Thursday, May 29, 2014

vCenter Operations Manager Workloads

We are going to dive a little deeper into the Workload badge, because it is fundamental to understanding the health of your infrastructure. Let's go back to the Operations tab and click on the Workload badge.

On the right hand side of the pane, you will notice CPU, Memory, Disk I/O, and Network I/O. For each category, there is a bar that illustrates the host performance levels and a bar that illustrates the virtual machine performance levels.

The Demand is what is green, the usage is in grey, and the configured amount is the white background. Pop Quiz - what is demand and what is usage? The demand is what is being requested and the usage is what is being delivered. In our case above, the demand from the virtual machines is 395 MHz (4% of Configured) and the host is delivering 396 MHz (4% of Configured). Because the demand is about even with the usage, it seems very unlikely that there is any performance degradation to the application owners. None of the virtual machines are suffering because they aren't getting the resources requested. Now if you mouse over one of the virtual machines, it gives you the amount of MHz being consumed by the specific virtual machine, in this case my VMware vCenter Server Appliance.

Monday, May 26, 2014

vCenter Operations Manager Troubleshooting

vCenter Operations Manager 5.8 (vC Ops) is a tool from VMware that collects massive amounts of data from a variety of sources. You might wonder what is the difference between the metrics collected from ESXi by vCenter server and the metrics collected by vCenter Operations Manager? VMware vCenter shows you a lot of different metrics for the past hour in 20 second increments, if you start to research information further back in time it reveals less metrics and the data points become more averaged out. For example, the past day has 20 second intervals, the past week shows 30 minute intervals, and the past month shows two-hour intervals in vCenter. A two-hour long average can hide a lot of peaks and valleys, it might be good for some general capacity planning, but it isn't good if you are trying to troubleshoot the root cause of an application performance issue. It is simply to large an interval, you need a much finer data sampling. That is where vC Ops comes in!

vCenter Operations Manager does three things differently. It keeps all the metrics, it keeps five minute intervals, and it keeps them for six months. You can retroactively go back and tell an application owner if he was having a performance problem at a certain time. It is going to give you a lot more confidence about providing relevant information to your IT business partners.

Another fearture with vCenter Operations Manager is dynamic thresholds. vC Ops takes the collected metrics and it looks for patterns over time. It can then make predictions for the future with these patterns that help you proactively maintain your environment.

Under the Operations tab there are four badges, which include Health, Workload, Anomalies, and Faults for every resource. Health is nothing more than the aggregate of the other three badges and is scored 0 to 100, with 100 being the best score. 

Faults show alert information, such as the link state down. When an event triggered alert occurs, it does not automatically clear by design, this is to ensure that someone looks at the state and takes corrective actions so it doesn't happen in the future.

Friday, May 23, 2014

vCenter Operations for Horizon View

For most operations teams, one of the top goals is to ensure quality of service for infrastructure, applications, and desktops. When you look at the day in the life of the typical operations engineer, there are two tasks that ensure the business end users are happy, one is reactive problem solving and the other is proactive maintenance.

Reactive problem solving generally starts with an alert if you have a monitoring system in place or if you don't, likely from the user facing the performance problem. The job of the operations practitioner is to detect the problem (such as slow performance), isolate the issue, and then remediate the issue (like rolling back a patch).

The other solution is proactive maintenance to avoid the problems from happening. This task involves planning (such as looking at utilization), optimizing (reclaiming resources), and even automating the maintenance. In my previous role in IT leadership, we called this being a "Good Shepard".

That is where vCenter Operations for Horizon View comes into place, vC Ops for View monitors the entire infrastructure stack building correlations between observed performance metrics and the end user experience. All the data is organized, maintained and displayed by user. vC Ops for View, after the first two weeks, establishes dynamic thresholds for resource consumption by user.

Several dashboards that are specific for vCenter Operations Manager for Horizon View appear in the customer user interface when you install the Horizon View adapter. Administrators can change the default number of widgets and types of metrics that appear on each dashboard, and create their own custom dashboards.

The View Main dashboard shows the overall status of the Horizon View environment. It helps you to visualize the end-to-end Horizon View environment, its underlying environment, and alerts.

Version 1.5 focused on improved scale to support the current Horizon View 5.2/5.3 configuration complexity. It leverages the scalability gains made in vCenter Operations Manager 5.8. The new vC Ops for View can support up to 7500 concurrent sessions. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

vSphere Connected to vCloud Hybrid Services

I am inquisitive by nature, I think as technologist, most of us like to figure things out. As Albert Einstein said, "I have no particular talent. I am merely inquisitive." So with that perspective, I wanted to see if I could take the vSphere lab that is running on my notebook and connect it to my vCloud Hybrid Services (vCHS) account.

The nested lab on my notebook consists of the two ESXi 5.5 Advanced hosts, vSphere Appliance 5.5 with the vCHS plug-in, vCenter Operations Manager Advanced 5.8, vCloud Connector Server, vCloud Connector Node, and a couple of other virtual machines. All the virtual machines I have running on my notebook are virtual appliances to reduce overhead.

My notebook is a late 2013 MacBook Pro with 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of 1600 MHz DDR3 memory, and the NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2048 MB. For the most part, it handles everything I have in my lab environment without an issue.

Additionally, I have a vCloud Hybrid Service account with a Virtual Data Center that has 10 GHz of CPU, 20 GB of memory, and 2 TB of storage.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Horizon Suite 6 - Mirage

Since its introduction into the VMware portfolio, Horizon Mirage has been one of my favorite products. If you aren't familiar with Horizon Mirage, it is a software solution that was introduced to provide layered, single image management to end user personal computers. Horizon Mirage compliments Horizon View; both products combined provide a complete management solution for both desktop virtualization and physical endpoints.

In the diagram below, the green layers are managed by IT operations and the orange layers are unmanaged; however they are continuously backed up to the Mirage server.

I go into more detail of Horizon Mirage's capabilities in the following posts Horizon Mirage, Mirage Windows 7 Upgrade, and Mirage Endpoint Protection. Today, I wanted to share some of the new features that were announced with Horizon Suite 6.

Horizon Mirage now provides the capability for image management of virtual desktops. This offers single image management to physical workstations, virtual desktops, and local virtual desktops utilizing VMware Fusion Pro. It has become a single tool for IT professionals to manage desktop images, and update images without wiping out user installed applications and data.

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