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 Secure Healthy Systems with vROps Alerts

By: Cameron Jones, Blue Medora

In any enterprise-monitoring tool, alerting is going to be a primary focus. vRealize Operations Manager (vROps) is no exception. Combining external management packs with vROps alerting ensures the health of not only your VMware system but also your entire infrastructure. To gain insight into how alerts work, let’s take a look at an environment that is running the vROps Management Pack for Cisco UCS.

Blue Medora NetApp Figure 1
Figure 1 - Environment Overview of VMware running on UCS

In Figure 1, we can see a small VMware environment hosted on Cisco UCS. Most of the environment is healthy, but a few of the underlying UCS components are unhealthy. First of all, the UCS Chassis is in a Health-Immediate state. Let’s examine that further. Continue reading

How to take your Data Center from 0 to 60: vSphere with Operations Management




Are you looking for a solution to cope with the demands for more and more services and applications to be delivered anywhere, on any device? Need to ensure higher performance and availability of your IT infrastructure and applications – but worried your data center solutions are not up to speed? Read further to understand more about a solution that fixes these problems.





We have heard from customers the common challenges they face in data center management today are:

  • Tremendously higher expectations on the capabilities of IT, with more users, endpoints, and data volume/velocity than ever before.
  • Lack of clarity and visibility into dependencies of applications on infrastructure components.
  • Inefficient resource utilization and inconsistent management of the virtualized data center.
  • The dynamic nature of cloud environments today means that traditional ways of managing are simply not feasible anymore. Continue reading

VMworld 2015 - Managing VMware NSX with vRealize Suite

by Rich Bourdeau

If you are interested in learning more about how to efficiently manage VMware NSX in order to deliver secure scalable high-performing applications on demand, you will want to attend some of these VMworld 2015 breakout sessions and hands on labs.

VMware SDDC (1)

Breakout Sessions

  • NET5187 - What’s New in Operations Management for Networking with NSX and others
    Monday Aug 31, 1:30-2:30
    Bill Roth - Group Manager, Marketing, VMware
    This talk will discuss the new features in vRealize Operations Insight related to the management and content packs contain support for VMware's NSX product line, as well as other network products. 
  • MGT5360 - Introducing Application Self-service with Networking and Security Using vRealize Automation and NSX
    Monday Aug 31, 3:00-4:00
    Andrew Voltmer - Product Line Manager, VMware
    Becky Smith - Senior Product Line Manager, VMware
    This session will cover the self-service catalog delivery of applications and infrastructure including their on-demand networking and security needs through integration of VMware’s vRealize Automation and NSX solutions. Learn how to solve your IT demand challenges by reducing service delivery times from weeks to minutes.  Continue reading

Delivering Application-Centric Network and Security Services

by Rich Bourdeau

VMware NSX and vRealize Automation deliver secure, scalable, and high performing applications on-demandvRA NSX Multi-Tier App

Applications need much more than appropriately sized virtual machines.  They also need accurately configured network connectivity, security, availability, scale, and performance. In order to deliver these capabilities to your applications you will need to automate more than just assigning IP address, DNS entries and vLANs to the virtual machines that host your applications.

As part of deploying a multi-tiered application you will need to provision connectivity through deployment of logical switches and routers. In addition it is important to securely deploy the application through intelligent placement of workloads in security groups, protected by firewall rules.  Finally application availability and performance through the use of load balancers ensures that application users will always have access to a highly responsive application. vRealize Automation automates all of these processes for NSX.

Delivering Application-Centric Network and Security Services

vRealize Automation provisions, updates and decommissions network and security services  in lockstep with your virtualized applications.  Network and security services are deployed as part of the automated delivery of the application, consistent with its connectivity, security, and performance requirements.

Automation creates a standardized repeatable process that helps accelerate delivery, reducing the time needed to perform the task.   At the same time automation also improves the consistency and reliability of the final configuration by elimination of manual errors.  Finally automation reduces operational costs by eliminating many manual tasks, and improves development productivity by delivering application environments to engineers faster. Continue reading

Align Your Cloud Management Initiative with the Market Leader

by Rich Bourdeau

Considering deploying a private cloud?  Need to get better control over public cloud health, performance and utilization?

Most industry analysts see IT infrastructure environments evolving to a hybrid cloud environment over the next 2-3 years.   IDC expects that over 65% of enterprise IT organizations will commit to Hybrid cloud architectures by the end of 2015.  Many VMware customers have already started this journey.  VMware vRealize Suite cloud management platform is purpose built for managing multi-vendor hybrid clouds.  It provides a comprehensive management stack for IT services on vSphere and other hypervisors, physical infrastructure and external clouds, all with a unified management experience.

VMware vRealize Suite leads the Cloud Systems Management Market

According to a recent IDC cloud management market share report, the demand for Cloud Systems Management software continues to accelerate as more services providers and enterprises deploy cloud based architectures.

IDC 2014 Cloud Mgmt Mkt Growth

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Troubleshooting Slow Virtual Machines and QoS Policies on NetApp Storage using vRealize Operations

By Bekah Suttner, Blue Medora

Virtual administrators on NetApp storage often receive complaints from end users about slow-running virtual machines when writing large amounts of data. This slowdown can often be the result of a QoS (Quality of Service) policy within the NetApp storage environment. In the following blog post, we will walk through how to troubleshoot virtual machines on NetApp storage. To troubleshoot this problem, we will use VMware vRealize Operations (vROps) and the vRealize Operations Management Pack for NetApp Storage to bring our NetApp storage environment into vROps. While QoS policies can be applied to a number of NetApp objects, the following use case will focus on a NetApp volume.

NetApp View 1

Figure 1 - A view of the write latency of a virtual machine in vROps

As the vAdmin, our first step after receiving a complaint about a slow VM will be to view the write latency for the VM in question. This allows us to understand just how slowly the virtual machine is functioning. As we see in Figure 1 above, this allows us to locate related objects, which will be important in the next step.

Once we have an idea as to how slow our virtual machine is moving, we can begin tracking down the issue. To do this, we need to view the datastore related to our virtual machine and check its write rate. Using the metrics brought into vROps, we notice an apparent cap on our write rate, which has leveled out at about 1,010 KB (or 1 MB) per second in this case, seen below in Figure 2. Seeing a cap this consistent is unusual, especially at such a low read rate. This serves as an indication that something may be placing a cap on the write rate of the datastore. To investigate further, we will need to navigate down to the storage layer.

NetApp View 2

Figure 2 - A view of the write rate of the related datastore in KB per second

In Figure 2, we see a volume associated with our datastore. We navigate to view the metrics for that volume and see that there is a QoS metric group in our environment. If there is no QoS policy in place, this metric group will not appear. We expand the metric group and pull up the metrics for the maximum throughput allowed on the volume by the QoS policy and for the percent of allowed throughput used by the volume.

NetApp Fig 3

Figure 3 - Metrics for maximum throughput and percent of maximum throughput used

We see in Figure 3 that our maximum throughput is 1 MB per second (the same amount we saw in Figure 2) and that our volume is using 100% of its maximum allowed throughput. Since the virtual machines are writing to this volume, we know that our slow virtual machine write performance stems from a QoS policy that is capping our throughput.

With this information, we can now improve the performance of the slow VM using one of two solutions. We can either contact our NetApp storage administrator and ask for QoS policy to be adjusted to allow for a higher write rate per second, or relocate the noisy virtual machines to other datastores on volumes that will allow a higher write rate. This allows Netapp administrators to maximize their storage use while allowing vAdmins to ensure optimal performance to the end user.

For more information on virtualization and cloud infrastructure, visit the VMware Solution Exchange and check out the vRealize Operations Management platform. For more information on the management pack used in this solution, visit the Blue Medora vRealize Operations Management Pack for NetApp Storage product page

Post #24 - Creating Custom Policies in vROps 6.x

A large part of the software-defined datacenter is policy-based management (heard of SPBM?) so how do you manage policies in vRealize Operations and how do you create your own custom policies? Let's find out!

Understanding Policies in vRealize Operations 6

Before you start creating custom policies in vRealize Operations 6.x, you should first understand how policies work. You need to know if you even need a custom policy (they aren't required) and you need to make sure that you don't mess up other existing policies when you create a new one. Since I wrote my article #10 on this blog - David Davis on vCenter Operations – Post #10 – Configuring Policies and Groups - the policy screens have changed significantly but the concepts and understanding of policies remains the same. Let's summarize how policies work:

  • Policies are used to customize the badge settings, capacity/time remaining, configuration thresholds, alerts, and VM forecasts and trends
  • Policies are applied to a vROps group (which usually contains multiple VMs)
  • There is a default policy already applied
  • You can clone (copy) that policy, modify it, and reapply it (or start fresh with a new policy)
  • Where there are multiple policies that might apply to an object, the policy with the highest priority will take precedence. The default policy has the lowest priority.

A couple of excellent resources to help you understand policies and create custom policies are the two free VMware videos at the bottom of this blog post. The first video starts off with VMware Engineer Justin Smith providing an excellent definition of a vROps policy that says... Continue reading

California Natural Resources Agency Delivers Cross-Agency Private Cloud

CNRA LogoLeveraging VMware Software Defined Data Center and vRealize Automation, the California Natural Resource Agency delivered a multi-tenant private cloud that meets the unique needs of different groups within the agency.

Consolidating Infrastructure Across Departments

Like most government agencies, tight budgets mean that these IT departments are constantly looking at how to do more with less and the state of California is no exception.  The California natural resources agency is a collection of 28 different agencies many which had their own dedicated IT departments. The goal was to consolidate and share a common infrastructure yet each group has their own autonomy in terms of resources, security, network traffic, etc.

With a mandate to consolidate having a software defined data center (SDDC) was essential.  It allowed them to obfuscate the physical hardware creating a logical data center for each of their organizations.  Initially that meant compute and storage but they have also started on their journey to deploy NSX networking too.  Automation allowed them to dynamically configure resources to meet the unique needs of each group.  This allowed them to move to a cloud service provider model and improve service levels from days to hours.  A summary of their story is provided below, but the full story is available hereContinue reading

Active Networks Automates DevOps with VMware’s Unified Cloud Platform

by Rich BourdeauActive Network

Active Networks improves IT Service delivery while increasing data center security by leveraging VMware vRealize Automation and NSX.

It’s all about delivering applications faster

Increasingly it’s not sufficient for IT to just get faster at delivering compute, storage, security and network infrastructure services.  These infrastructure services lay the foundation for business applications.  However, by themselves they are just components, pieces to a larger puzzle.   After the infrastructure services have been delivered, it is very common for developers and other engineers to takes 2-3 weeks configuring these infrastructure resources into a complete working application environment.

Many companies with DevOps initiatives are focusing on accelerating the delivery of the entire application environment.  This includes the machines that will run the various components of the application (e.g. web, app, DB), the interaction and dependencies of these component machines as well as the network connectivity and security necessary to deliver secure high performing applications to  developers, test engineers and even production environments.

Active Networks a leader in Activity and Participant Management™ and data solutions, was looking at accelerating the delivery of new functionality to their 55,000 customers.  As a cloud based services provider, the ability to deliver on demand access to complete application environments for their developers and business users was key to the success of their business.  A summary of their story is provided below, but the full story is available hereContinue reading

Extend vRealize Automation for Third-Party Imaging Technologies

vRealize Automation (vRA) offers built-in integration with a long list of imaging technologies, such as SCCM, BladeLogic, HP Server Automation, and Citrix Provisioning Server, to name just a few.  But what if you want to integrate vRA with a different imaging technology, that’s not on this list?  Well fortunately, vRA comes with all the extensibility you need to integrate with just about anything.  In this article, I’ll demonstrate the steps needed to integrate vRA with an example imaging technology, Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT).  You can then re-use these steps to build your own integration with other imaging technologies, as needed.

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