icomasoft unveils its real strategy, launches opvizor public beta

In September 2008 a new European startup entered the virtualization market: icomasoft.

The company raised some popularity rather quickly thanks to a relatively simple plug-in for VMware vSphere clients that leverages the VMware PowerShell Toolkit:  VI PowerScripter.
The product can be used to automate any kind of task inside a VMware virtual infrastructure, but icomasoft has been smart enough to provide predefined workflows for mass provisioning, resource consumption graphs generation, hosts/VMs configurations export, etc.

Yet, VI PowerScripter shouldn’t be considered the company’s flagship product. It has been just labelled legacy, despite it’s still actively developed to current customers.
icomasoft has more ambitious plans, which start to become evident this week, with the public beta release of opvizor, a performance analysis platform that approaches the troubleshooting from a completely new perspective.

opvizor has been designed to monitor and troubleshoot virtual data centers performance by analyzing the support logs that vSphere can generate. This logs are exactly the same that a customer would have to generate to open a support ticket with VMware. icomasoft has develop a hosted web portal where customers can register and upload them.

opvizor comes with a log analyzer that can read the logs and let the customers search through them.
This alone is an area with remarkable room for innovation: imagine the opportunity if icomasoft could develop (or OEM) a search engine as powerful as the worldwide famous Splunk for VMware diagnostic files. But the company’s ultimate goal goes beyond that.

Once collected, the icomasoft engine starts data mining to understand the root-cause of any anomaly it can recognize inside the logs.
The anomaly analysis uses multiple techniques. One of them involves reviewing the logs against the best practices developed and published by technology vendors adopted by customers.
More than that, the engine is self-learning: each time a new issue has been successful troubleshooted, the best practices knowledge base is further enriched, making opvizor smarter over time.

The most interesting thing, however, is that customers can decide to share their logs, anonymously and in an encrypted fashion. In this case icomasoft can correlate the anomalies coming from different accounts and of course different configurations. This allows to build a much smarter knowledge base in a smaller amount of time, for the benefit of all present and future customers.

In its early versions icomasoft will solely focus on the relationship between the virtual infrastructure and the storage network, where most of the problems happen, according to them, and where VMware products provide less visibility.
Over time the company may move in two different directions: it can, of course, extend its analysis to other areas of the virtual data center, and, more importantly, it can start developing integration with change and configuration management tools. This last approach would allow customers to fix anomalies as soon as they happen, or even before they happen, if the collective intelligence coming from shared logs would be fully leveraged as expected.

So far icomasoft has been under the radar for most of its time. Partially because opvizor was not ready, partially because it’s penalized by the distance from the Silicon Valley.
Despite that, the company managed to raise two rounds of investments, for an undisclosed sum (virtualization.info heard something below $5M total).
We’ll see if now that the real strategy has been unveiled, there will be more interest or if the company will be forced to relocate its HQ in US.

Meanwhile virtualization.info rates the company “Worth Watching” in the Virtualization Industry Radar.