If VMware’s Socialcast was a Web 2.0 collaboration tool looking for a 3rd platform problem to solve, it may have found one. 

Beginning today the once-upon-a-time Jive competitor is taking “social” to a whole new dimension. 

It's integrating people, processes and technologies together on one platform to help DevOps professionals get to the bottom of problems and solve them faster than ever before.

It’s doing so by bringing tools like GitHub, JIRA, join.me and PagerDuty to VMware’s new Socialcast Integration Store.

Beyond the Buzzwords

The marketing around the announcement sounds like a buzzword filled pitch. But stripping it down to more practical terms, here’s the idea. 

A lot of things can go wrong in today’s IT environments. And locating the problem and the person(s), processes, applications, networks, involved can be a daunting, complicated and inefficient effort.

Not only may that, but the tools you use in the process may not talk to each other. 

In fact, an IDC report (registration required) released early this year found that the average cost of a critical application failure is $500,000 to $1 million per hour and the average total cost of unplanned application downtime is $1.25 billion to $2.5 billion per year for Fortune 1000 companies. 

“Companies spend lots of man hours and money managing applications,” said Badi Azad Sr. product manager at VMware. And a great deal of it can be eliminated provided the right tools and communications.

Consider for example, an application gone wrong, a production problem or a business user not able to get to the critical information he needs.

A ticket is where the journey toward a solution begins but the approach toward solving it often resembles spamming or crowdsourcing where it could look more like laser surgery.

“Administrators often send group emails around, hoping the right person will respond,” said Azad. Not only that, but Information gleaned from one source may not easily integrate with the next. 

Capitalizing on Data

And in days of yesteryear that might have been the best we could do. But in a data-rich, tool-rich age much can be improved. 

Alerts from VMware vCenter, for example, can be married with products like PagerDuty to bring forth visibility, accountability and prompts for escalation.

Github can be leveraged for collaborative coding, code review and management.

JIRA can be used for project management and join.me for live meetings.

If you make them available on a social platform that understands data generated by not only people but also networks and machines, then you’ve got something like a VMware branded version of DevOps 2.0. That can make it simpler to:

  • Collaborate on issues and alerts in a central location across many of the leading cloud management and DevOps tools 
  • Reference previous conversation threads to determine best practices and resources when solving an issue
  • Monitor and take action on incoming alerts and messages from “man or machine”
  • View an intuitive user interface available across device types
  • Determine which alerts, virtual machines and admins to follow and which to mute to avoid information overload and keep only pertinent information in the Socialcast feed
  • Search for relevant information across the company
  • Aggregate data traditionally siloed inside different applications to one central repository

We live in a world where developers are the kingmakers and devops pros keep the wheels spinning. VMware aims to be the place and to provide the tools where the next generation of applications will live.

With a customer base that exceeds 500,000 and integrations with the most popular tools, the only real question is whether Socialcast will add enough value to the play.