Monday, September 29, 2014

vCenter Operations Manager - Custom Monitoring Portal

What if you wanted to troubleshoot an application issue that was happening on a regular basis in your production environment? You could create a custom vR Ops dashboard that would show the counters you wanted to measure from both a host and a virtual machine perspective. With this type of visibility, you would have all the performance details you require when working a major incident call.

To start with, we are going to launch our vRealize Operations Custom UI, which is https://(vRealize Operations host)/vcops-custom/. At the end of the screen, you are going to click on the + tab after the last dashboard to edit a new dashboard tab. For our new dashboard, we are going to supply a Tab name and select the 1 Column layout. Next, we are going to drag over two Resource widgets onto our new dashboard tab.

In order for us to focus on a specific subset of virtual machines and hosts that make up our application, we need to create an application grouping. Click on Environment and then select Application Overview. To add a new application, click on the button with the green + symbol. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

vCenter Operations Manager All Metrics Graphs

One of my customers wanted to create Microsoft Excel reports and charts from the All Metrics reports in vCenter Operations Manager. This gives you the ability to drill down into the numbers at a more granular level and create custom graphs in Microsoft Excel. When troubleshooting a problem in the environment, having this information can be exceedingly valuable, especially if you can pinpoint the time frame when the anomaly happened. With that information in hand, you can work directly with the application teams or change control coordinator to analyze the changes that occurred in that window. 

In vCenter Operations Manager under the Operations tab, click on All Metrics. Then select the specific metrics you want to report on from the Metric Selector. You will notice in the image below, I have created a graph on my vCenter Operations Manage Analytics VM for Memory with the Guest Active (KB) counter. The date range I have specified is the Last 12 Hours. Once you have the graph in the Metrics Chart, you are going to click on the green down arrow icon, Download comma separated data.

This will save it to an Excel spreadsheet. You can than select data and insert a chart to map out the data points. If you choose the Recommended Charts, it will select one that is relatively close to the graph that is in vCenter Operations Manager.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

RAM Disk Full

One problem I have run into frequently is esx.problem.visorfs.ramdisk.full. This is when the ESX RAM disks that make up the ESXi host file system reaches its resource pool limit and the host becomes unresponsive. The virtual machines are online and available to the business users, but you are no longer capable of managing the host. In a corporate environment, that means you have the choice of restarting the server outside of normal change windows after hours, which will cause an outage to the virtual machines; or leaving the host online until the next approved change window and taking the chance that if something happens to the virtual machine during production hours you won’t be able to fix the problem.

If you catch this problem early enough, you may be able to get to the host before it has becomes fully inaccessible. The server may struggle with vMotion activity when putting it into maintenance mode, but you can move the virtual machines and restart the host without affecting the business community until you can get the underlying issue resolved.

Two of the issues I have come across recently are:
  1.  VMware ESXi 5.x host becomes unresponsive when attempting a vMotion or a configuration change - This issue occurs when SNMPD is enabled and the /var/spool/snmp folder is filled with Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) trap files. This issue is resolved in ESXi 5.1 Patch 04. Detail article explaining the entire process can be found here -
  2.  ESXi ramdisk full due to /var/log/HpHelper.log file size - File (located at /var/log/) grows excessively. Error Unable to connect to the MKS: To resolve this issue, HP Support has provided an updated hp-ams VIB to stop the excessive logging to the hpHelper.log file. Detailed article explaining the entire process can be found here -

Monday, September 8, 2014

VMware vRealize Air

I am excited about the future VMware vRealize Air offerings! What is VMware vRealize Air? It is VMware's SaaS based solutions for their management stack, which was announced at VMworld 2014. It is going to help companies work faster, be more flexible, and adopt new capabilities. You can register for the vRealize Air Automation Beta at the vRealize Air web page. 

There are many reasons for organizations to consider moving from traditional IT to cloud computing. One of the most cited benefits is the economics, some of the key factors that contributed to the cost savings, especially when you consider SaaS based solutions, are lowering the cost of running the technology, allowing for a shift from capital expenditure to operating expenditure, and giving organizations the ability to add business value by renewed focus on strategic activities.

This is where VMware vRealize Air is going to come into play in the future. VMware is planning on delivering a comprehensive cloud management platform for managing hybrid and heterogeneous clouds as a service. It is a new way of consuming VMware's cloud management solutions. Although this solution could be considered for large organizations, I believe this is a great opportunity for mid-market and commercial organizations to get the full benefit of the management component of the software-defined datacenter. VMware research shows that 20% of customers prefer SaaS based offerings.

Personally, I maintain a firm belief that if an application doesn't provide some type of business differentiator or holds a significant financial impact to the company, then a cloud strategy with SaaS based solutions should be considered.
News: Top vBlog 2016 Trending: DRS Advanced Settings