look at our options and see which one would be a good fit.

Log Intelligence

Pretty much a SaaS version of vRealize Log Insight. Log Intelligence offers unified visibility across private clouds and AWS, including VMware Cloud on AWS. The difference between vRealize Log Insight and Log Intelligence is that the latter provides unified visibility across public clouds. With these two solutions, you can consume VMware’s cloud log management solution either as a service by using Log Intelligence or deploy it within your datacenter with the vRealize Log Insight Appliance. Also, while Log Intelligence supports a core set of capabilities, it does not yet support the full set of capabilities represented in vRealize Log Insight.

The billing is on-demand based on your monthly consumption with a price per GB.

vRealize-Log-Insight

Pros

  • You only pay for what you use
  • No need for sizing or resource allocation to the syslog server
  • Unified view if you have AWS and an on premise infrastructure

Cons

  • Only 30 days retention
  • Available in the US only (for now)
  • Internal security policies may forbid to store the server logs in the cloud

More info here.

vRealize Suite

The Rolls Royce of the infrastructure management and automation that will set you back the big buck. You wouldn’t typically go for vRealize Suite if all you need is Log Insight. It is defined as a hybrid cloud management platform (CMP) that includes a suite of solutions under the vRealize umbrella:

vRealize Automation: Automated delivery of personalized infrastructure, applications and custom IT services.

vRealize Operations: Intelligent Operations from applications to infrastructure that helps organizations plan, manage and scale their SDDC.

vRealize Log Insight: Real time log management and log analysis.

vRealize Business for Cloud: Automated costing, usage metering, and service pricing of virtualized infrastructure.

vRealize-Log-Insight

As you can see Log Insight is only a fraction of vRealize Suite. There are 3 editions with Standard, Advanced and Enterprise. I found public prices on a retailer’s website. These are prices per CPU or 15 OSIs in the cloud.

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It is licensed using Portable License Unit (PLU) regardless of whether they are on-premises on vSphere, third-party hypervisors, physical servers, or supported public clouds. One PLU allows usage of vRealize Suite to manage unlimited operating system instances (OSI) deployed on-premises on one vSphere CPU or up to 15 OSIs deployed on the public cloud.

vRealize-Log-Insight

Pros

  • Comprehensive suite to manage your Hybrid SDDC
  • Great if you already have a few vRealize products

Cons

  • Not attractive to small/medium customers
  • Expensive
  • Complexity and skills required to manage

vRealize Log Insight

Like mentioned earlier, the end of availability is not announced for the product but for the fact that you cannot use vCenter licenses with it anymore. You could already buy Log Insight pre-4.6 but for a lot of folks, the vCenter license was sufficient. If you want to keep using vRealize Log Insight in future versions, without going in the cloud with Log Intelligence of full Robocop with vRealize Suite, you can still buy the standalone product.

There is not much more to say here as we know the product and what it does. Though it can be useful to point out the features that were not available using a vCenter license:

  • Clustering
  • High Availability
  • Event Forwarding
  • Archiving
  • 25 OSIs maximum
  • No access to third party content packs

The product can be licensed in 2 different ways:

Per OSI (Operating System Instance): Any unique source that sends logs to the appliance. vCenter Server includes 25 OSI licenses out of the box. You can then buy additional packs

Per CPU: Any log data sources from a single CPU, regardless of hypervisor or number of guest OSs. For example, if you buy 2 CPU licenses for your dual CPU hypervisor (VMware, Hyper-V…), you will be able to send logs from the hypervisor itself and all the guest VMs running on it

I found some prices from the same retailer as vRealize Suite. Again these are public prices so your mileage may vary…

vRealize-Log-Insight

Pros

  • The vRealize Log Insight we know and love
  • On premise

Cons

  • Not cheap
  • Not “Cloud friendly”

Free alternative

I am a big fan of the product but small customers will suffer from this change. Even though you will be absolutely fine running version 4.6 for a while, a day may (will) come where you need to rethink your strategy; either pay the bill or look for something else. Which is why I cannot write about this without offering alternatives to Log Insight to those that can’t afford to pay 5000$ for the 25 OSIs that used to be “free” (minus the few features mentioned earlier).

SexiLog

Despite its frivolous name that will make you extremely uncomfortable bringing it up in a meeting, this French product is really great and works very well. It comes as an OVA appliance just like Log Insight and is easy to set up.

It is based on the ELK stack (ElasticSearch, Logstash, Kibana) and comes with a whole bunch of dashboards and filters that will save you a lot of time compared to a Vanilla ELK stack. Among the dashboards available are:

  • VSAN
  • vMotion / DRS activity
  • Windows Event Logs
  • Storage IOPS
  • vCenter sessions
  • SQL long execution time
  • SCSI sense data

Of course, you will need to get your hands dirty to get the server to fit your needs like vRealize Log Insight would do it out of the box but you get it for free so it might be worth it in the end?

More info here

Conclusion

All in all a choice that is understandable by VMware with regard to its quest towards the cloud, but a choice that may not receive a warm welcome from the customers. However, there is no rush for now as version 4.6 was released only a few months ago but definitely something to look into in 2019.

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