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Create a One-Click Cluster Capacity Dashboard Using vCOps

Sunny DuaBy Sunny Dua, Senior Technology Consultant at VMware

It’s easy to set up a cluster capacity dashboard in just one click and I’ll show you how to do it with vCenter Operations Manager Custom Dashboards. In this two-part blog series, I’ll guide you through steps to get this dashboard installed in your environment and explain how to create the interaction XML.

Let’s take a look at the final dashboard in the screenshot below, the problems it will solve, and its features. Then we’ll take a closer look at the process of designing this dashboard and the related customizations you can do. DuaOCCCD1
Here is a quick summary and the features of this dashboard:

  • The list of clusters in the environment being monitored in your Virtual Infrastructure (left pane).
  • Once you select a given cluster, you will see the Capacity Overview of the cluster (right scoreboard widget).
  • The scoreboard gives you the summary of the cluster, consolidation ratios, capacity remaining, waste, and stress data.
  • Each score’s color designates VMware configuration maximums. (For example, if the number of hosts comes out to 33, the box will turn red as vSphere 5.x currently supports a 32-node ESXi Cluster. You have the option to define these thresholds while creating the XML—I’ll share this in a moment.)
  • This dashboard can help CXOs get details about the capacity of each cluster with just a click of a button. It can also easily help them make procurement decisions.
  • Using this dashboard helps IT teams quickly decide which clusters can be used for any new Virtual Machine demand from the business, etc.
  • Finally, large service providers can use this dashboard to keep tabs on the resource utilization and available capacity.

Download Files

The beauty behind this customization is that I can export this dashboard right from my vCOps instance and import it into any vCOps instance with a few steps–and it will work like a charm. You can successfully reuse this dashboard in your vCOps instance, if you have the vCOps advance or Enterprise edition, which includes a custom UI.

Download the Cluster-XML.xml file below to see all of the metrics to display in the scorecard on the right as soon as a cluster is selected on the left pane. In part two of this series, I will tell you how to write this file. The Cluster-Capacity Dashboard.xml file is just a simple export of the dashboard from the Custom UI.

You can do the same for any dashboard that does not have any dependencies for resource IDs (unique identity number given by vCOps to each of its inventory object). You would take a two-step approach to use these files to achieve the final result.

Files to download:

Cluster-XML.xml

Cluster-Capacity Dashboard.xml

Step-by-Step Instructions to Place the Cluster-XML.xml in a Specific Location of UI VM

  1. Use an SCP software to login to the UI VM using the root credentials. I am using WinSCP.
    Change the directory to the following location: /usr/lib/vmware-vcops/tomcat-enterprise/webapps/vcops-custom/WEB-INF/classes/resources/reskndmetrics
  2. Drag and drop the Cluster-XML.xml file from your system where you downloaded it to this directory as shown in the screenshot below.DuaOCCCD2
  3. Right click the target file, and then click on Properties to change the permission level to 644 (for read and execute rights) as shown below.DuaOCCCD3

Now that you’ve finished the first set of steps, let’s go through the second set of instructions.

Step-by-Step Instructions: Import Cluster-Capacity Dashboard.xml Dashboard in vCOps Custom UI

  1. Log into vCOps Custom UI using an ID with administrative privileges.
  2. Click the Import Option under the Dashboard Tools menu.
    DuaOCCCD4
  3. Browse to the location where you saved the Cluster-Capacity Dashboard.xml and click Import.
    DuaOCCCD3
  4. You’ll now see a dialog box indicating that your dashboard was successfully imported. Close the window and click the Dashboards Menu to find a new dashboard named “CLUSTER-WISE CAPACITY OVERVIEW”
    DuaOCCCD6
  5. Click this and you will now have see the dashboard I displayed at beginning of this post. It’s that simple! :-)After importing the dashboard, if you do not see the names of your cluster in the Resources Widget, you must edit the “Resources” Widget -> Select “Cluster Compute Resource” in the left pane and click OK. This will list all your clusters.

Stay tuned for part two of this article where I’ll provide steps to help create your own .XML files to build additional dashboards. This is useful for those who want a single pane to view the entire capacity of a Virtual Infrastructure.

Additional Notes and Resources

Lior Kamrat, who like myself is a part of VMware Consulting group, has a list of great list of vCOps resources available on a dedicated page of his blog called IMALLVIRTUAL.COM. I would highly recommend you bookmark the page if you are using, learning about, or want to become an expert on vCenter Operations Manager. He also has a blog series on One Click Capacity Planning Dashboards with another angle on capacity in your Virtual Datacenter. In addition, you can review other articles on vCOps on vXpress.


This post originally appeared on Sunny Dua’s vXpress blog. Sunny is a Senior Technology Consultant for VMware’s Professional Services Organization, focused on India and SAARC countries. Follow Sunny on Twitter @sunny_dua.

17 thoughts on “Create a One-Click Cluster Capacity Dashboard Using vCOps

  1. Andy

    Hi Sunny – that is an extremely awesome dashboard! However I see one thing missing – what the average VM size that is being used to calculate “VM’s remaining” for each of the metrics (CPU/Mem/Storage/Network). Eg. If we have 25.8 VM’s remaining before we hit the target memory usage, how much vRAM can we allocate each of those VM’s?

    Reply
  2. Mark LaRoche

    Sunny … Great post! Many customers can quickly use your example as a starting point for their own internal cluster management.

    Reply
  3. Sander

    Nice dashboard! I try to get it working in vCOPS 5.7 but no clusters are showned.
    The wizard is empty.
    What could be wrong?

    Reply
  4. Ryan

    Can you post these files somewhere else? There are a lot of us out here that can’t get to google drive, skydrive, etc from work.

    Reply
  5. Sunny Dua (@Sunny_Dua)

    Thanks everyone for the comments and feedback.

    Andy – I think that is a great idea. The whole idea behind getting this dashboard out was to bring in the creative side of people out. This is just a glimpse of what is possible with vCenter Operations Manager Custom Dashboards. Stay tuned for the Part 2 of this post which will help you design and create your own XMLs and then I would ask you to share your XMLs with me :-)

    Mark – I am glad you liked it and yes this can be easily replicated.

    Sander – Thanks for he question & the answer. I have not noticed that behavior in all the environments, but yeah I have seen one off cases where you need to Edit the Resources Widget and Click on “Cluster Compute Resources” and click on OK. I will update this in the post.

    Ryan – Let me check on what I can do for you.

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Create a vCOps One-Click Cluster Capacity Dashboard Part 2 | VMware Consulting Blog - VMware Blogs

  7. Dave B

    Great dashboard. I was able to get it working, but I’m not getting any info for anything below the first row. all the boxes are just blue and have a ? in them. Any ideas?

    Reply
  8. Simon

    Thanks for the insightful post.
    I would like to know how to customize vCOP for the followings:
    1. monitor disk utilization per VM and send me alert when disk utilization per VM exceeds a defined threshold, say 80% (or when remaining capacity is say 10GB).
    2. Monitor VM network connectivity status and send me notifications whenever ther is loss in connectivity.
    3. Monotor when a VM hangs and send me notification.
    4. Monitor VM/host storage connectivitity and performance status and send me notidications whenever there are issues.
    5. Monitor VMs uptime and send me notification whenever a VM is powered ON/OFF.
    6. Monitory Network performance and send me notification whenever there is an excessive utiliazation, Same for CPU and RAM.
    7. Monitor Datastore capacity utilization and send me notification whenever a datastore is certain percentage utilized.

    Reply
  9. Pingback: vCenter Operations Management Tech Tips: Tip #31 – Create a one-click Cluster Capacity Dashboard - Part 2 | VMware Cloud Management - VMware Blogs

  10. Sunny Dua

    Hi Selva,

    Hope you were able to download…

    Thanks Jesse. That’s a good idea. The part 2 explains how I created this one. You can use the methodology to create your own dashboard…

    Regards
    Sunny

    Reply
  11. Pingback: David Davis on vCenter Operations – Post #18 – What is the vC Ops Custom Interface and Why Do you Care? | VMware Cloud Management - VMware Blogs

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