Monday, December 28, 2015

EMC ScaleIO Overview

EMC ScaleIO is a flexible software-only solution that leverages host-based internal storage media to make a scalable virtual storage pool.

In that respect, there are three primary components that make up EMC ScaleIO:

  • ScaleIO Data Client (SDC)
  • ScaleIO Data Server (SDS)
  • Metadata Manager (MDM)

The ScaleIO Data Client (SDC) is a block device driver that exposes ScaleIO storage volumes to applications. The SDC runs locally on any application server that requires access to the block storage volumes. The blocks that the SDC exposes can be blocks from any device in the ScaleIO storage pool. This enables the local application to issue an I/O request and the SDC fulfills it regardless of where the particular blocks reside.

The ScaleIO Data Server (SDS) possesses local storage that contributes to the ScaleIO storage pools. An instance of the SDS runs on every server that contributes some or all of its local storage space. The role of the SDS is to perform I/O operations as requested by an SDC on the local or another server within the cluster.

The Metadata Manager (MDM) holds the cluster-wide mapping information and is responsible for decisions regarding migration, rebuilds, and all system-related functions. It manages the ScaleIO system. The MDM is installed on at least three servers and functions as a quorum; a primary MDM server, a secondary MDM server, and a tie-breaker. The ScaleIO monitoring dashboard communicates with the MDM to retrieve system information for display in the ScaleIO GUI. The MDM is not on the ScaleIO data path, reads and writes never traverse the MDM.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Security Controls Document

The VMware Security Hardening Guides contain recommended processes for deploying and operating VMware products in a secure manner given a specified risk profile. You may not need, or may not be able to follow each step of the security hardening guides because of the balance of operational efficiency, cost, risk tolerance, and security requirements. The security hardening practices are recommended by VMware, but equally important is having a security controls document that incorporates VMware best practice recommendations and your specific security policies. It can be an invaluable tool during an audit.

Security has a wide scope that touches every aspect of the datacenter; an important part of security is recognizing the tolerance of risk. To do that, you need to understand the value of the assets you are trying to protect and the cost of protecting that asset.  What is the likelihood of the asset being damaged or compromised? And what does it cost the company if that asset is compromised? A risk analysis provides a cost/benefit understanding of the cost to safeguard an item compared with the expected cost of loss. The security policy should be proportionate to the value of the asset, which may range from innocuous data processing up through a mission critical business process dealing with highly sensitive information. Each of these examples represents a different risk profile, which translates to different security requirements and thus different recommendations in the hardening guide. Securing systems is not an inexpensive endeavor. Even in terms of operations expenses, locking down systems can make internal operation teams far less inefficient on updating systems because of strict security controls. In many cases, a security policy will not be implemented unless the cost of the loss exceeds the security policy itself.

Monday, November 30, 2015

vRealize Operations 6.1 Compliance

vRealize Operations 6.1 is packaged with it's own compliance engine, the compliance engine helps you monitor the security best practices of your vSphere virtual machines and hosts, which is essential in keeping your IT auditors happy! vRealize Operations utilizes the vSphere 5.5 Security Hardening Guide, hopefully we will have it updated to the latest version in an upcoming release, but it is still invaluable for providing insight into the security posture of your virtual infrastructure.

To start, we need to enable the alert definition in our base policy. The ESXi Host is violating vSphere 5.5 Hardening Guide and Virtual Machine is violating vSphere 5.5 Hardening Guide alert definitions aren't enabled by default. I am going to enable both alert definitions in my vSphere Solution's Default Policy, all child policies I have created underneath this base policy will inherit the setting. If you aren't familiar with vRealize Operations policies, I wrote a blog post covering the creation and modification of policies called vRealize Operations 6.1 Policies.

When editing the base policy, you are going to jump to step 6 Alert/Symptom Definitions and filter on hardening. This will display both of the alert definitions, you will notice that the State is local disabled.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

vRealize Operations 6.1 Rebalance

If you read my post from last week about vRealize Operations 6.1 Policies, one of the policy options I discussed was workload automation.  Workload automation in vRealize Operations Manager 6.1 allows you to balance your infrastructure environment, the Action can be done at the datacenter or cluster level to balance workloads across your clusters and hosts. 

The Workload Automation policy allows you to balance out the workloads conservatively or aggressively, depending on your infrastructure requirements; and you can decide if you want more or less consolidation for host efficiency.

I thought I would step through the process of performing a workload rebalance at the datacenter level. And because it is fairly straight forward, this should be a short post!

Friday, November 6, 2015

vRealize Operations 6.1 Policies

Policies are ways we can apply different metrics, filters, buffers, and thresholds to a specific object in the vRealize Operations inventory. This gives us a much finer layer of control of how we monitor our data. Mission critical applications, such as customer facing applications and financial systems are vital to the smooth operation of a company's business. These applications are core to the company's mission, and system downtime translates to financial losses to the organization. While other applications, like general-purpose printing, software media libraries, and infrastructure monitoring tools don't require the same service level capabilities as mission critical applications. 

This is where vRealize Operations Policies come into play! It gives us the ability to provide policy controls for specific service levels for various application workloads.

To start we are going to click on the Administration Link and then Policies.

When you open up the Active Policies, it shows all the policies that have associated objects assigned. Initially, there will only be the vSphere Solution's Default policy, which shows the priority rating of D. As you add additional policies, it will show the priority ranking. In the image below, we recognize the Gold SLA is priority 1, Silver SLA is priority 2, Bronze SLA is priority 3, Production is priority 4, and Development is Priority 5. If an object is a member of multiple policies, it uses these rankings to break the tie. As we will see shortly, my Gold SLA is nested in the Production policy, because of the priority ranking 1 all objects assigned to the Gold SLA policy will use this policy.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What is Driving Server SAN Adoption?

Business Challenge 

Why are IT leaders so interested in server SAN solutions? Let's look at some of the challenges facing IT departments. Computer Economics reported that there was a nominal increase in IT budgets from 2.4% in 2014 to 3.0% in 2015, more companies are investing in information technology; but that doesn’t show the complete picture of IT investments.

IT Budget Change from Prior Year

When we look at the IT spend as a percentage of revenue, Computer Economics reports that it decreased in 2015 to 2.3%. Even though there was an uptick in IT budgets, the amount of IT spend as a percentage of revenue declined showing IT budgets are not keeping pace with company growth.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

vRealize Operations 6.1 vSphere VMs Memory dashboard

In today's post, I wanted to explore the vSphere VMs Memory dashboard in vRealize Operations 6.1 to find potential memory contention issues. But before we dive into vRealize Operations, I wanted to review memory management in vSphere.

Let's start by looking at Utilization on the Monitor tab of the vSphere Web Client to understand the memory consumption of a guest virtual machine. In my example below, we are looking at my vRealize Operation Manager 6.1 appliance.

On the Virtual Machine Memory widget, VM Consumed is the amount of physical memory consumed by the virtual machine for guest memory. Unlike host consumed memory, virtual machine consumed memory does not include overhead memory.

The bottom bar is VM Overhead Consumed, which is the amount of machine memory used by the VMkernel to run the virtual machine.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

vRealize Operations 6.1 Host Memory Consumed Model

vRealize Operations 6.1 introduces a memory consumed model for hosts and clusters, which models consumption from a guest point of view. Previously, vRealize Operations used a memory demand model based on active memory usage from a vSphere perspective. If you have greedy applications like JVMs, Oracle, or SQL server running; the application reports a much higher memory usage than the actual active memory that ESX perceives. This is because these types of applications claim all available memory at the VM level as usage (hence greedy).

This new memory consumed model through me for a loop at first, when I looked at memory workload for my host, I couldn't figure out why the host demand was so much higher than host usage and virtual machine demand. Then speaking with members from our vRealize Operations development and technical marketing team, they educated me on the change to a memory consumed model and that it was labeled under Memory, as show in the image below.

Monday, September 21, 2015

vRealize Operations 6.1 Cluster Capacity Distribution Dashboard

New in vRealize Operations 6.1 is the Workload Placement Engine (WPE); which provides several innovations including initial workload placement through the vRealize Operations REST APIs, workload rebalance, and intelligent operation moves. In a future post, I will write about these capabilities more extensively, but today I wanted to focus on creating a visual dashboard that provides an overview of the capacity distribution.

To start, we are going to launch vRealize Operations and click on the Content icon in the Navigation panel. With Dashboards highlight, we are going to click on the green + icon to create a new dashboard.

For our new dashboard, we are going to provide our dashboard a name, in my example I am going to call the dashboard Cluster Capacity Distribution and we are going to select No for Is default. You will notice in vRealize Operations 6.1, gone are the options for Column count and Layout, in this release layouts are much more dynamic, which we will see shortly.

Monday, September 14, 2015

ManageIQ Cloud Providers

For IT leaders and architects, the ability to match business requirements with technology capabilities has become a fundamental skill for executing strategic initiatives. The move from traditional IT to hosted solution provider is a substantial opportunity for any IT department to add value to the business it serves by offering a choice of infrastructure solutions. ManageIQ is a single pane of glass that helps you manage your on-premises and public cloud resources. 

In a previous post, we walked through the process of setting up infrastructure providers for vSphere and Red Hat, providing us the capability of managing a multi-hypervisor datacenter. A provider is a hosting instance with software to manage multiple virtual machines. ManageIQ can manage vSphere, Hyper-V, Red Hat, OpenStack, and Amazon EC2 environments. Today, we are going to focus on the process of setting up Amazon EC2 as our cloud provider in ManageIQ, which will give us the ability to build virtual machines on various platforms depending on the use case and business requirements.

To start, we are going to select Clouds and use the Providers taskbar to add a new cloud provider. Click on the Configuration drop-down and select + Add a New Cloud Provider. Additionally, you use the Providers taskbar to initiate the refresh of any existing cloud provider.

For the Basic Information, we are going to give our new provider a name, select the type of Amazon EC2, and choose a region. You also need to provided your Access Key ID and Secret Access Key from Amazon Web Services.

Monday, August 24, 2015

vRealize Operations and SCOM

One of the beautiful aspects of vRealize Operations is its extensibility. With vRealize Operations; you can broaden the benefits of monitoring, alerting and capacity planning to other infrastructure components in your datacenter with management packs found on the VMware Solution Exchange. We are going to take a look at one of these solution packs today, the SCOM solution pack. The management pack for SCOM is an embedded adapter for vRealize Operations Manager. The management pack collects time-series metrics, object availability information, and object relationships from the System Center Operations Manager database.

The management pack for SCOM supports Microsoft SCOM 2007 SP1, Microsoft SCOM 2007 R2, Microsoft SCOM 2012 SP1, and Microsoft SCOM 2012 R2.

To start, we are going to navigate to the Solution Exchange and scroll down to Enterprise Management Packs. Select the Management Pack for SCOM and then click the Try button to download the management pack.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

ManageIQ Dashboards

When you first log into ManageIQ, you are presented with the Cloud Intelligence Dashboard. That has a nice ring to it "Cloud Intelligence", which in reality makes sense because it gives you and overview of your internal and external datacenter resources. I can create dashboard widgets for my VMware resources, Red Hat resources, and Amazon resources. Additionally, ManageIQ can manage Hyper-V resources, I just don't have it running in my lab. The Cloud Intelligence Dashboard is customizable, which is what I am going to walk through today.

After you first log into ManageIQ, you are going to get a dashboard similar to the example above. It provides you information on guest OS, discovered hosts, and virtual infrastructure platforms, just to name a few. But, I wanted to customize my dashboards layout and add a few additional widgets.

To move a widget, you click on the widget and relocate it to where you want on your dashboard.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Infrastructure Measurements

IT infrastructure measurements, if performed well, can provide clarity to IT and business leadership of the infrastructure resources supporting business applications. This type of transparency helps IT operations build credibility with business unit leaders; unfortunately in most organizations IT operations does not have meaningful measurements and they can't correlate the growing infrastructure expense to business outcomes.

In my previous role as an IT manager at a Fortune 250 company, I was responsible for helping to determine the budgeting of infrastructure resources that were going to be required the following year. In most instances, it was a guess, no better than blind folding me and asking me to hit the bull's eye on a dartboard. I decided to implement a standard, repeatable report that would show me growth trends of my virtual machines, host servers, and FTE to virtual machine ratio. After a few years, I was able to use this data to predict next years growth rate for budgeting and leverage the report to show staffing deficiencies.

Value from IT infrastructure measurements is gained by analyzing the data, reporting it to senior leadership, and taking actions to improve day-to-day operations.

Friday, August 7, 2015

ManageIQ Categories and Tags

In my previous post, I demonstrated how to use ManageIQ for cost transparency by using the chargeback feature. In that post, we used tags that were set on our virtual machines to define them by their service class and classify them as internal or external resources. In this follow-up post, we are going to step through the process of managing and creating ManageIQ categories and tags.

To start, we are going to open up ManageIQ and select the Configure tab. Click on the Configuration menu, highlight your Region under Settings, and then select your company Categories.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

ManageIQ Chargeback

Built into ManageIQ is a chargeback solution; and while it isn't a feature rich business management solution like VMware ITBM or Apptio, for an organization that is looking to provide some basic financial transparency of their infrastructure utilization, it isn't a bad tool. 

For me, tiering your infrastructure service capabilities and providing cost transparency for technology capabilities is the foundation to IT hosting. Sure, automation is great for reducing delivery times and providing consistency, which reduces OPEX; but I think marrying the infrastructure technology capability to the business requirement with policy based management provides much more tangible savings. It ensures that mission critical applications have the infrastructure resources for performance, stability, and availability to meet LOB expectations, while less critical applications maximize infrastructure savings with lower tier components.

Over my career, a significant amount of business I have worked with select a one size fits all approach to technology solution to meet all their business needs.  

After deploying and configuring ManageIQ, you will want to setup the cost rates that you want to use in chargeback and then create a custom report to run on a reoccurring basis.

To start, from the Cloud Intelligence dashboard we are going to click on the Chargeback tab.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

vRealize Operations - Stress, Capacity Remaining, and Time Remaining

Stress measures the amount of workload for a specific object over a period of time. The objects that can be measured include CPU, memory, network I/O, datastore I/O, and vSphere configuration limits. Stress only measures demand, whereas with Capacity Remaining can measure demand and allocation. The default period of time is 30 days, which can be configured in vRealize Operations 6 policy wizard. 

Stress is selected by default for Peak Consideration in the Capacity and Time Remaining elements; vRealize Operations uses the stress elements to account for peaks in capacity usage.

The default setting for the stress line is 70%, vRealize Operations Manager calculates the amount of object demand that goes over the stress line during the 30 day time sampling. 

Below is the calculation for the measured amount of stress volume:

  • Total Stress Zone Volume
    • 720 hours (30 days) * (100% total capacity - 70% stress line) = 21,600 Stress Zone volume for the past 30 days
  • Measure Object Stress Volume
    • Amount of hours object is over the stress line * (100% total capacity - 70% stress line) = Measured Object Stress Volume for the past 30 days
  • Measured Object Stress Volume / Total Stress Zone Volume = %Stress
In the example below, we can see that my Stress percentage is 20.63% on

Thursday, July 9, 2015

ManageIQ with vSphere: Providers

In a previous post, I went through the basic configuration of setting up a ManageIQ deployment. Since that time, I have configured my ManageIQ lab environment to administer my vSphere environment, Amazon EC2 account, and a RHEV environment. Today, I am going to walk you through the process of adding Providers to ManageIQ and working your infrastructure resources.

To start, I am going to add my VMware vCenter server, which will inventory my clusters, hosts, virtual machines, resource pools and datastores. I add in all the basic information including:

  • Name
  • Type
  • Host Name or IP address
  • Zone

I then enter the credentials to connect to the vCenter server and click Validate. After it has been validated, click the Add button.

Monday, July 6, 2015

VMworld 2015 Session Recommendations

The last couple of years, I carved away the VMworld content catalog to 50 sessions I recommend to my customers. This year, there are 658 session available at VMworld 2015, which is an overwhelming amount of sessions! My recommendations are from past experience of seeing the presenters at VMworld, VMUGs, and interacting with them at work. Moreover, I try to make sure I have all our major product lines included, and a mix of technical and business tracks.

Going along with the VMworld 2015 theme. You can be ready. Ready for VMworld 2015 and the brave new model of IT.

Ready for Any.

50 Recommended Sessions:

MGT6525 - Automation for Service/Catalog Item Provisioning and Management with Naomi Sullivan
Presenter:  Naomi Sullivan

Group Discussions are a good way to join together with peers, guided by a VMware expert, and discuss a VMware key topic as selected by the group. Come to this session prepared to dive-in, engage, and share best practices

EUC5052 - Beyond the Marketing: Horizon 6 Technical Deep Dive
Presenters: Ray Heffer and Jim Yanik

Horizon 6 continues to evolve with new features and functions that increase the breadth of use cases and enhance the end user experience. This session will provide a technical look at each feature and how it works. We will provide examples of how these features are used in real-world use cases. We will cover topics including vGPU, Virtual SAN, Virtual Volumes and end use experience enhancements driven by client and agent functionality. This session will focus on the new features and functionalities of the latest versions of Horizon 6.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

vRealize Operations 6 Trending

This week I was working with a customer; they were interested in looking at trending for host and cluster memory resources. But, when we started looking at the default views it was taking into account two memory spikes that were 1000%. Now, having memory spikes at 1000% isn't good to start with, but for capacity trending purposes it was making it difficult to gain perspective on the overall trend of resources.

To remedy the problem, you can change the roll-up interval to flatten the line and gain a better understanding of the overall trend.

Now, because I am not taxing my lab environment, it isn't going to be as dramatic as it was for this particular customer. For my host, I am going to select the Details tab, which provides me with a list of Views. I am going to scroll down until I see Host Memory Usage and Demand (%) Trend View. When I click on the name of the View, it is going to display in the panel below.

Next, I am going to click on the clock icon and change my roll up interval to 1 Day.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

ManageIQ with vSphere: Deploy and Configure

ManageIQ is company that Red Hat acquired in 2012. ManageIQ created a cloud management program by the same name, which is available with a Red Hat subscription as CloudForms. ManageIQ provides a single pane of glass for the unified management of infrastructure resources. It can manage vSphere, Hyper-V, RedHat, OpenStack, and Amazon EC2 environments.

ManageIQ was made open source last summer; since it is a free download, I decided to try it out in my lab environment. I have it managing my vSphere lab infrastructure and my Amazon EC2 account.

The deployment couldn't be much easier; you go to and click on VMware vSphere.

You then follow the three step instructions to deploy the appliance in your vSphere environment and start collecting information.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Did you know?

When troubleshooting an issue in your environment, you are going to gravitate to All Metrics in vRealize Operations 6. To view all the counters available, you are going to click on the Troubleshooting tab and select the All Metrics button.

I have selected my vCenter Server Appliance; I want to look at the Guest Demand (KB) to understand the amount of resources being used before I right-size my virtual machine. I scroll down the metrics selector, expand Memory, and then double click on Guest Demand (KB). In the panel to the right it shows me a graph for the past 6 hours. I notice the high value is 2,503,718 KB and the low value is 1,796,278 KB.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Understanding the Importance of Business Outcome

This was a post I wrote for the VMware TAM blog that I wanted to share on my personal blog. 

As technologists, most IT professionals have a hard time connecting the dots between technology solutions and business value. This predicament isn’t something relegated only to system engineers and middle managers; it can extend to IT directors and CIOs, too. When working with business leadership, it can be difficult for most IT professionals to describe the benefits of deploying IT solutions.

Even in my role as a Technical Account Manager, when talking about technology solutions I focus on the expected business outcome. This is especially true during my TAM Business Reviews (TBR), which is my opportunity to make sure I am in alignment with my customer’s business priorities.

Why is it so important to understand the business value of technology?

Walking down the hallways of enterprise organizations, you will still hear business leaders rationalize that their company is not an IT organization; I would like to refute that assertion.

Friday, June 19, 2015

vRealize Operations 6 Administrator's Companion

Similar to Cinderella's stepsisters, the IT operations team is asked to "do this, do that" - while managing a multitude of requests to fix everything from storage latency issues to application performance problems. How do you find time to be strategic?

It only complicates matters when you have an explosion of virtual machine growth, while staffing levels remain the same.

Being "good shepards" and having routine systems management of datacenter resources is one of the most important aspect of IT operations, but without a foundational understanding of the supporting tools, it is often overlooked.

If you don't understand the health and efficiency of the infrastructure resources supporting the business applications; you will always be fighting fires. You are in constant reactive mode, never proactively resolving problems before they impact the business. Furthermore, the IT operations team starts to overprovision VM resources because logically that is how you resolved problems before virtualization, it is how you ensured systems were running at optimal levels.

Systems management is important to the business because it ensures that the supporting systems are running efficiently, making certain mission critical applications are available. Proactive monitoring tools like vRealize Operations will help you avoid application downtime, which makes happy end-users, business leaders, and ultimately your boss.

Over the past year, I have posted several articles about vRealize Operations. With some encouragement from my friends, I decided to compile my blog posts, added an additional chapter of content, and published it as an eBook on The book is called vRealize Operations Administrator's Companion. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can download the book for free.

In my book, I walk you through vRealize Operations 6, helping you gain a level of comfort in performance management, capacity planning, and troubleshooting issues.

If you decide to read the book, thank you! I hope it helps you with one of the best tools VMware offers.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

vRealize Operation Projects

Understanding capacity in vRealize Operations involves finding opportunities for resource optimization and cost savings. On the Projects tab of VMware vRealize Operations, you can monitor the use of resources and the available capacity in your virtual environment. Furthermore, you can use scenarios for project planning to understand capacity needs in the future. 

In the image above, I have selected the object and in the Memory Demand panel it is showing the memory capacity remaining in my host. This is typically going to demonstrate an upward trajectory. The extended forecast is going to present you the prediction for the amount of capacity remaining and the shortfall.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Reserved Memory with vRealize Operations

Over the past few days, I have been analyzing the resource capacity of a cluster that supports a mission critical application for one of my clients. The application is streamed by Citrix XenApp virtual machines that run on vSphere ESXi infrastructure. Each virtual machine has 14,336 MB of memory reserved, which provided a different visual in vRealize Operations for Workload than you would typically observe. For instance, in the diagram below, we recognize that our memory demand is well below our memory usage. The memory demand is the active memory workload, the usage is what was delivered. ESXi allocates physical RAM only as necessitated. The vSphere host below has 7,999 MB allocated, but the virtual machines are currently only demanding 2,349 MB (31% of the usable memory). Because the virtual machines have touched 7,262 MB of physical memory (95% of the usable memory), that is the amount of allocated. The usage is the memory address blocks that are being held in physical memory, but may not be in active use by the virtual machines.

Another thing to keep in mind, ESXi only allocates memory as needed, if it has plenty of memory resources it doesn't bother to reclaim it. But, if there is memory contention, it does go through a process of reclaiming some of the memory.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

VMware TAM VMworld 2015 Sessions

VMware Technical Account Managers (TAM) bring a wealth of knowledge and customer related experience to VMworld. Not only do they possess strong technical aptitude, but they focus on business outcomes, building strong relationships with our customers, and enabling them with VMware technology. A VMware Technical Account Manager's role is to ensure our customers are successful with their technology investments in VMware products. Which is a very unique perspective, we are the trusted advisors of our customers.

16 Technical Account Managers have submitted 31 sessions, which include a mix of individual contributions, sessions with our customers, and cooperative sessions with VMware business units.

I highly recommend voting for these sessions; the TAM Program and these TAM sessions are there to help your teams execute at the highest level and make sure your team gets recognized for your contributions to the business.

TAM VMworld Sessions:

Monday, May 25, 2015

vRealize Operations Manager and Hyperic

vRealize Operations Manager and vRealize Hyperic is an extensive toolkit for monitoring every aspect of your enterprise virtual machine environment. The vRealize Hyperic adapter adds in-guest information; including OS, application, database, and networking counters. I am going to give a brief overview of some of the benefits of integrating vRealize Hyperic with vRealize Operations Manager, but Hyperic is being rewritten with tighter integration into vRealize Operations Manager, which will be available in version 6.1 later this year.

The Management Pack for vRealize Hyperic uses the vRealize Hyperic REST API to import vRealize Hyperic platforms, servers, and services to vRealize Operations Manager. The vRealize Hyperic REST API returns the entire vRealize Hyperic inventory, including all parent-child relationships. It also creates resource relationships between vRealize Hyperic platform resources and VMware virtual machine resources in vRealize Operations Manager.
    vRealize Hyperic Server Installation and Configuration Requirements

  • Verify that the vRealize Hyperic 5.8.4 server and the agents are installed and running.
  • Verify that the vRealize Hyperic and vRealize Operations Manager servers are time synchronized.
  • Download and install the vRealize Hyperic management pack.
  • Verify that the vRealize Hyperic server is configured to collect vCenter UUID and MOID values for vRealize Hyperic platforms so that vRealize Hyperic platfroms can be mapped to the corresponding virtual machines. 
After you have installed the vRealize Hyperic management pack, you will see it listed under the available solutions and it should be collecting and receiving data.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

vRealize Operations Manager - Creating a Custom Monitoring Portal

Back in September, I wrote a post about creating custom dashboards with vCenter Operations Manager 5.8. I am going to create a comparable dashboard, again focused on troubleshooting an issue, but with vRealize Operations 6.0. What if you wanted to troubleshoot an application issue that was arising on a regular basis in your production environment? You could create a custom vRealize Operations 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 required when working a major incident call.

The ability to focus on specific metrics with the granularity possible with vROps provides insight from a current state, historical perspective, and long term trending. Not only can you determine that there is an issue in the environment, but you gain perspective on when it started happening and the long-term impact to the environment if it isn’t fixed. VMware’s patented analytics is the driving force behind this capability.

To start with, we are going to launch vRealize Operations Manager. We are going to click Actions and then + Create Dashboard.

For our new dashboard, we are going to supply a dashboard name, click No for the Is default, and select the 1 column count layout. This layout is going to present us with a stacked design, which works well with the interactions we are going to establish between the widgets. This makes for a much more dynamic dashboard that helps us drill down into the specifics between hosts and virtual machines.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

VM Component Protection (VMCP)

VM Component Protection (VMCP) is a new feature in vSphere 6.0. As discussed in my previous post, there are two distinct states a device can be in when storage connectivity is lost; All Paths Down (APD) or Permanent Device Loss (PDL). VMCP will respond to both conditions, and the configuration is rather simple.

If you have had the pleasure of losing a datastore on you vSphere host, you know all too well that the virtual machine can become orphaned and unusable until the datastore is back online. VM Component Protection (VMCP) can help eliminate that issue if there is another host in the cluster that has access to the datastore. When a datastore accessibility failure occurs, the affected host can no longer access the storage path for a specific datastore. You can determine the response that vSphere HA will make to such a failure, ranging from the creation of events to virtual machine restarts on other hosts.

To enable VMCP, you check off Protect against Storage Connectivity Loss.

Monday, April 20, 2015

All Paths Down (APD) and Permanent Device Loss (PDL)

Last week I had the good fortune of working with the VMware Product Line Manager for Storage. While working with him, he provided some information on APD and PDL that I thought I would share.

There are two distinct states a device can be in when storage connectivity is lost; All Paths Down (APD) or Permanent Device Loss (PDL). For each of these states, the device is in an All Paths Down condition, but how they are handled is different. All Paths Down (APD) is a condition where all paths to the storage device are lost or the storage device is removed. The state is caused because the change happen in an uncontrolled manner, and the VMkernal core storage stack does not know how long the loss of access to the device will last. The APD is a condition that is treated as temporary (transient), since the storage device might come back online; or it could be permanent, which is referred to as a Permanent Device Loss (PDL).

The Permanent Device Loss (PDL) is the permanent removal of a device. This is typically caused by a storage administrator removing a LUN at the storage array, either by unmapping or deleting it. The VMkernal core storage stack knows the device is not coming back because the storage array informs the host of a PDL state through a SCSI command response. The removal is considered permanent when all paths have the PDL error.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Humanizing IT

Typically when we think about technology, we talk about the products and features. For instance, in several of my posts over the past few months I have explored the new capabilities of VMware vRealize Operations Manager 6.0. Some of the topics included the new merged user interface, policy based alerting, and reporting. All of these are important components of the technology, but it doesn't illustrate the value of the tool to the business. This is something that is hard for most technologist to put into context, we have been working in enterprise datacenters for most of our careers, which has not provided us the opportunity to be connected to the core business initiatives.

Humanizing IT, it almost sounds like a contradiction in terms, most people would consider technology as a set of computational instructions to provide solutions to business opportunities and challenges. And while that is the underlying foundation, I think that technology has significant impact on the core value of a business, which IT professionals find hard to conceptualize. Although companies are trying to make a profit, successful organizations deliver products or services that change the world for the better. They want to design something that improves quality of life.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Report, report, get your vRealize Operations Manager 6.0 report here!

This should be a fairly short post, because doing reports in vRealize Operations Manager 6.0 is very simple, especially after you have already created a View. The reports in vRealize Operations Manager allow you to keep track of current resources as well as predict potential risks to the environment. You can schedule automated reports at regular intervals, and then email them to systems engineers maintaining the environment or IT leadership that may want increased visibility into the health and stability of the infrastructure. vRealize Operations Manager comes with several reports out of the box, but the custom reports you create is the sweet spot.

IT professionals routinely need to make monthly reports that detail the datacenter capacity, usage, and trending. In the past, this could include the manual process of exporting information into a spreadsheet, creating the charts, and then moving them to a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. This can all be automated with the available views and metrics.

To start, we are going to select the Content item in the Navigation pane. Then we will select Reports, to create a new report we are going to click on the green + icon on the Report Templates.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

vRealize Operations Manager 6.0 - Views

With vRealize Operations Manager 6.0, there is a new component called views, which provides details on a specific object that has been selected. In order to get the most out of views, VMware has provided a custom UI to build your own views. Views can be accessed right from the Analysis tab, if you find something that you want to investigate further, there is a good chance you can get the information you want from a view instead of having to dive right into the all metrics information on the Troubleshooting tab.

For instance, you may find a workload issue on a host with CPU demand, under Further Analysis you could select Host CPU Diagnosis List to get more details.

A view presents collected information for an object in a certain way depending on the view type. Each type of view helps you to interpret properties, metrics, alerts, policies and data from a different perspective. A view is the smallest component of a dashboard or a report. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

vRealize Operations Manager 6.0 - Alerting Overview

With vRealize Operations 6.0, VMware introduced policy based alerting, which provides a much more concise view into infrastructure issues and provides actionable recommendations to relieve the problem. In the previous version, alerts were generated by a single symptom, for instance if Workload was above 90% for any object it would send out an alert. Policy based alerts with multiple symptoms, greatly enhances vRealize Operation Manager's ability to give you information for troubleshooting and remediating issues. An added benefit, this capability has been extended to VMware Partners, they have the ability of adding recommendations for alerts into their solution packs.

What is an alert definition? An alert definition is a template for tracking problems. You start with a base object to monitor, you define the impact by categorizing it and rating how critical it is, and then you choose one or more symptoms that constitute the problem.

There are a few different components that make up an alert definition, they include:
  • Symptoms
  • Recommendations
  • Actions
  • Notifications
Alert definitions come with vRealize Operations Manager out of the box, but you also have the capacity to create your own alert definitions. That includes building your own symptoms, prescribing your own recommendations, and assigning actions. Alert definitions created by IT Operations are specifically made to meet your organizations business requirements and SLAs.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

VSAN 6.0 on VMware Fusion

Naturally, if you like to write about technology, having a home lab gives you an opportunity to review the latest software and compose your opinion on the features and capabilities. On my "bucket list" for a long time has been building a modest home lab, something that provides me the resources to test out several of the VMware products that my customers use on a daily basis.

For my home lab, I purchased a 2012 Mac Pro with 64 GB of memory and 12 processor cores. It has three hard drives on the workstation, which includes a 256 GB Solid State SATA Drive, a 1 TB Hybrid SATA Drive (8 GB NAND Flash and 7200 spindle speed), and a 2 TB SATA 7200 drive. Additionally, I purchased a WD MyCloud Mirror NAS storage device that I am using as my Content Libraries storage and it is also connected to my nested vSphere ESXi hosts as NFS storage.

So far, I am running three vSphere ESXi 6 hosts; each of them has 12 GB of memory and 8 vCPU. My cluster includes a Windows 2012 Active Directory Server, Windows 2012 Management Server, vCenter Server 6.0, vRealize Operations Manager 6.0.1, vRealize Log Insight 2.5, TAM Data Manager, and a vCloud Connector Server and Node to connect to my vCloud Air account.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

vRealize Operations 6.0 Analysis - Capacity Remaining

Like its predecessor; vRealize Operations 6.0 is a much better tool to utilize when looking at the health and capacity of your infrastructure than vCenter Server. It keeps all the metrics, it keeps five-minute intervals, and it keeps them for six months. 

You can customize the retention length of the data by going to the Administration link, clicking on Global Settings on the Navigation Panel, and then adjusting the Time Series Data.

Time Remaining Setting

This is a significant improvement over the performance statistics available in VMware vCenter Server, which shows you 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 Server. A two-hour long average can hide a lot of peaks and valleys, it might be good for some general troubleshoot, but it isn't going to help you with the root cause of an application performance issue or the capacity remaining in your environment. It is simply too large an interval, you need a much finer data sampling. 

With vRealize Operations 6.0, 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.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Top vBlog 2015

vSphere-Land with sponsor Infinio is running the Top vBlog 2015. This is to recognize and rank contributions in virtualization blogging. Eric Siebert at vSphere-Land devotes a tremendous amount of personal time setting this up for the community. The Top vBlog voting contest helps rank the most popular blogs based on your votes and the outcome determines the ranking that is published on the vLaunchpad website. Last year over 1400 people voted from 60 different countries including Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Kuwait, Malta, Morocco, Oman, Serbia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Yemen.

The people who contribute content to the vibrant virtualization community share their experience, knowledge, and passion to help each other out. There are some sites that act as content curation, which involves finding other people's good material, summarizing it, and sharing it. If you find their contributions valuable, vote for them in this years contest.

The Top vBlog 2015 voting is only running for the next two weeks! So please go out and vote for your favorite blog sites and community contributors.

Top vBlog 2015 Voting

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Right-Sizing with vRealize Operations 6.0

With vRealize Operations Manager 6.0, VMware has redesigned the reclaimable capacity analysis badge and added additional functionality with the ability to set the CPU and memory on oversized virtual machines using the vCenter Python Actions Adapter.

Because we want to take advantage of vRealize Operations Manager ability to configure CPU and memory settings on our virtual machines, let's take a look at how to configure the vCenter Python Actions Adapter. Click on the Administration Link in the top left corner of the vRealize Operations Product UI. Select the vCenter Python Actions Adapter in the VMware vSphere Solutions Details window and click the Configure button, as shown in the image below.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Proactive Monitoring Tools

As I meander down the hall to my health care provider for an ultrasound, I think of the severe flu I suffered from two weeks ago. I was at home with a high fever, chills, fatigue, and coughing. At one point, my oblique muscles were very tender from all the coughing, I sneezed particularly hard and my muscles had a spasm. I stood up, light-headed, and then blacked out; my wife told me it was time to go to the doctors.

My doctor gave me a quick diagnosis, he told me that coughing, sneezing or laughing can sometimes place a sudden strain on the autonomic nervous system, which can cause you to faint. He was pretty sure that it was a combination of my severe flu, muscle spasm, and the strain from the sneeze that caused my blackout. But, to be safe, my doctor scheduled an ultrasound and some blood work. He specifically wanted to rule out the possibility of kidney stones, since the pain was in the vicinity of my kidneys. Outside of the seasonal flu, on the surface I seemed healthy, but with technology he could gain greater perspective of any underlying issues.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Virtual SAN 6.0

As we start to look at all the new product release announcements, I think one of the more exciting announcements is Virtual SAN 6.0 with policy-based management. With the hypervisor, we have an opportunity to change the way we address storage challenges by providing granular policies that meet the business SLAs of the applications running our companies. Running all your business applications, from mission-critical applications to print servers to software content libraries on tier-2 SAN storage isn't a cost effective model. The hypervisor is uniquely positioned in the IT stack, it provides the ability to make optimal decisions around matching the demands of virtualized applications with the supply of underlying infrastructure. It allows us to transform storage, bringing the same operational efficiencies that we realized with server virtualization while providing capital efficiencies by leveraging the right storage tier to meet the business need.

How is this accomplished:
  • We virtualize the storage resources into VM-centric pools of capacity that are flexibly consumed
  • Then we automate the delivery of storage service levels to applications through a standard approach that is common across all storage tiers

News: Top vBlog 2016 Trending: DRS Advanced Settings