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Monitoring RAC using Blue Medora’s vCOPs Management Pack for Oracle EM

Relisted from a Blue Medora blog.

Blue Medora’s 3.4 release of the vC Ops Management Pack for Oracle EM has a new feature designed to make creating dashboards for Oracle RAC clusters easier and better.

When looking at a RAC cluster, you might want to aggregate performance metrics about the databases it it.  So far so good: we can write a super metric that does that, because the databases are direct children of the RAC cluster.  But, what if we want to look at performance metrics about the VMs that the databases reside on?  Now, we have a problem, because the VMs show up as grandparents of the databases, so there’s no direct relationship between the VMs and the RAC cluster.



Enter Blue Medora’s 3.4 release of the vC Ops Management Pack for Oracle EM.  Whenever the management pack detects that you are monitoring RAC clusters, it creates a container resource for each RAC cluster.  This container contains the RAC cluster resource itself, plus all VMs that the databases reside on, plus all ESXi Hosts that the VMs reside on.  Now, by attaching super metrics to the container resource, we can combine performance data from VMs, RAC clusters, Oracle Databases, and ESXi Hosts.



Let’s look at an example dashboard, and see how it was created.

 On the left is a list of all the RAC container resources (we only have one right RAC cluster right now, called TESTDB).  Each container resource includes the name of the RAC cluster in its name.  Selecting the RAC container resource populates the scoreboard on the right, which is composed entirely of super metrics, and the scoreboard drives the distribution analysis widget below it, so that clicking any metric in the scoreboard shows the distribution of values from the last 24 hours.

To recreate this, we’ll first start by creating some super metrics.  Here are a couple of examples:

Highest DB Memory Delta above average (MB):

maxN(OEM – Database Instance: Memory Usage|Total Memory Usage (MB),2)-avgN(OEM – Database Instance: Memory Usage|Total Memory Usage (MB),2)

This takes the max value of Total Memory Usage metrics from all the database instances that are two levels below the resource the supermetric is attached to, and subtracts from that the average Total Memory Usage metrics.  This gives the highest delta above the average memory usage.

IOPS remaining:

sum(Virtual Machine: Disk|I/O Usage Capacity)-sum(Virtual Machine: Disk|Write Requests)-sum(Virtual Machine: Disk|Read Requests)

This super metric is something we could not previously do, which is get the total number of IOPS remaining on the VMs that are hosting the RAC database instances.

Here are the super metrics that we used in the above dashboard, without commentary:

CPU Usage: sum(Virtual Machine: CPU Usage|Usage (%))

Memory Usage (%): avg(Virtual Machine: Memory|Usage (%))

Storage Usage (%): avg(Virtual Machine: Guest File System |Guest File System (%))

Storage Usage (IOPS): sum(Virtual Machine: Disk|Reads per second)+sum(Virtual Machine: Disk|Writes per second)

CPU Remaining (GHz): (sum(Virtual Machine: CPU Usage|Provisioned Capacity (MHz))-sum(Virtual Machine: CPU Usage|Usage (MHz)))/1024

Memory Remaining (GB): (sum(Virtual Machine: Memory|Usage (KB))/(avg(Virtual Machine: Memory|Usage (%))/100)-sum(Virtual Machine: Memory|Usage (KB)))/(1024*1024)

Storage Remaining (GB): sum(Virtual Machine: Guest File System |Guest File System Free (GB))

Storage Remaining (IOPS): sum(Virtual Machine: Disk|I/O Usage Capacity)-sum(Virtual Machine: Disk|Write Requests)-sum(Virtual Machine: Disk|Read Requests)


Once the super metrics are set up, add them to a super metric package, and attach the package to the RAC container resources.

(For more information about creating super metrics, this is a good introduction: https://www.batchworks.de/using-super-metrics-to-monitor-cpu-ready-part1/ and https://www.batchworks.de/using-super-metrics-to-monitor-cpu-ready-part2/)

The next step is to create an xml file listing what metrics should display on the scoreboard (and some other widgets as well).  These are located in


Here is what the file looks like on our system.  We called it ‘racContainerScoreboard.xml’

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″ standalone=”yes”?>


<AdapterKind adapterKindKey=”OEM_ADAPTER”>

<ResourceKind resourceKindKey=”OEM Entity Status”>

<Metric attrkey=”Super Metric|sm_29″ label=”CPU Usage” unit=“%” yellow=”80.0″ orange=”90.0″ red=”95.0″/>

<Metric attrkey=”Super Metric|sm_31″ label=”Memory Usage” unit=”%” yellow=”80.0″ orange=”90.0″ red=”95.0″/>

<Metric attrkey=”Super Metric|sm_32″ label=”Storage Usage” unit=”%” yellow=”80.0″ orange=”90.0″ red=”95.0″/>

<Metric attrkey=”Super Metric|sm_33″ label=”Storage Usage” unit=”IOPS” yellow=”-1.0″ orange=”-2.0″ red=”-3.0″/>

<Metric attrkey=”Super Metric|sm_30″ label=”CPU Remaining” unit=”GHz” yellow=”-1.0″ orange=”-2.0″ red=”-3.0″/>

<Metric attrkey=”Super Metric|sm_36″ label=”Memory Remaining” unit=”GB” yellow=”5.0″ orange=”2.0″ red=”1.0″/>

<Metric attrkey=”Super Metric|sm_35″ label=”Storage Remaining” unit=”GB” yellow=”20.0″ orange=”10.0″ red=”5.0″/>

<Metric attrkey=”Super Metric|sm_37″ label=”Storage Remaining” unit=”IOPS” yellow=”20000.0″ orange=”10000.0″ red=”5000.0″/>




Note the format of the super metric attribute keys.  The super metric attribute key is a sequential id preceded by ‘sm_’. Each time a new super metric is created, the id increments.  This means that keys are system specific! For this reason, while we can include super metrics in our Management Packs we cannot ship any dashboards that contain super metrics.  If you are following along, you will have to change the attrkey in the xml file to reflect the correct supermetric.  In the Super Metrics… dialog, the ID column will give you the id for each super metric.

Finally, create the dashboard.  Here, we used a Resources widget, a Scoreboard widget, and a Data Distribution Analysis widget.  We have an interaction from the Resources widget to the Scoreboard widget, which has an interaction to the Data Distribution Analysis widget.

Set the Resources widget to display resource kinds of ‘OEM Entity Status’ (which is the type of the RAC Containers).

 Set the scoreboard Res. Interaction Mode to the xml file we created, and self provider to be off.

Finally, configure the Data Distribution Analysis in whatever way makes sense to you.

And you are done.  You can now use this process to invent new supermetrics and dashboards to show you exactly what you want to monitor in your environment.

Cloud Chargeback Part 4 – Compare Your Costs to Public Cloud Alternatives

by Rich Bourdeau

Now that you understand your infrastructure costs and have established your IT Service Cloud Cost Comparison Iconprices  the next step is to benchmark the cost of your services with those of similarly configured services from publically available cloud services providers like Amazon, Microsoft and VMware. 

Competitive benchmarking helps you understand how efficient you are compared to other providers.  In addition if you want to be a broker of IT services, cost will be one of the factors you consider when establishing policies regarding the placement of data, virtual machine instances or complete applications.

The challenge in comparing your costs to one or more  public cloud providers is that each delivers separate billing information based on inconsistent pricing models making comparisons difficult.  Companies trying to make intelligent data based decisions frequently need to construct complex spreadsheets in order to draw accurate conclusions.  With cloud vendors constantly changing their pricing it is difficult to know if your decisions are based on the most current data.

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The Power of the vRealize Suite – Private Cloud Success Stories from the Trenches

by Rich Bourdeau

It’s all about the Applications

As an IT manager, your goal is to empower the business to become more agile by providing IT services to the business quicker.  However, if you are only automating the delivery of infrastructure services you are only solving part the problem.   

While it may only take minutes to provision a virtual machine our customers tell us their process for delivering a fully configured VM to their customers takes on average 2-3 days.   When complete,  IT hands over these VMs to the Development group where it typically take another 2-3 weeks to configure a complex multi-tier application environments including the dependencies, security,network configurations and testing required to make sure they work.

vRealize App Service Challenge

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vRealize Suite Provides Operational Insight to facilitate Resource Right Sizing

By Rich Bourdeau

In order to effectively manage your cloud services, you need the ability to not only provision new machines or applications; you need to the ability to manage those services throughout their lives.  That means the ability to reconfigure an application to add or remove component machines or change resources (CPU, memory, storage, memory, security) on individual machines.

The ability to perform day two operations like resource reconfiguration, snapshot management, backup and other functions is an area where many cloud management platforms fall way short.  Very few even provide the capability and most do not enforce the appropriate governance policies over which operations are allowed, who can initiate them, which pool of resources should be used and how much are appropriate.

Your Challenge: Knowing you have a problemHealth Status

Being able to change something in order to improve performance is one thing, but how do you know if you have a problem.  Do you how to look in another application to identify which applications or components are not performing at appropriate services levels.  Then write some information down just to take it to another application where you can initiate the change?  Or worse do you need to  wait until you receive a user complaint before you initiate a change?

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NEW vCloud Automation Center 6.1 Reference Architecture and High Availability Guides

by Rich Bourdeau

Scalability, availability and performance are three attributes that are critical to any IT vCAC Ref Archmanagement solution.  The default configurations for most enterprise software products are designed for rapid initial deployment and not intended to handle the needs of every customer.  In this regard, vCloud Automation Center is no different than other software products.

Performance and Scalability Considerations
You have successfully deployed your VMware cloud automation solution and production pilot was successful and demand is now growing.   What happens when the time required to discover configuration data exceeds the default collection interval, or provisioning operations take longer than anticipated because they sit in a queue due to a resource bottleneck.

High Availability Considerations
Initially having an IT service catalog with automated delivery was nice to have, but now being able to request new services as well as manage existing service has become critical to how your company operates.  You want to make sure your cloud management solution is configured to assure it will be available when needed.

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Realize the Power of EMC Storage Analytics with VMware vRealize Operations: Better Together

VMware and EMC have partnered to create a storage analytics offering available to extend the virtual administrators capability to view, troubleshoot and most importantly, proactively predict and prevent performance issues related to the storage infrastructure.  In releasing EMC Storage Analytics (ESA) over a year ago, EMC has been selling a storage-centric version of vRealize Operations (vR Ops) to address this need for greater depth in storage analytic capabilities than what was offered in vROps.  The adoption of the ESA technology has been increasing at a tremendous rate with over two thousand installs to date.

This week at VMWorld (Barcelona), VMware announces their latest version 6.0 of vRealize Operations; and the new vRealize Operations Insight (vROI) solution, which adds real-time log management for VMware environments (VMware LogInsight). And, with a number of new features and capabilities added in this release, EMC is also announcing their latest release of EMC Storage Analytics (version 3.0). This version will now also include vRealize LogInsight. The combined use of ESA and vROI will enable improved service levels for performance, and higher up-times by providing increased troubleshooting and health management for storage in the virtual environment.  The ability to monitor, search and run diagnostics on a collection of real-time logs provides faster resolution of problems.  This helps prevent delays in understanding issues which could otherwise interrupt application availability.

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Cloud Chargeback Part 3 – Establishing the Price of Your IT Services

By Rich Bourdeau

Once you understand the fully burdened costs of your infrastructure you will need to translate those costs into the prices you will show or charge the consumers of your IT services.  There are Price tagtwo approaches to configuring pricing info.  The first is to associate a price to the service.  For example:  small VM costs $x.  This works great if you only have a few different types and sizes of VMs.

The other option is to associate costs to your individual resources and have the prices of the service determined by the amount of resources the service consumes.  This approach works best for companies with a large number of possible resource configurations.  To minimize the number of service blueprints, they configure a single blueprint with variable resources with min-max thresholds.  When the user selects a given service the cost of their machine or application is determined by the specific amounts of resources that they request.  This pricing methodology also allows the cost to be adjusted if the users requests additional resources at a later date.

Regardless of which pricing model you choose you will need to configure cost profiles or rate policies in your cloud management software.

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Availability of Log Insight 2.5 Technical Preview 3 (TP3)!

By Devaki Kulkarni

Dear Friends of Log Insight,

We are pleased to announce the availability of Log Insight 2.5 Technical Preview 3 (TP3)! Thanks for your feedback and we are happy to release some of the features and enhancements you requested. You can download this release from: https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/get-download?downloadGroup=STRATA25TP3. You must be a member of the Log Insight Expert Community to participate. Register here to join.

What’s new in Log Insight TP3:

  • Easy access to Content Pack Marketplace
    • You can now install a content pack without having to leave the Log Insight UI.
  • Log Insight Agent enhancements
    • The Linux agent is available as a standalone package (.bin) that can be installed on various flavors of Linux.
    • Restart of Windows or Linux Agents’ services is no longer required when you make configuration changes
  • Debug support using Support bundles
    • You can generate support bundles with both Log Insight Windows and Linux Agents and submit it to us for additional support
  • Vulnerable versions of bash are patched to fix Shellshock security bugs.

By accessing the technical preview program site, you agree to keep any information regarding the pre-release software confidential, not to be shared outside this community. For more information, please access the links below:

If you have any comments or questions about the upgrade, please let us know at li-info@vmware.com . You can submit additional requests for features, enhancements or report bugs on our community page: loginsight.vmware.com.

Thank you,

(On behalf of Log Insight Team)

Devaki Kulkarni
Product Manager

Take Log Insight HOL

David Davis on vCenter Operations – Post #18 – What is the vC Ops Custom Interface and Why Do you Care?

In my last post, I covered some of my favorite vC Ops Tips for Success, based on what I have learned during my testing of vC Ops and covered in my vC Ops series of posts,. In this post, I’d like to talk about something you’ve likely heard about but may not have known what it is or how it can help you — the vC Ops Custom Interface.

what-is-the-vcops-custom-interface-1 Figure 1 – The Default vCenter Operations Manager Custom Interface Homepage

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vRealize Operations and vRealize Orchestrator Extensibility Presentations from VMworld 2014

There were a variety of presentations in VMworld around solution extensibility of vRealize Operations and vRealize Orchestrator.  The following presentations give great detail around extensibility and have many examples of both VMware and Partner integrations.