vROps 7.0 – Self Driving Operations (Part 03)

With this blog we have come to the final pillar of Self Driving Data center operations which is Intelligent Remediation. In case if you haven’t read my earlier blog posts i.e. Part 01 & Part 02 of self driving data center operations, I’ll highly recommend you to please go through it so that you can relate to the discussion which I’ll be to derive in this blog post.

In this blog I’ll cover how customer can leverage vROps for Day 02 operations to identify and remediate data center problems. Since we all know the core strength of vROps comes from its metrics which pretty much can show every possible aspect of vm, host, datastore, network or any third party component. Now once these metrics are collected by vROps one can publish it in the form of Dashboards, Views or Reports (with vROps 7.0 customer get 27 OOTB dashboard). These dashboard have evolved over the years and can cover most of the business use cases customer can have in their environment but that doesn’t stop them to create custom dashboards for business use cases specific to their organization. Another important feature of vROps is Reports, these are top-notch enterprise class report available to the customers and with vROps 7.0 there are 47 such OOTB report templates available for use.

(Custom dashboard & custom report features are available with vROps Adv & Ent licenses only)

vROps 7.0 Dashboard Enhancements: There have been significant enhancement made in vROps 7.0 dashboards. Creating a dashboard is altogether a different experience in vROps 7.0 – unlike earlier versions now there is a canvas available to create dashboard and customer can drag-n-drop their choice of widgets and then resize it as per the requirement. Sometimes there are multiple widgets in a dashboard where output of one widget becomes input for the next one. Let’s take an example that I want to create a dashboard of VM performance where I want to create a widgets where all the vm will be listed and based upon the vm I select in first widget its consecutive widgets displays the performance graph and alerts associated to that vm. Now this is a classic example of interactive dashboard and making it in vROps 7.0 is really easy. Once you decide on the various widgets you want to create then you can simply  drag one widget and drop it to the next one and in the backend vROps will automatically do the configurations.

Once we create the dashboard what do we do with it…? We share it with the respective teams. With vRops 7.0 there are 5 ways with which a dashboard can be shared. One can Email the dashboard to the requester, Embedd this dashboard into another application via API methods, Can be downloaded it in the form of .json so that it can be leveraged into another environment or it can be shared with a specif AD/LDAP group. But my personal favorite method of sharing a dashboard is via Link. This is a new way of sharing a dashboard where the dashboard is converted into a short URL. Next thing is to set expiry of this dashboard, it can be from 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, 1 year or never. Once the expiry is set then all you have to do is share that link with respective user or group. Even if that user doesn’t have a local or domain account associated with vROps still he/she can view this dashboard. Ofcourse that user won’t be able to make any changes to that dashboard and can’t redirect to any other dashboard from that link. Now keeping the security intact vROps admin can easily publish dashboard to individual or application owner. I’ll encourage you to use this feature and see how useful it can be for your environment.

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vRA Integration with vROps: For customer who have vRA led environment vROps 7.0 can provide some really useful OOTB information for the workload e.g. performance behavior of vRA blueprints, various KPI (Key Performance Index) associated with the vRA workload. vRA can also leverage intelligent placement information from vROps to decide which Cluster or Host is best suited for a particular type of vm. Once Operational/Business intents are defined in vROps this information can be leveraged by vRA to make decision while deploying workload. Integrating vRA with vROps with simply done via vRA adapter which comes OOTB with vROps deployment. Apart from this customer also get vSAN, vRealize LogInsight, vRealize Business for Cloud & Endpoint Operations agent adapter with vROps deployment.

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AWS Integration with vROps: Now with customer growing their footprint in Public cloud it is much necessary to have a tool which can embrace Private + Public cloud information seamlessly. With vROps 7.0 customer can also configure AWS MP (Management Pack) to monitor their public cloud workload. With this MP customer can monitor 24 different AWS services like EC2, RDS, EBS, LB, Lambda, Redshift etc. Also there are  28 OOTB dashboards and 34 alert definitions available exclusively for AWS workload. Now whether your workload is running in-house or in Public Cloud vROps has the capability to monitor it and notify if anything goes wrong. Here is the link for AWS MP from VMware Marketplace

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vRO Integration with vROps: I have personally faced this question multiple times while talking to customer when they ask if vROps is considered as central intelligence of a date center they why can’t they leverage this intelligence to create orchestrated workflows. In earlier versions of vROps there was a feature called Actions which can trigger various OOTB workflows like adding a vCPU, Shutdown a vm, vMotion a vm etc but those workflows were very basic and hence were not much used. However with latest vRO MP various OOTB workflows can be launched directly from the vROps console. Use this link to download vRO MP for vROps 7.0

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vROps Integration with Storage Devices: Customer have been using vROps to monitor their storage solutions for a holistic visibility of their data center. There are various storage players like EMC, NetApp, IBM, HP who have been developing management packs for their storage solutions which can be integrated with vROps to get information related to respective storage solutions. However these MP were very good in terms of monitoring storage solutions but they had very less visibility from storage switch perspective. With vRops 7.0 this shortcoming has also overcame with its reach to various fabric switches. Whether customer are using CISCO DCNM, Brocade BNA or any other fabric switch management method if they support CIM agent that device can be monitored via vROps. Use this link to download MP for Storage Devices

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Compliance Integrated with vROps 7.0: Compliance is a very important part of any organization and at times customer have to abide to a specific regulatory authority. vROps 7.0 supports various industry standard compliance authorities like PCI, HIPPA, FISMA, DISA, ISO Security. In below example I have configured my vROps compliance policy for PCI as you can see now there is a new tab named “Compliance” is available. When I select any vCenter object and click on compliance tab it can show whether that object is complaint to this regulatory authority guidelines or not. It can also show various recommendations which can be followed if customer wants to remediate that object as per the compliance.

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Application Monitoring:  So far we have been discussing about data center and its various components and how to monitor it. Various methods which we discussed about monitoring are all around physical & virtual infrastructure but there is one question still un-answered and that is how to monitor application? VMware has recently announced Wavefront SaaS offering for customer which can be leveraged to monitor applications. Like vROps is for monitoring datacenter (physical & virtual) Wavefront can be seen similar way for applications. It uses light-weight Telegraph based agents to be installed inside  vm to push application level metrics to the proxy server (deployed as .ova) from where customer can filter which data they want to upload to Wavefront analytics. Once the metrics are uploaded to Wavefront analytics server customer can consume that information in the form of dashboards or various historical graph – much like the same way they have been using it in vROps.

I’ll be publishing a separate blog post for Wavefront and share various OOTB features and use cases for it, meanwhile you can browse to this link to know more about Wavefront.

With this I end this blog series on Self driving datacenter. I have tried to cover data center pillars… I hope it was helpful for you.. Till then Happy Reading 🙂

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