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Announcing vRealize Operations Management pack for NSX vSphere and NSX Multi Hypervisor

The SDDC (Software Defined Data Center) value proposition is ubiquitously acknowledged and now it’s just a question of when organizations will adopt the SDDC model and not if organizations will adopt it. People have realized the benefits of having the flexibility and agility provided by SDDC. SDDC has just crossed the chasm and we are beginning to see early majority profile customers. Today we’re please to announce an advancement in NSX operations as we announce the vRealize Operations Management pack for NSX vSphere and NSX Multi Hypervisor.

On the journey to the SDDC, customers first built out highly virtualized compute infrastructures. As the virtual infrastructures scaled, management of these environments played a critical role as the need for more simplified operations emerged. Now, customers are taking the next step towards the SDDC by transforming networking and security operations with VMware NSX network virtualization. Driven by powerful use cases such as micro-segmentation and faster application provisioning, VMware NSX has been adopted by more than 250 customers, so the technology is no stranger to the enterprise. The single biggest question we get from customers, and rightly so, been “How will I maintain and operationalize the SDDC and its various components?” And once again, VMware management will play a huge role in providing the orchestration and operational glue that brings the various elements of the SDDC together to achieve maximum value.

The single most important factor that helped data centers make the leap to the SDDC is simplification of operations. Customers have already realized the benefits of compute virtualization in reducing data center costs and complexity. With NSX network virtualization data center customers can extend the benefits of SDDC to the network. NSX use cases like network and security micro-segmentation are enabling security services to be provisioned rapidly keeping pace with the provisioning of server resources. Today NSX is being used by more than 250 customers and as these customers expand their deployments, SDDC day two operations are becoming increasingly critical.

vRealize Operations with over 15,000+ customers has extensive experience in this area. VMware vRealize Operations Insight is an IT operations management solution that delivers intelligent operations and policy-based automation from apps to storage across physical and virtual infrastructure, and can provide up to 30% reduction in capex through capacity optimization and up to 50% reduction in downtimes of tier one applications.

Announcing NSX Operations Management Pack

Unlike traditional tools and point-solutions, vRealize Operations Insight is a unified management solution for performance management, capacity optimization, and real-time log analytics, and provides predictive analytics leveraging both structured and unstructured data, enabling faster problem resolution. I am proud to announce the availability of vRealize Operations Management pack for NSX-vSphere 2.0 and vRealize Operations Management pack for NSX Multi-Hypervisor 1.0. vRealize Operations Management pack for NSX is the  industry’s best-in- class solution for managing and operating NSX. The first version of NSX-vSphere management pack was released in July, 2014 and several Fortune 500 enterprises have adopted it. This blog series will address the challenges our customers face with traditional tools and how VMware has developed a solution in response to the pain points.

Let’s take a step back and see how IT operations have been traditionally done and what the key drivers are of an IT revolution. Technology leaders (CIOs/CEOs/CTOs) have always maintained that it’s People, Process and Technology that together make or break any change. It’s no coincidence that they are told in that order as People by far are the most complex. Whether its fear or incentive that is driving one’s behavior is hard to say. Large organizations scaled to the level where they are due to strong processes. In order to embrace any new technology, processes needs to be modified to maximize the benefits. Changing processes again entails changing people’s behavior and it adds to the inertia. Then comes technology which is getting cheaper, better and faster.

Traditionally IT organizations have been run in silos for better efficiencies. Depending upon the size of the organization, industry and geography, you find a Storage team that is responsible for maintaining storage infrastructure, Network team that is responsible for network infrastructure, Compute team that is responsible for server and virtual compute infrastructure. There are several other organizations such as command center (NOC), Security, Application and others. Now with advent of Network virtualization (NSX) and Storage Virtualization (VSAN), some of the lines are getting blurred. All three key components – Network, Storage & Compute co-residing on a single host (server) and the problem isolation is becoming a challenge. When a problem occurs, how does one pin point where the problem is and which group should be responsible to ensure fast, accurate problem resolution.

 

TraditionalDC_OperationsModel

Most of the IT Operation tools have been developed a decade ago when there was no notion of virtual networking and storage.  Over a period of time, they evolved to be best in class tools for respective verticals (network, storage and compute). These tools are great for fault monitoring and troubleshooting individual technologies, but as you all may be aware, there is lot of finger pointing when a new problem is reported. Generally, the networking team bears the brunt most of the time. Virtual networking has added another overlay which must be addressed from an operational standpoint. None of the old generation tools have a combined view of virtual and physical networking. This is a critical issue for the IT operations team.

The obvious question is how companies will address this. Different companies are taking different routes, but the common path that we are observing is that a new group is being formed that is responsible for complete Network, Storage and Compute virtualization.  This team comprises of people with compute, storage and networking backgrounds. The charter of this team is to manage the SDDC and the persona is called Cloud admin or SDDC admin. Coming back to basics of People, Process and Technology –  For next generation IT operations, we have a new team and processes; however in order to enable that, you need latest tools to simplify the job. Traditional tools will not be sufficient for two reasons

  1. Traditional tools doesn’t do correlation between virtual compute, storage and network infrastructure
  2. There is no virtual and physical visibility

VMware as the pioneer of the SDDC envisaged these challenges and proactively came up with the management solutions for simplifying data center operations. vROps provides intelligent operations management from applications to storage and networking, and across physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures – using predictive analytics and policy-based automation.

vROps communicates with NSX using NSX API and vCenter using vCenter API. Apart from providing top down analysis via these APIs, vROps tightly works with LogInsight to provide a bottom up insight via logs to provide a complete 360 degree holistic view of the SDDC.

NSX-vSphere management pack 2.0 focuses on 3 Key use cases:

  1. Monitor the NSX environment – Dashboard view (Component Health, Open Alerts, Top N )
  2. Initial Troubleshooting or Problem Isolation  – Logical (V) and Physical Topology (P) view and correlation across V and P
  3. Advanced Troubleshooting
  • Debug communication issue using Object to Object Path Visualization
  • Action framework to launch Ping test across Hypervisors

These used cases will be covered in more details in upcoming blogs. Meanwhile you can download the documentation and software at the VMware solutions exchange.

NSX_screenshot

Open and Extensible: Community Content on VMware Solution Exchange

VMware’s vRealize products have been designed with flexible, extensible architectures that allow them to be easily adapted and extended to meet the unique needs of our customers.  This includes support for new multi-vendor virtual, physical and public cloud infrastructures and management tools.  In addition it also includes the ability to customize our automated process to meet the unique needs of our customers.   The products have multiple types of content to extend the product into areas such as physical infrastructure, network, storage, security, data center infrastructure, or even other hypervisors and cloud frameworks.   We work with many of our technology and solution partners to have a world class ecosystem of complementary solutions available to our customers.  Partners work closely with VMware to ensure the content provides the best experience for our joint customers.  Having one place to publish, consolidate and consume content helps customers and delivery partners to engage directly with the entire ecosystem.  The Cloud Management Marketplace on the VMware Solution Exchange (VSX) connects the management and automation ecosystem creating a meeting place for customers, technology partners, solution partners, channel partners and VMware to contribute and consume content.

Building on the existing marketplace, VSX is now going to enable listing content from community developers.  Customers, partners and individual developers will now have the ability to have their open community based content listed and referenced within the VSX. We will now be listing community content in the following vRealize product areas (based on those that have public SDK or in-product extensibility such as LogInsight (Content Packs), Orchestrator (Plug-ins & Workflow Packages), Automation 6.2 (Lifecycle Actions, Custom ASD Services & API Integrations and Cloudclient scripts) and the Operations 6.0 (Dashboards, View, Reports, Alerts Definitions, Symptoms, Recommendations, Super Metrics, OS Agent Plugins and Application Agent Plugins).

The process for a developer to request a listing will be simple

  • Create a listing on VMware communities under the specific product and community content area.  This listing can link back to a website of your choosing for posting your actual content where you want to (like your blog)
  • Filling the worksheet describing your solution
  • Sign the Developer Agreement
  • Send worksheet and Developer Agreement to vRealize-Community-Content@vmware.com

Since launching in 2013, VSX has been very successful with over 60 partners publishing more than 100 extensions to the VMware products. Building on the success and responding to the increased demand from VMware customers, partners, employees and developers, the VSX platform is now available for community developers to create listings for key VMware management products.  The community content will be differentiated from our formal partner content through different content categories.   We should all realize that VMware Technology Alliance Program partner content will in many cases be certified and will be handled through a facilitated support model between the partner and VMware.   Community content on the other hand will be on a as is basis (VMware will not support the community content).   The power of the community will curate the content (through social means – https://communities.vmware.com/welcome ) and of course the voting mechanisms on the VMware Solution Exchange.

The content itself can be hosted on the developer’s favorite sites such as their blog or through existing locations.  The actual content files will not be on Solution Exchange, but will link back to the developer’s choice of location.  The platform provides greater freedom for individual developers at partners or customers to publish content in a forum where the power of the crowd can help curate the solution and expedite the development of higher quality content without incurring additional costs.

In conclusion, the key to the success of a Solution Exchange is the community that provides the platform for developers and users to collaborate and create higher quality content faster. The value of the content increases many fold as the community grows and ultimately providing customers with productivity tools quicker.

Learn how to request a listing and additional resources

  • Visit the VMware Solution Exchange website for evaluation and content
  • If you have any questions about the VSX, send email to vsxalliance@vmware.com
  • Here is the link to learn how community content listing works.  You will be requested to fill in a document with your listing metadata and agree to our Program for Developers
  • Access the community content developer guide here
  • Access the worksheet for documenting your listing here

vRealize Operations Tech Tips #8 – Understanding Allocation vs Demand Based Capacity Modeling

Understanding capacity and having the ability to quickly assess capacity and capacity risk in any environment is critical in today’s software defined data center.  vRealize Operations Manager helps you apply demand & allocation capacity planning principles while managing the capacity of your virtual and cloud environments across any object type.

The great thing is vRealize Operations Manager allows you to leverage both of these capacity models via policies that you assign to workload containers or groups of resources. You can set up the policy to best manage the environment for performance (e.g. production), or for higher density and utilization (e.g. test/dev), or BOTH.

Here’s a video on how this all works in vRealize Operations Manager.

Next week we will see vRealize Operations Manager in action showing Risk, capacity planning and committed projects.  Stay tuned!

vRealize Operations Tech Tips #7 – Filtering the vRealize Operations Manager UI based on Adapter

Today’s #TechTip is the answer to the question:

“Why is it in certain areas of the vRealize Operations Manager UI do I only see a small subset of the data and relationships, that I know are there?”

I recently had this question come up, so here is a short video on how to get what you are looking for. I focus on the “relationship widget” but this work all across the new vRealize Operations Manager UI.

The NSX Content Pack for Log Insight is Now Available

I am pleased to announce that we have just released the VMware NSX for vSphere Log Insight Content Pack in the VMware Solution Exchange . The content pack optimizes implementation, management and troubleshooting of VMware NSX in vSphere environments.

This content pack is available for download by any customer who has installed Log Insight, and VMware NSX for vSphere version 6.1X.  Leveraging an agile development process with our own Networking and Security Business Unit (NSBU), we have integrated 12 VMware NSX-specific dashboards with 90 widgets and more than 50 alerts into this content pack. This is now one of the more feature rich offerings posted on VMware Solution Exchange to date.

Why is this important? Log Insight and this content pack can give customers even better visibility into their VMware NSX environment, and can shorten problem resolution time. This content pack is especially useful for debugging virtual firewall rules, and understanding the “top talkers” VMs on your virtual network.

For an overview of the content pack and its use cases, watch this video playlist:

If you would like more information, or have questions about this, check out VMware’s Solution Exchange for more details.

About NSX

VMware NSX platform provides the networking pillar of the SDDC. NSX brings virtualization and network and security micro-segmentation to your existing network and enables  you to transform data center operations and economics.

Through micro-segmentation, VMware NSX enables better security for east-west traffic, and delivers a new level of security that is built directly into the data center infrastructure.

VMware NSX can be deployed non-disruptively on top of your existing physical infrastructure. Similar to server virtualization, NSX network virtualization lets you treat your physical network as a pool of transport capacity, with network and security services attached to VMs with a policy-driven approach.

Hands On Lab

Log Insight Hands On Lab

vRealize Operations Tech Tips #6 – Understanding Capacity Planning Terminology

vRealize Operations Manager continues lead the industry with its capacity planning functionality by enhancing its capacity algorithms, providing even more flexibility, better out of the box default options and initial configuration wizards to help you set up your capacity policies.  Build a capacity “What-if-scenario” to determine your future needs and hardware purchases and commit them as a Project so it is reflected as a committed change throughout the management system.  vRealize Operations Manager also extend its capacity planning beyond the virtual environment and into heterogeneous environments for storage, network, operating systems, applications, etc.

Before we get too deep into the new features and functions its probably a good idea to level set on what capacity planning really means and start by clarifying the terminology.  Check out the video below to learn all about the concepts and important terms associated with capacity planning.

Up next we describe the need for and the differences between a Demand and an Allocation based capacity model.  You won’t want to miss it!

The Power of VMware vRealize Suite at Choice Hotels

by Rich Bourdeau

choice_hotels_logoI came across this video:  Choice Hotels Slashes IT Provisioning Times and Improves Performance with vRealize Suite.  I’ve summarized their story below, but if you have 3 minutes I highly recommend you watch the video  to learn first-hand about how VMware vRealize Suite cloud management platform improved IT service delivery times and application performance making IT a business enabler.

Choice Hotels recently migrated its corporate datacenter to a VMware software-defined datacenter architecture. That facility is now about 80 percent virtualized with approximately 1,600 virtual machines supporting the organization’s production and development environments.

The Challenges:
IT had issues meeting the needs of 200 plus developers who write applications used by customers, employees and franchisees due to:

  • Long fulfillment cycles (4-6 weeks) for application infrastructure needed by development teams
  • Difficulty troubleshooting performance issues across compute, storage, and network infrastructure

The Solution:

Choice Hotels central IT group leveraged the VMware vRealize Suite automation and operations capabilities to automate infrastructure provisioning developers can self service on demand via service portal, slash delivery times for new business applications, and improve performance troubleshooting.

The Benefits – Automation:

  • Slashed application infrastructure provisioning from 4 to 6 weeks to 30 minutes
  • Accelerated the delivery of new management applications to business users

“Now developers can stand up an application middleware stack in less than 30 minutes. That takes the infrastructure team out of the loop, so the development teams no longer see us as a roadblock.”

— Ross Davis, Senior Virtualization Engineer, Choice Hotels

The Benefits – Operations:

  • Achieved superior performance with accelerated root cause analysis and guided remediation
  • Reclaimed more than a hundred over-provisioned virtual machines in the first few weeks

“We’re now able to get to root cause far more quickly than we have with other monitoring tools. We were never able to correlate statistics from one group to another,”

—     Joey Coco,  Senior Virtualization Engineer, Choice Hotels

Learn More

vRealize Suite 6 downloads now available

vRealize Suite is a cloud management platform purpose-built for the hybrid cloud.   Today’s release includes powerful new features that enhance unified management across physical, virtual including  vSphere® and Hyper-V, and hybrid cloud including  Amazon Web Services, VMware vCloud Air and those based on OpenStack.

Both Advanced and Enterprise editions  include the latest updates of VMware’s full range of cloud management offerings including:

vRealize Automation 6.2
vRealize Automation (vRAuto) accelerates the delivery and ongoing management of multi-vendor, multi-cloud infrastructure and application services leveraging existing infrastructure, tools, and processes.

What’s new

  • vRealize Operations Idle VMs report feeds vRealize Automation’s automated reclamation process
  • vRealize Operations health badges displayed in vRealize Automation
  • CloudClient verb oriented Command Line Interface (CLI) for IT Administrators
  • Complete list – see release notes
  • Downloads

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    Announcing Availability of vRealize Code Stream

    by Rich Bourdeau

    VMware announces the availability of vRealize™ Code Stream™ release automation and continuous delivery software

    Code Stream is a new VMware product targeted at organizations that use agile development approaches and that want to automate a manual release process. It allows developers and operations teams to release software more frequently, more efficiently, and at lower operational risk, all the while leveraging their existing investments in developer and operations tools.

    Code Stream enables continuous delivery by automating the tasks required to build, deploy, and test at each stage in the release delivery pipeline including gating rules between stages.

    Code Stream Release Pipeline Automation

    To automate the delivery Code Stream integrates with and orchestrates the release process by leveraging existing software development lifecycle tools.

    vRealize Code Stream Function

    Code Stream has three core functional modules:

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    Available to Download Now: vRealize Operations 6.0, vRealize Log Insight 2.5, and vRealize Operations Insight 6.0

    At VMware, we focus on helping customers simplify their IT Operations Management, and have a strong set of solution offerings to that objective. We’re excited to share that today the following VMware products have reached General Availability:

    Here’s more detail on each.

    vRealize Operations 6.0

    vRealize Operations 6.0 (vROps) features a completely re-platformed architecture that provides 8X greater scalability, and offers unified management across vSphere and other domains. Predictive analytics, Smart Alerts, and problem detection capabilities identify complex issues and then recommend automated tasks that streamline remediation before problems impact users.

    An overview of the top new features in vROps 6.0, with brief video descriptions, is available in this blog post.

    Here are some useful links for vRealize Operations 6.0:

    vRealize Log Insight 2.5

    VMware vRealize Log Insight delivers real-time log management for VMware environments, with machine learning-based Intelligent Grouping, and high performance search, enabling faster troubleshooting and better operational analytics in across physical, virtual, and cloud environments.  It can analyze terabytes of logs, discover structure in unstructured data, and deliver enterprise-wide visibility via a modern web interface.

    An overview of the top new features in vRealize Log Insight can be seen in this blog post. You can download a 60 day evaluation here.

    We’re hosting a webinar to discuss the features in 2.5. Sign up here if you are interested in the webinar, or the replay.

    vRealize Operations Insight 6.0

    VMware vRealize Operations Insight 6.0 is a unified IT operations and log management solution for performance management, capacity optimization, and real-time log analytics, using predictive analytics leveraging both structured and unstructured data, for proactive issue avoidance and faster problem resolution. It is available as an add-on to vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM).

    For businesses of all sizes using VMware vSphere, who are concerned about application downtimes, return on IT investment, and capital expenditure, vRealize Operations Insight (vROI) extends intelligent operations management beyond vSphere to include operating systems, physical servers, storage and networking hardware, and is supported by an extensive marketplace of extensions for third-party tools, including Microsoft SCOM, NetApp, Brocade, EMC, Cisco, and others. vROI includes two components – vRealize Operations Advanced and vRealize Log Insight.

    Here are some useful links for vRealize Operations Insight 6.0:

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