Tuesday, August 8, 2017

vRealize Operations Manager 6.6.1 Released

VMware just announced the release of vRealize Operations Manager 6.6.1. This is a maintenance release which has the minor bug fixes which were reported with vRealize Operations 6.6. If you are looking to upgrade to vRops 6.6. I would highly recommedn to move to 6.6.1 so that you can benefit from these minor bug fixes.

As per the release notes, here are the lists of issues which have been taken care off with this maintenance release:

  • The Total Reclamation Opportunity widget in the Capacity Overview dashboard now displays the correct Reclaimable Capacity metric value.

  • The VM percentage metric values for the idle, wait, system, iowait, and swapwait metrics have been corrected.

  • Issues with View rendering where resource and aggregation filtering options have both been set, has been resolved.

  • Issues with report generation for reports created in earlier versions has been resolved.

  • Improved Cluster resilience in case of packet drop spikes in the network.

  • Intermittent End Point Operations adapter install/upgrade failures has been fixed.

  • The vSAN World object shows the correct number of VMs using vSAN datastore.

  • vRealize Operations user interface displays correct information when custom attribute is updated directly in vCenter Server.

  • Imported vIDM user preserves all assigned groups.

  • Users can enter FQDN as part of the vIDM redirect URL.

  • Endless analytics restarts caused by a empty file is fixed.

  • Only vSAN enabled host are counted in the vSAN World object.

  • The issue with empty Cassandra file has been resolved.

  • Intermittent REST authentication issues has been fixed.

  • vSphere tags are no longer cleared if tag query fails.

  • Negative values for some of the metrics of the vSAN adapter are corrected.

Share & Spread the Knowledge!!

Part 10 - VM Mobility gets a whole new meaning with Workload Balance in vROps 6.6

Hope you are enjoying the vROps 6.6 Whats's New Series. I took a little break from writing, but I am back with some more goodness around vROps 6.6. One of the key features which was shipped out in this realese is called the Workload Balance.

In my first post of this What's New Series, I wrote in brief about Fully Automated Workload Balance. Here is a quick recap of what I highlighted about this feature.

  • Fully Automated Workload Balancing:
    • Ensures performance across the datacenter's with fully automated workload balancing, across clusters and across data stores.
    • Ensures DRS Configurations and provides the option to set DRS automation level for individual objects.
    • Predictive DRS takes action to preempt resource contention.
    • Utilizes operations analytics to optimize initial placement of workloads through vRealize Automation.

In the upcoming vROps Webinar Series, I will go deep into this topic to explain how vROps Workload Balance can help you proactively avoid performance problem by using the Mobility Aspects of a VM with time trusted technologies such as vMotion and Storage vMotion.

Apart from being proactive on moving virtual machines across clusters, Workload Balance also helps you track the configuration of DRS which plays a big role in moving virtual machines within the cluster.

With Custom Datacenters (a construct of vRealize Operations Manager), you can create your mini datacenters of your favorite clusters with like properties and move virtual machines between these clusters to avoid any performance bottlenecks and effectively utilize the capacity.

Watch out for the announcement for the next webinar episode where we will see all this goodness in action.

In the mean-time, see this video from Matt Bradford who works as a Technical Account Manager at VMware and also runs a wonderful blog named vmspot.com 

Matt explains both Workload Balance and Predictive DRS with some great examples. See him in action below:

Share & Spread the Knowledge!!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

vROps Webinar Series 2017 - Part 3 - What's New with vROps 6.6.

Hello!!! Hope you enjoyed the last episode of vRealize Operations Webinar Series.This time around we spoke about the all new version of the product : vRealize Operations Manager 6.6, which is recently released by VMware.

We started with an overview of all the cool new stuff and then drill down into individual areas. We then jumped into a Live Demo as usual to see the new features in action.

We would highly appreciate if you could spend 30 seconds to fill up this quick and simple survey to provide us your feedback. You can also request topics of your choice through this survey.

Here is the recording!

Note : It is recommended that you watch the video in HD quality for a great experience.

Share & Spread the Knowledge!!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

New Contest : Share Your vROps 6.6 Upgrade Story & Win Exciting Prizes

The VMware Communities just started a contest on vRealize Operations Manager 6.6. Make sure you check it out and participate by sharing your experience with vRops 6.6.

If you are all excited about our new release of vRealize Operations 6.6 and have already upgraded, please share your story. We are running a contest through July 2017 to spotlight the top 3 stories in our upcoming blog. The top 3 winners will be selected to have a 1:1 training workshop for your entire team with our product experts.

Top 5 reasons to upgrade to vROps 6.6:
  1. Simple process and more efficient
  2. Fully automated workload balancing
  3. More Dashboards Out of the Box
  4. Tighter Integration with VSAN, vRealize Log Insight, vRealize Business for Cloud
  5. Better look and feel with HTML5 Clarity UI

Please post your success story in the VMware Communities forum with the answe to the following 3 simple questions:

  • Why you upgraded to vRealize Operations 6.6?
  • What benefits have you experienced from this upgrade?
  • Can you share best practices with your peers?
>> Judge Criteria: Most interesting best practices, upgrade themes into any of the 5 categories above.

>> Watch these videos to get the most out of vROps 6.6

Look forward to exciting stories! Go vRops Ninja!!

What's New with vROps 6.6 on VMware Communities Roundtables Podcast

Podcast are the modern blogs. The only difference is that you hear the opinion of the person instead of reading them. I guess that makes it powerful since you can be anywhere, doing anything and tune into a podcast and hopefully learn from it.

If the topic is of your interest, then it is like music to ears, if not, then you switch over to a different channel. The learning never stops...

While I am No Podcast pro, I have been involved in a couple and the one I enjoyed a lot was with cloudinsiders.fm. No points for guessing that the topic was "How is your IT infrastructure being managed?" Tune into that one if you want to hear my ramblings on where is Operations with all things cloudy going and how would one create a strategy around Cloud Operations.

In my recent Podcast adventure , I skope about the motivation behind vRealize Operations Manager 6.6. 

I was honored to be invited on the VMware Communities Roundatbles Podcast to discuss about my blog, my journey into the virtual world and ofcourse the latest release of vRealize Operations Manager 6.6.

Special thanks to the wonderful hosts Eric, Katie and Noell for inviting me to the show and all the wonderful work they do for the VMware Communities.

Here is the link to the Recording - http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-19367/TS-1192094.mp3 

Hope you enjoy the podcast and most importantly learn from it. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Have a Great Day!!

Monday, July 10, 2017

vROps Webinar 2017 - Announcing Part 3 : What's New with vROps 6.6

Welcome to the next episode of vRealize Operations Manager Webinar Series. This time around we will talk about the latest release of vROps released in the month of June. 

With this release, VMware has made drastic changes to the product and the initial reviews of the product have been great. Since I was a part of the team delivering this new release, I thought it would be a good topic to discuss in the next episode of the Webinar Series.

As always, we will go through the slideware to give you a quick introduction and then do a live demo of the features in our environment. Since this is a big release, we will use the subsequent episodes of this series do give you a deep dive into some of the features which require a special mention and more time due to the depth and breadth of the topic.

Here are the details: 👇👇👇

Session Title
Thursday, 20th July 2017
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM Pacific Time
Sunny Dua & Simon Eady
Webinar Link
Save Invite

See you at the Webinar!!  👋👋👋👋

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Part 9 - Using data roll-ups for longer retention period in vROps 6.6

Hope you are enjoying the What's New with vROps 6.6 series. With this post, I wanted to share a little gem of a configuration which has not been in the lime-light with all the new and cool things available with this new release of vRealize Operations 6.6. 
This feature is about data retention which has not changed much since the initial days of vROps (infact it was called vCOps back then). If you remember, Time Series Data Retention is one of the key features of vROps which allows you to retain the metrics data in the FSDB for upto 10 years. This means that you can retain data without any rolls ups for months and go back in time whenever you want to. 

While I have never seen a customer with a requirement of 10 year data retention, I have often come across customers who have a 2 year worth data retention policy. Specially in the healthcare or government space where historical data retention is a compliance requirement. In such cases, your storage requirement for saving all this data increases exponentially. 

Related image
I have had a number of customers ask if we can purge or archive this data or even create roll ups to minimize the disk space requirements while ensuring compliance requirements of long term data retention. 

This will also help with reduction of their backup and DR foot print which is key to enterprises running vRealize Operations Manager in a large scale production environment. With the release of vRealize Operations Manager 6.6, you now get a couple of options for data retention. You can find these options under the Global Settings option.

Let's find these settings and drill down into the meaning of these:

1- Login to vRealize Operation with admin privelleges.

2- Click on Administration -> Management -> Global Settings

3- Click on the Edit icon to view the settings in edit mode.

Here you can see 2 settings:

Time Series Data Retention : This is the existing setting from the previous versions and is set to 6 months by default for 5 minutes interval data retention.

Additional Time Series Retention : This is a NEW setting with vROps 6.6. This is set to 36 months by default. This setting will ensure that after 6 months of normal retention (5 minutes), the 7th month data is rolled up into a ONE HOUR (1 Hour) roll up. You can set up this option upto 120 months for data roll ups.

With this setting in place, one can easily, setup the 5 minute interval data to 3 months which is enough for capacity predictions and performance troubleshooting and use the additional retention setting to 3 months or more based on the compliance requirements. 

So go ahead, re-think your data retention policy and see how you can make the footprint of your vROps instances smaller with the benefit of longer term data retention.

More to come.. Stay Tuned!!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Part 8 - vROps 6.6 : Creating queries with Metrics & properties using Metric Groups

"Troubleshooting is an Art and not Science"

I remember this statement from the time I started my career as a desktop support engineer. Fast forward 14 years to today's date and we all know that the statement still holds water!

While no tool in the world will give you a 100% accurate root cause analysis, it is important that you have a tool which helps you with the rule of elimination in your troubleshooting process. If you have quick and easy things which you can check and move forward, this would definitely make the troubleshooting process faster and reduce the time required to drill down to the root cause.

Queries in vROps is one such way by which you can easily reach from the source to destination in the troubleshooting process.

With the release of vRealize Operations Manager 6.6, you can now create metric groups which not only use metrics, but can also consist of properties. Using the concept I created some new groups which work as queries. 

These queries can help answer simple questions through vROps metrics which can help an administrator significantly while they are in a fire fighting mode to quickly find and solve problems. Here are the custom queries which I have created in my environment, you can use the same and make your troubleshooting process quicker and simpler. For ease of use, I have created queries for all the key Object Types. You can see the Object Name, Queries and the Metrics which make that query:




Virtual Machines

These are just examples of what I created for myself. You being an application, database or OS experts, you can use any metrics collected by vROps and create meaningful queries.

Once you have the desired queries you can easily double click on them and look at the key metric and properties with a single click. Hopefully this will help you with your troubleshooting style and decrease the mean time to resolution.

Share & Spread the Knowledge!!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Part 7 - vROps 6.6 : Virtual Machine Inventory Summary Report

Welcome back to the what's new series for vRealize Operations Manager 6.6. While in the previous parts, we have been talking about the dashboards, with this post, I do want to highlight some of the out of the box reports which can help administrators quickly with their day to day activities. A very basic use case of reporting involves a VI Admin to keep a track of all the virtual machines in the environment and share a regular report with people within the organization about the basic configuration and whereabouts of the Virtual Machines.

With vROps 6.6, you can find a useful out of the box report for this purpose. The report is called :

Virtual Machine Inventory Summary

You can find this report under the Reports section of the new Clarity User Interface. Here are the steps to fetch this report.

1- Log in to your vROps instance with a user with privileges to run reports.

2- Click on Dashboards Menu.

3- On the Navigation Pane click on Reports.

4- Use the search filter to search for a report using the name - "Virtual Machine Inventory Summary".

5- Once you click on the Run Report button highlighted in red, you get a choice to run this report against a particular construct. This could the vSphere World, a vCenter Server, a particular cluster or even a custom group you want to report on.

6- Click on OK to generate the report.

7- You can view the report in the Generated Reports section and download a PDF version or a CSV file based on how you would like to present this data.

Once you download the report, you will be able to see all the fields which would provide you all the crucial details about your virtual machines. Here is a quick look at all the fields which are generated in this report. Click to view the image in full screen:

With this report you can cater to multiple use cases by scheduling these reports for target audiences using the simple report scheduling method in vROps. Some of the basic use cases where this report can be used are:

Use Cases:

a) Keeping an inventory of all or subset of the virtual machines in your environment.

b) Reporting this data to VM or Application Owners.

c) Virtual Machine Life-cycle Management

d) Keep a track of configuration inconsistencies. For eg old VMware Tools Versions

e) Tracking OS versions for licensing needs.

and many more.......

So go ahead pull up the inventory summary easily with vROps 6.6 and use the data to improve your virtual infrastructure and make your day to day work easier.

More to come.. Stay Tuned!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Part 6 - Configuration & Compliance Dashboards in vRealize Operations 6.6.

Welcome to the next post of the series on What's New with vRealize Operations Manager 6.6. In the last few parts of this series, I have been writing about the out of the box dashboards available in vROps 6.6.

In this post I will talk about the last out of the box category of Configuration & Compliance. I have skipped Workload Balance for now as it is more than a dashboard in vRealize Operations 6.6. I will share a series of post on that topic in the days to come.

Let us focus on the category of Configuration & Compliance. Here is how Configuration & Compliance shows up on the Getting Started Page:

The Configuration and Compliance category caters to the administrators who are responsible to manage configuration drifts within a virtual infrastructure. Since most of the issues in a virtual infrastructure are a result of inconsistent configurations, dashboards in this category highlight the inconsistencies at various levels such as Virtual Machines, Hosts, Clusters and Virtual Networks. You can view a list of configuration improvements that helps you to avoid problems that are caused because of misconfigurations.

Your IT security teams can also measure your environment against the vSphere hardening best practices to ensure that your environment is fully secured and meets all the compliance standards.

Key questions these dashboards help you answer are :

  • Are the vSphere clusters consistently configured for high availability and optimal performance?
  • Are the ESXi hosts consistently configured and available to use?
  • Are the Virtual Machines sized and configured as per recommended best practices?
  • Are virtual switches configured optimally?
  • Is the environment configured in accordance with the vSphere Hardening Guide?

Let us look at each of these dashboard and I will provide a summary of what these dashboards can do for you along with a quick view of the dashboard:

Cluster Configuration

The Cluster Configuration Dashboard provides you a quick overview of your vSphere cluster configurations. It highlights the areas which are important to deliver performance and availability to your virtual machines. The dashboard quickly highlights if there are clusters which are not configured for DRS, HA or Admission Control to avoid any resource bottlenecks or availability issues in case of a host failure.

The heatmap on this dashboard, quickly identifies if you have hosts where vMotion was not enabled as this would not allow the VMs to move from or to that host. This could cause potential performance issues on the VMs living on that host if the host gets too busy. The dashboard also provides you a quick view of how consistently your clusters are sized and whether the hosts on each of those clusters are consistently configured. 

The Cluster Properties view in this dashboard allows you to easily report on all these parameters by simply exporting the data and share the same with relevant stakeholders within your organization.

Host Configuration

The Host Configuration dashboard provides you a quick overview of your ESXi host configurations and capture inconsistencies to take corrective actions. Along with configurations, the dashboard measures the ESXi hosts against the vSphere best practices and calls out if it finds a deviation which can impact the performance or availability of your virtual infrastructure.

While you can always view this data using the dashboards, the ESXi Configuration view on this page allows you to export this data and share the same with administrator responsible to manage the hosts. 

Network Configuration

The Network Configuration dashboard provides a detailed view of virtual switch configuration and utilization. On selecting a virtual switch you can see the list of ESXi hosts, DV port Groups and virtual machines which are being served by the select switch.

You can easily identify any misconfigurations within various network components by reviewing the properties listed in the views within the dashboard. The drill down to the virtual machine levels allows you to track important information such as IP address and MAC address assigned to the virtual machines.

A network administrator can use this dashboard to get a visibility into the virtual infrastructure network configuration.

VM Configuration

The Virtual Machine Configuration dashboard focuses on highlighting the key configurations of the virtual machines in your environment. The goal of this dashboard is to help you find inconsistencies of configuration within your virtual machines in order to take quick remediation measures. This helps you safeguard the applications which are hosted on these virtual machines by avoiding potential issues due to misconfigurations. 

Some of the basic issues the dashboard focuses on includes identifying VMs running on older VMware tools versions, VMware tools not running or virtual machines running on large disk snapshots. VMs with such symptoms can lead to potential performance issues and hence it is important to ensure that they do not deviate from the defined standards.

This dashboard is complimented with an out of the box report named "Virtual Machine Inventory Summary" which can be used to report the configurations highlighted on this dashboard for quick remediation. 

vSphere Hardening Compliance

The vSphere Hardening Compliance dashboard measures you environment against the vSphere Hardening Guide and lists down the objects which are non-compliant. You can see the trend of High Risk, Medium Risk and Low Risk violations and see the overall compliance score of your virtual infrastructure.

The dashboard also allows you to drill down into various components to check compliance for your ESXi hosts, Clusters, Port Groups and virtual machines using heatmaps.

Each non-compliant object is listed in the dashboard with recommendations on remediation required to secure your virtual infrastructure.


     In case you are like me, and don't like to READ. You can see the dashboards in action in this video playlist:

See all dashboards in action here.

More to come.. Stay Tuned!!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Part 5 - Performance Troubleshooting Dashboards in vRealize Operations 6.6.

Hope you are enjoying the What's New with vROps 6.6 Series. I am having a great time writing this, since my experience as a user of vROps has completely turned around with this release. In this post, we will continue talking about the rich & use case driven out of the box content available in the form of dashboards.

The Getting Started page in the product acts an anchor for showcasing all the use cases. The focus of this post would be on Performance Troubleshooting.

Here is how Performance Troubleshooting shows up on the Getting Started Page:

The Performance Troubleshooting category caters to the administrators responsible for managing the performance & availability of the virtual machines running in the virtual infrastructure. This category runs your through a guided workflow to answer questions which will help you with the troubleshooting process. The dashboards in this category identify and isolate problems that may impact your applications. They provide a line of sight into the full stack to isolate and identify the root cause quickly.

Key questions these dashboards help you answer are :

Is application performance impacted due to virtual infrastructure?

Are noisy neighbors impacting multiple virtual machines and corresponding applications?

Are there active alerts which require action?

Any known issues impacting the performance & availability of a vSAN cluster?

Let us look at each of these dashboard and I will provide a summary of what these dashboards can do for you along with a quick view of the dashboard:

Troubleshoot a VM

The Troubleshoot a VM dashboard helps a VI Administrator to deal with day to day troubleshooting of issues in a virtual infrastructure. While most of the IT issues in an organization are reported at the application layer, this dashboard provides a guided workflow which can help investigate an ongoing or a suspected issue with virtual machines supporting the impacted applications.

You can easily search for a virtual machine by its name or can sort the list of VMs with active alerts on them to start your troubleshooting process. As soon as you select a VM, you can view its key properties to ensure they are configured as per your virtual infrastructure design. Any deviation from standards could cause potential issues. You can view any known alerts, the workload trend of the VM over the past week and if any of the resources serving the virtual machine has any ongoing issue.

The next step in the troubleshooting process allows you to eliminate the major symptoms which might impact the performance or availability of a virtual machine. You can drill down further into the key metrics to find out if the VMs utilization patterns are abnormal or it is contending for basic resources such as CPU, Memory or Disk.

Troubleshoot a Cluster

The Troubleshoot a Cluster Dashboard provides you a guided workflow to identify issues and isolate them easily. You can either start with a cluster which happens to have an issue by using the search option or you can simply sort your clusters with the number of active alerts on them.

On selecting a specific cluster you want to work with, you can see a quick summary of number of hosts participating in that cluster and the VMs being served by them. The dashboard provides you the current and past utilization trends of how hard your cluster is working and what are the known problems on the cluster in form of alerts.

You can easily view the hierarchy of objects related to the cluster and review their status to identify if they are impacted due to the current health of the cluster. You can quickly identify any contention issues by looking at the max and avg. contention faced by the virtual machines on the selected cluster. The dashboard allows you to drill down to specific virtual machines which might be a victim of resource contention and take your next steps in the troubleshooting process to cater to those victims and avoid issues proactively. 

Troubleshoot a Datastore

Troubleshoot a Datastore dashboard helps provide a guided workload to an administrator in order to quickly identify storage issues and act on them. Based on your troubleshooting style you can either start with a Datastore which might be in trouble due to high latency and is showing red on the heatmap or you can search for a Datastore which you have in mind. You can also sort all the datastores with active alerts and start working your way with a Datastore with known problems.

On selecting a datastore you see its current capacity and utilization along with a count of VMs served by that Datastore. The metric charts helps you to view historical trends of key storage metrics such as latency, outstanding IOs and throughput.

The dashboard also lists the virtual machines served by the selected datastore and help you analyze the utilization and performance trends of those virtual machines. If the virtual machines are suffering, the VI administrator can migrate these virtual machines over to other datastores to evenly spread out IO load.

Troubleshoot a Host

Since ESXi servers are the main source of providing resources to a virtual machine, they become extremely critical when it comes to performance and availability. With Troubleshoot a host dashboard, you can either search for specific Host which you have in mind or sort the hosts with active alerts to start your investigation.

As soon as you select a host, you can see the key properties of each of the host to ensure thy are configured as per your virtual infrastructure design. Any deviation from standards could cause potential issues. You can answer some key questions around current and past utilization, workload trends over the last week and if virtual machines served by the host are healthy.

Hardware faults with the hosts can be easily surfaced on this dashboard since it lists all the critical events which might affect the availability of the hosts. If you find a host which is running hot, the next logical step in the troubleshooting process would be to find out the villain virtual machines which might be consuming resources from that host. You can find a list of top 10 virtual machines which are demanding CPU and Memory Resources from the identified host.

Troubleshoot vSAN

The Troubleshoot vSAN dashboard is designed to help a vSAN administrator step through a guided workflow to investigate potential issues with each layer of vSAN. The dashboard allows you to start with looking at key properties of your vSAN cluster along with the active alerts on any of the cluster components such as hosts, disk groups or the vSAN datastores.

Once you select a cluster, you can list all the known problems with all the objects which are associated to that cluster. This includes, clusters, datastores, disk groups, physical disks and most importantly the virtual machines which are being served by the selected vSAN cluster.

The dashboard then drills down into the key utilization and performance metrics and shows you a trend of how the cluster has been used and has performed over the past 24 hours. You can easily go back in time if you are dealing with historical issues. While most of the problems would be surfaced up at the cluster level, a drill down analysis can be done at the host, disk group or down to the physical disk level.

Heatmaps within the dashboard help you answer questions around write buffer usage, cache hit ratio, host configurations and physical issues with capacity and cache disks such as drive wearout, drive temperature and read-write errors.

 Troubleshoot with Logs

The Troubleshoot with Logs dashboard can be used when you want to investigate an ongoing issue within your virtual infrastructure using the logs. This dashboard helps you to look at predefined views created within Log Insight to answer common questions which can be surfaced through pre-defined queries within Log insight.

With this dashboard, you can correlate metrics and queries within vRealize Operations Manager on a single pane of glass to troubleshoot issues across applications and infrastructure.

In case you are like me, and don't like to READ. You can see the dashboards in action in this video playlist:

See all dashboards in action here.

More to come.. Stay Tuned!!