Tag Archives: vR Ops

VMware vRealize Operations Manager

Cloud management announcements at VMWorld!

Last week we had a briefing in the vExpert Cloud Management program on the announcements for VMWorld 2020 this week. It is one of the great perks of the program. Product managers and technical marketing take time to present to the team, which is greatly appreciated!

The announcements in a nutshell are:
– VMware vRealize Cloud Universal. A new Generation of SaaS.
– VMware vRealize AI Cloud. Machine learning comes to your metrics.
– Skyline 2.0
– vRealize Operations Cloud/ 8.2
– vRealize Automation Cloud/ 8.2
– vRealize Log Insight Cloud/ 8.2

Now let me start by sharing an insight I got during the presentation and that I verified with an insider:

It is cloud first from now on.

Yes you read that right. What do I mean by that ? Well until now VMware had a SaaS version of every cloud management product and the versions were more or less up to par. With the introduction of Cloud Universal only cloud subscribers will get their hands on AI Cloud. And only the SaaS version will allow you to reduce the infamous 5-minute monitoring interval in vRealize Operations from 5 minutes to 20s for realtime monitoring. And there are other differences.

This means you will want to rethink your cloud management strategy. Fortunately Cloud Universal is a new hybrid subscription that allows a combination of on-prem and SaaS with one license.

AI Cloud is a new offering included in Cloud Universal. It applies Reinforcement Learning to vSAN in this first instalment, continuously analysing and learning and dynamically applying actions to vSAN to optimise performance. We get a glance here of where operations management is going thanks to machine learning techniques.

Apart from updates in cost management, my beloved vROps 8.2 gets a boost in the APM front! It is now possible to integrate the app discovery from Network Insight into vROps! There is also an APM tool to integrate application data from App Dynamics, Datadog, Dynatrace and New Relic into vROps! This means a big step forward in extending full stack monitoring to applications, so that vROps becomes more and more the full stack monitoring platform, across clouds and apps in the enterprise. BUT… Note that the APM integrations are vRealize Operations Cloud only at the moment….

All in all exciting updates coming in cloud management, stay tuned for more details at VMworld 2020 this week. If you would like to discuss you can find me this week on the Orbital Jigsaw Discord server. There are chats and voice meeting rooms to discuss! If you want more info on this great community effort during VMWorld, read the blog post.

vRealize Operations 8.1 upgrade…

After the big vSphere 7 launch last week, VMware this week announced the General Availability of all vRealize goodness … Namely vRealize Operations 8.1, Automation 8.1 and Log Insight 8.1.

Spending some time at home at the moment I decided to upgrade the home lab, starting with vROps 8.1. I am running two Intel NUCs still with ESXi 6.7 and 32-GB RAM each (really…). My vROps was an 8.01 updated from 8.0, updated from 7.5…

I ran the Upgrade assessment utility first, highly recommended. It will not only check versions, but also resources and pointed out some alerts I had in the past that might indicate resource problems… It comes as a PAK file that you load in the admin interface, like a software update.

After the assessment I just ran the update PAK file…. Obviously I have a very small test install, but I have some management packs installed and 3 compliance packs. All went smoothly. After that I upgraded my vCenter from 6.7 to 7.0 because I was feeling lucky… It proved no problem a all, validating the connection in vROps 7 established the blink to the updated VC.

vCenter 7 summary in vROps 8.1

Notice the newly cleaned interface! I added my Azure account, since cloud management pacs are now native. That will be my next blog post!

Adding my old Shuttle NAS server as a vSphere 7 host is next!

Compliance and security with vRealize Operations.

VMware has been working hard to add new features to vRealize Operations (vROps), the management tool is unrecognisable from it’s origins as vCops… One of the most overlooked areas for me is compliance. It is very powerful and easy to setup.

Since I talked about vCOps … let’s get back some years to around 2012 when VMware was still actively selling a product called Configuration manager (vCM). It was a product they inherited from EMC with a heavy Windows background… It WAS a Windows program, but extremely powerful. You could make your own rule sets for testing, use the built-in ones (vSphere hardening guidelines) or buy additional ones (SoX, HIPAA, PCI,…). So it was not limited to vSPhere environments. You could for example make a rule to check anti-virus was installed on all your desktops. Or check your MS AD. or…. But it was very complex to setup… I demoed it a lot, especially in the financial world.

The last GA version of vCM is 5.8.5 which is supported until 1/2021 (sse KB), but VMware stopped bundling it with vRops Advanced and Enterprise with version 6.7. They started developing a SaaS version called vRealize Air Compliance, but with the sales of vRealize Air to OVH in 2017 the product stopped. At least I cannot find it anymore.

The good news is that Vmware started adding compliance testing to vROps 6.7 and with each version the possibilities keep improving!

Compliance dashboard in vROps 8.01

Compliance is based on alert symptoms. In previous releases you had to edit the default policy to enable them… But now Compliance finally has a full-blown dashboard where you can edit the benchmarks and activate them in the policy of your choice. By default vROps includes the vSphere, NSX and vSAN hardening guidelines as benchmarks. Can you imagine ? You can enable them with one click and check your whole SDDC for security weaknesses! I cannot emphasise enough how important this is, can you keep an eye on all settings of hundreds of virtual machines with pen and paper ? Of course not. Use vROps ! On top of that you can create up to 5 of your own benchmarks (or parts of the others) to check. This is the custom benchmark pane in the middle. I will sit back down now…

Of course my homelab reflects the real world .. with a lot of compliance issues! if you click a benchmark you get to the details with triggered symptoms. From their you can decide action. What I still miss here is a ‘remedy’ or ‘action’ button like we had in vCM. Now you have to go through a lot of messages and decide on corrective action. But knowing the team this is probably coming !

Benchmark details screen.

And for the ‘piece de résistance’ VMware now includes all the important industry benchmarks like PCI or HIPAA for free ! You just need to download them from the dashboard and enable them. You see in my example that I enabled ISO on my SDDC.

ISO benchmark details dashboard.

These used to be expensive extras in Configuration Manager and now you just need to download… I hope with the new services discovery and Telegraf agents that more benchmarks are coming, operating systems for example. Maybe partners will provide the too on the Exchange.

And if all of this is not enough, you can unleash these benchmarks on your VMware Managed Cloud (VMC SDDC) environment as well of course. All from the same interface.

I hope this blog post has inspired you to test this out for yourself. Let me know how it goes and I am available for consulting if you need help. You can contact me through my website.

Dell EMC Storage Analytics for vROps

One of the big advantages of VMware’s vRealize Operations Manager tool is plugins. It is also one of the least well known ones. Luckily with vROps 8.0 they cleaned up the admin interface. You can now quickly see which management packs have been installed and upgrade them all from one screen. It also makes it clearer which native management packs can be activated (such as the VMware MP for AWS) or which ones are no longer there (such as the VMware MP for NSX).

Solutions interface in vROps 8.0

There are a lot of third party plugins available, especially for storage devices. You can find them in the solutions exchange (www.vmware.com/cmm) – I memorise that url as two letters before that news site ☺️. As you might know I have been working a lot with the Blue Medora plugins in the past years. I am now involved in a project however where the end user is a large Dell EMC customer and wants to use their toolset.

Dell EMC has published Storage Analytics for vROps for a number of years now. It used to be a paid solution, but since version 4.6 it is free to customers! This seems not well known yet, but you can check it in the documentation. Download, certification and documentation are available on the solutions exchange. They published a new version 5.0 that is compatible with vROps 8.0, although I also installed it on vROps 7.0! (Don’t ask…).

There is more confusion around the installation as some Dell EMC colleagues stated you need to install v4.6 first and then 5.0. That made no sense to me as each version is clearly a pak file (zipped java) with all the files and describe.xml to install the solution and dashboards and alerts. I tested it twice now, I just installed v5.0 and it worked.

Powermax/Vmax overview dashboard
Powermax/VMax overview dashboard.

Storage Analytics is a solution that can connect to most Dell EMC storage solutions: Avamar, Isilon, EMC RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines, VxFlex OS, Unity, Unity/VSA, VNX, VNXe, VMAX3, VMAX All Flash, PowerMax, VPLEX and XtremIO infrastructures in virtual or physical environments. This is a mixed blessing in my opinion. You need to install and maintain only one management pack, but it installs all dashboards for all solutions out-of-the-box. So you have some deleting to do. Before configuring any storage, you have to add separate vCenter accounts with RO users. My best guess is that they need it to build the relationships. Since my customer uses VMAX (really big ones…) I installed one instance per array as per the instructions. Again you have to keep your wits about since the fields take different values depending on your storage… I left one on Vplex (default) and it did not work of course. For VMAX you need to specify the <ip_adderss>:<port> of your Unisphere instance. This is not well documented! My config screen for an array looks like this:

VMAX configuration screen.

After you setup the instances they start collecting data in your vROps database. This takes a while in big environments! I have also noticed that detecting the relationships can take even longer. But after a day I could see the relationship between hosts, VM, datastores and VMAX devices:

PowerMax topology dashboard.

This is a standard dashboard and very helpful for troubleshooting I think. The management pack also installs symptoms and alerts of course. You might want to tweak these in policies if you get too many capacity related alerts:

PowerMax capacity alert.

And I leave you with these beautiful PowerMax overview dashboard that is included and shows everything you need to know in handy heat maps. I am even winning over storage people with these!

Upgrading vRealize Operations from v7.5 to v8.0

Last week VMware published the promised new version of vROps 8.0, so as soon as the GA appeared on the website I started downloading, noblesse oblige as we say 😊. I ran the upgrade in my lab without any backups or anything. It is only a test lab after all. But I did read the release notes! I was surprised when the install stopped and said some of the requirements were not met.

I consulted KB 74952 to install the Upgrade Assesment Tool, which is a breeze in itself. Just upload the pak-file – which resides in your vROps 8.0 dir anyway – as a software update. Afterwards you can download the light support pack it created and see what was wrong. In my case I got:

Expired password ? I login each day with the password I created at install, thank you very much. I was never locked out. On a hunch I changed my password and look! The install now ran smoothly! Afterwards I saw John Dias tweet about KB 75195. So if you encounter that same problem, have a look. My install ran rather quickly, but it is a small test install with only some management packs.

I see some people complain that their install hangs or that they run into self-signed certificate issues as documented in KB 2147205. I have not seen those.

Now the Troubleshooting Workbench looks great! I launched a bad behaving VM so that I can write about the next…

Let me know if you upgraded to v8.0 and what your experience is. Of course if you run into issues you might check the VMware communities or your favourite support channel…

VMworld 2019 Europe: Operations Management…

VMworld 2019 Europe: Operations Management Sessions

VMworld 2019 Europe: Operations Management…

VMworld 2019 Europe will start the first week of November, and attendees tell us it’s the best place to network, get trained, and have fun! If you’re attending, we’re excited to welcome you to the conference. To make it easier, here’s a guide so you don’t miss the operations management opportunities throughout the event, including: The post VMworld 2019 Europe: Operations Management Sessions appeared first on VMware Cloud Management.


VMware Social Media Advocacy

vRealize Operations v8 and Cloud announced!

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend a briefing from VMware on new upcoming releases of our beloved vRealize Operations, and today I can talk about them! vROps has really advanced tremendously in the last years and it is now for me the solution for monitoring in a VMware multicloud environment. The platform is well positioned for HCI operations (think vSAN, vxRail), hybrid cloud monitoring, app-aware operations, compliance use cases and the aforementioned multicloud.

vROps Cloud has been announced today. All SaaS offerings are now simply named ‘cloud’, so Log Intelligence will become Log Insight Cloud. Watch for other announcements this VMworld…. There will be a tech preview in Octobre – around VMworld EMEA I guess – and a beta early next year for launch around mid next year. It will require simple installation of a proxy in your network and registering a vCenter. VMware on AWS will be even simpler.

vROps v8 will also be available around Octobre. There are a lot of improvements in Workload optimisation and cost to include cloud services such as Amazon. The AWS and Azure management packs will now come with the product out of the box. I think there is a blog post necessary only to talk cost or workload optimisation. Let me concentrate here on a few other remarkable new features in intelligent remediation. Still my favourite use for vROps…

Troubleshooting workbench.

I will try to avoid some popular marketing terms here, but it is hard to do since this is an incredible new feature, with some stuff that learns … (get it ?) and one dashboard with all info to quickly troubleshoot a problem from app to infra…It gathers and correlates info on events, anomalous metrics and property changes. You can change time and topology to find out more and you can run multiple workbenches at once.

troubleshooting workbench

Application monitoring.

The new application monitoring using Telegraf agents is extended with 20 new applications and services! NTPD, Java, and Websphere are now supported and you can write custom monitoring scripts. These options bring vROps more and more in the APM space, along with the following novelty!

Native Service Discovery.

vROps now has built-in agent-less service discovery for 41 known services through vmtools! You can also add your own services to a white list. It will build application relationships and you can run agent-less VM actions for troubleshooting, like getting top-n processes.

Continuous availability.

vROps can now go beyond HA and replicate between sites over a layer3 network connection. So you can have a site failure and still access vROps. I know this is an important feature for large corporations with worldwide datacenters.

All in all vROps 8 and the SaaS offering offer some great new features. If you are a vSphere customer and are moving towards SDDC on prem and cloud offerings such as AWS, you would be well advised to take a closer look!

Detect historical idle VMs on vROps

This is a little view that I created in vRealize Operations because of a customer issue. As you hopefully know in vROps 7.5 the idle VM detections is back. You can switch it on in the reclaim settings. On the home screen go to the Reclaim dashboard and click the wheel next to the title. Now you can switch on idle detection, powered-off VMs and snapshots. Even orphaned disks can be hunted down!

Switching on idle VM detection

The idle detection looks if CPU consumption in the chosen period is less than 100 MHz. The customer wanted to check also memory, disk and network access to decide on which VMs needed to be singled out for deletion.

I created a view using the new colorisation in v7.5. Attention! Colors only work in dashboards you create with this view or the view itself. In reports they do not show up.

I put in some specific parameters, but you can change them. CPU and memory color red if they use over 500 MHz or 500 MB respectively. Disk and network access go red over 100 kBps. CPU, memory, disk and network are sorted in ascending order.

Historic idle VM detection

The preview is on vSphere world. If you get VMs that are green for all metrics over a month, you know they are good candidates to delete… In the image above you see a preview in my little home lab…

We can now use this view in a dashboard so that we can click on a VM and get some more info such as the parent host and cluster and data stores. Well any excuse to use the exquisite new advanced object relations widget! The sparkline widget is used with the VM Capacity metrics to show the configuration of the VM. Of course you can build your own dashboard on top of this!

To use this in your environment download the zip file from VMware Code and unzip. First install the view by clicking on Dashboards, Views, Manage Views and import “historic idle detection view.zip”. Afterwards go to Manage Dashboards and import “historic idle VMs dashboard.zip” there. Both View and dashboard are now available in your environment.

Let me know what you think!

vExpert Cloud Management!

I am very happy to announce I have been accepted in the new VMware vExpert Cloud Management program. This is a group focusing on vRealize Operations, vRealize Network Insight, vRealize Log Insight, and SaaS offerings Network Insight and Log Intelligence. We will interact with the business unit at VMware to evangelise these solutions!

VMware vExpert Cloud Management Program

A big thank you to the program leaders and congratulations to all colleagues! If you wonder who is part of the program, look at the directory.