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Importing existing AWS Workloads into vRealize Automation 1/2

 Going to the bank or to the restaurant?

Few years ago, there was a common idea that public Cloud would “eat it all” in a similar way that the banking industry did with the management of personal finances. How many of us have 99.9% of their finance in the banks?  Are the internal IT workloads from all companies across the world going to do the same migration because the public Cloud is so attractive?

Well, the common idea is now more mixed. It sounds like we’re more going towards a model similar to the “cooking” model. We all have kitchens to cook our food but also use restaurants from time to time. Cooking at home or going to the restaurant provides the same service at the end (food) but with different characteristics that give us the freedom to use one or the other according to the specifics of time, quality, price, etc..

Back in IT terms, companies today want to have the choice between private and public cloud. They want to build this hybrid cloud model. They want to provide a common framework to their end users to consume workloads from the private cloud who has its unique characteristics as well as the public clouds who also has its unique characteristics.

One important pre requisite to achieve this is to have a powerful Cloud Management Platform. This CMP needs to provide a number of OOTB features as well as great extensibility to fit all the use cases that companies will face to answer their customers ‘requests.

A common need is to provide a portal to deploy new workloads in the public and private cloud but it’s important to also import existing workloads that Shadow IT is already using. You will find many blogs focusing on how to deploy new workloads to the public Cloud. Here we are focusing on importing the existing ones.

Why is it important to import existing Public cloud workload?

Well, there’s a number of reasons.

For IT, it’s about providing additional services for the workloads that went into the Public Cloud. Services such as governance, 24/7 performance and availability monitoring, cost management, etc…

It’s also about getting control back on the shadow IT.

For developers, it’s about having the support from their internal IT while keeping the public cloud benefits.

What we found out is that a number of users started using the public Cloud because it initially took less time to deploy them.

Now, they are stuck with the job of monitoring and manage these workloads and could use IT help to support them and provide additional governance such as setting up the policies that specify who can manage these resources and what they are allowed to do with them.

Additionally, developers will actually be quite happy to see how fast IT’s private cloud can deploy workloads with the same management interface than their public Cloud workloads.

That’s what vRealize Automation, the VMware Cloud Management Platform, is about.

CMP

 

By using vRealize Automation you are able to import existing AWS instances such as the one you see in this screenshots…

… Into the vRealize Automation portal.

aws imported example

In this first blog post we are going to focus on how to make this happen. In a 2nd blog post, we will look on how to add actions (start, stop, terminate, etc…) to manage this imported workloads.

import aws into vra

OK, great. How does it work?

To show the use case of importing existing AWS instances we are going to use the following services:

  • vRA 6.2 Self Service portal to provide a common user interface for the private and public cloud
  • Policy Based Governance
  • vRealize Orchestrator to access AWS workflows

More specifically, we are going to use a vRA 6.2 feature named Custom Resource. This new feature gives us the ability to show all kinds of items in the vRA portal (Custom Resource) and manage them.

This, in essence, provides pure oxygen for the most asphyxiated Cloud admin since you can import and manage different things in your Cloud portal. J

In our use case, we are going to show how to import AWS instances, but it works the same for NSX security group, AWS security group, AWS VPC, etc. etc..

What we are going to do is use vRealize Orchestrator AWS plug in to leverage the AWS instances, show them in the vRA portal and manage them with the vRrealize Orchestrator (vRO) AWS workflows.

 

What are the Pros and cons of this approach?

Pros:

  • It’s easy to setup
  • You can take advantage of the following vRA services:
    • Day 2 actions
    • entitlement mechanism,
    • approval mechanism for actions
    • vRA portal
  • It’s very flexible and you can do a high level of customization
  • You can automate it to import a large number of instances.
  • It works for all kind of items (AWS vPC, other cloud objects, etc..) as long as you have them in vRO!

 

Cons:

  • It’s not integrated with the IaaS module:
  • No OOTB IaaS lifecycle mgmt (No reclamation process, no lease, etc..)
  • No IaaS custom prop
  • No costs displayed in the item section
  • Basically, it’s a new operational model which differs from what is managed by the IaaS engine
  • It’s not OOTB

 

OK, how does it REALLY work?

The High level view for the initial setup is the following:

  1. Install and setup the vRO AWS plug in.
  2. Import the vRO AWS instance object type in the ASD module from the vRA portal
  3. Create very simple vRO workflows to import existing AWS instances
  4. Import the “import workflow” in ASD as a Service Blueprint
  5. Publish and entitle the Service Blueprint
  6. Import the Day 2 actions (start, stop, terminate, etc…) in ASD as resource actions
  7. Publish and entitle these resource actions

That’s it.

Later on, if you need to add new day 2 actions, you just need to go through step 6 and 7.

Step 6 and 7 will be covered in a future blog post.

Let’s go through this

  1. Install and setup the vRO AWS plug in.

It’s very easy, so we won’t go through this. The plugin is available here with the appropriate documentation.

  1. Import the vRO AWS instance type in the ASD module from the vRA portal

In vRealize Automation, go to Advanced Services/Custom Resources. Click on Add.

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In the Orchestrator type, type AWS:EC2instance, type the name for the custom resource (“AWS:EC2instance for example). Click Next

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Here, you can customize the form that will appear when selecting the AWS instance object. For now, we leave it as it is. Click Add.

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Step 3: Create very simple vRealize Orchestator workflows to import existing AWS instances

This Workflow has just one purpose: browse the AWS cloud and select the instance we want to import.

Therefore, it’s going to be a very simple workflow which we are going to create and then make available as a Service in the vRA portal.

So to summarize:

3.1: create very simple workflow taking in input and EC2 instance objet and make it an output

3.2 Add this workflow as a service Blueprint and publish it

3.3 As for any type of services, we will entitle it

That’s it for the setup.

3.4 We will then run it to import our first AWS instance

 

 

3.1 create very simple workflow taking in input and EC2 instance objet and make it an output

Log into vRO

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Create your workflow and add an imput parameter AWS:EC2instance

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Add an output parameter AWS:EC2instance

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Drag & drop a scriptable task. Write inside the following code

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Set the visual binding as follow:

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3.2 Add this workflow as a service Blueprint and publish it

In the vRA portal, go to Advanced Services, Service Blueprint, click Add

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Select the Workflow you created, click Next

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Tick “Hide Catalog request information page”, click Next

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Enter the text you want to display and click Next

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As an output, select as below. Click update

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Select the Service Blueprint and publish it

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3.3 As for any type of services, we will entitle it

Go to Administration, Catalog Management,

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Click on Services, select the Service category you want to use (here we use AWS that we created beforehand), click “Manage Catalog Items”

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Click “+”

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Select your Service Blueprint, click Add

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That’s it for the setup.

3.4 We will then run our import Workflow to import our first AWS instance

Go to Catalog, Select your Service category (here AWS) and click on request on the Import Service

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(Sidenote: You should see the service with a different icon. It doesn’t matter at this point)

Click Add

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You can then see all the AWS datacenters

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Select the one hosting your instances and select your instance as shown below, click Submit

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That’s it. Your instance will be available shortly under the Service category AWS

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With a little more instances:

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In a future blog post, we will see how to add 2nd Day actions to manage this instance.

Conclusion

Several things where shown in this article:

  • How to setup vRA to handle AWS instances
  • How powerful is the extensibility module of vRA

This extensibility module gives you a great toolbox to achieve your goals even for the ones that the solution can’t deliver OOTB. The orchestrator engine offers a breadth of powerful workflows that you can provide in an intelligent and efficient manner to your end users, saving you time and proving your ability to your customers to bridge the private Cloud with the public Cloud.

Finally, managing your public workloads from the same portal as your private ones is not the end of the journey. You will soon face important request from your customers to monitor the performance and availability of your applications, as well as helping them manage the financial side of the Cloud.

vRealize Operations and vRealize Business will be the solutions that will solve these challenges for you. In short, you will (v)Realize the Hybrid Cloud J

 

vRealize Code Stream @ VMworld 2015

Another exciting VMworld is upon us and there will be a ton of interesting topics and expert speakers covering various tracks. There is a special track for DevOps during this VMworld and vRealize Code Stream has an important role to play. To help you quickly find relevant sessions, here’s a list of where you can learn more about how Code Stream is helping customers on their journey towards DevOps and Continuous Delivery.

 

vRealize Code Stream sessions

  • MGT5495 – Accelerate your DevOps Journey with vRealize Code Stream
  • MGT5563 – Automate the Deployment & Testing of vRealize Automation Configurations, Templates and Workflows Using vRealize Code Stream
  • MGT5433 – Faster Application Releases After Transitioning to the Continuous Delivery Methodology Using vRealize Suite and vRealize Code Stream: A VMware on VMware Showcase
  • MGT6401-GD – Group Discussion on DevOps & Continuous Delivery
  • OPT4868 – Your DevOps Transformation. Culture, Technology or both?
  • OPT4992 – VMware vRealize Code Stream: Is DevOps about Tools or Transformation?
  • CNA5659 – The Road to Continuous Delivery and DevOps: Be the Best on Any Cloud

 

DevOps @ VMworld
VMware views DevOps as a key influencer in today’s IT organization, enabling development teams to deliver applications faster with agility. As part of VMworld, the DevOps Program will be offering a three-day event covering the latest industry DevOps technology, solutions, and leaders.

See more details at http://www.vmworld.com/en/us/programs/dev-ops.html

 

Developer Day @ VMworld
As your applications are delivered to any device, anywhere, any time, your success as a developer is increasingly dependent on cloud technology choices. VMware is a leader in cloud infrastructure and business mobility, offering you a range of powerful technologies to help the applications you develop thrive in the new cloud era.

Join us Wednesday, September 2, for the inaugural Developer Day @ VMworld. In conjunction with the DevOps @ VMworld Program, this all day event will include a live Hackathon, guest speakers and technology sessions for developers.

See more details at http://www.vmworld.com/en/us/programs/developer-day.html

 

Booth
Come see what’s new in vRealize Code Stream and the vRealize suite at the various booths on the Expo floor.

 

Hands-on-Lab
Experience how easy it is to setup release pipelines and connect to Continuous Integration tools by using this Hands-on-lab. It’s free and all you need is a browser, nothing to download or install. Visit http://labs.hol.vmware.com and search for ‘HOL-SDC-1621’. The title is ‘vRealize Automation 101: Application and Infrastructure Delivery and DevOps with Code Stream’.
This lab will demonstrate the ability to use vRealize Automation to rapidly automate the deployment and management of a variety of IT services and applications. It will also show how vRealize Code Stream provides release automation and continuous delivery.

Learn How to Manage your Cloud Costs

Join us at VMworld 2015 to learn how Symantec has been effectively managing its Cloud Costs.

Show Me The Money: Cloud Costs

Cloud Costs: Showback

Often we hear, “IT = Business.” However, have you had difficulty engaging the senior leaders in your organization around Cloud Costs because it was challenging to show the costs in actual monetary terms? Or had difficulty in convincing the line of business managers to use in-house services rather than going on to the public cloud because you weren’t able to show the cost advantage?

Join Jason Pulg, the Director of IT Cloud Services at Symantec, to learn how Symantec has been effectively managing its Cloud Costs with vRealize™ Business from tracing IT services to direct business outcomes and business values to creating sustainable, consumption-based financial models (MGT4987).

VMworld15

Cloud Business Management Practices

Interested in general practices of Cloud Business Management? Join Khalid Hakim, Global Operations Transformation Architect at VMware, and Kobi Katzir, the Senior Product Manager at VMware, to learn how to achieve the full business value of the Cloud by putting in place a more specialized and robust Cloud Business Management practices (MGT4632).

vRealize Business enables you to achieve transparency and control over the costs and quality of IT services. Learn more about vRealize Business here for now. We look forward to meeting you at VMworld!

Automatic Shutdown of Idle Machines with vRealize Operations and vRealize Automation

(Credit to my colleagues for this work: James Polizzi, Scott Stickells)

We were engaged at a customer recently who had an issue with over-consumption of their development platform.  This is probably familiar to lots of us, and the customer was interested in how vRealize Suite could help solve that.

As we know, vRealize Automation helps to attach ownership to resources, identify an appropriate lease time for non-permanent machines, and help with the entire lifecycle of virtual machines.  vRealize Operations helps even further by identifying inefficiencies in the environment – in particular, those virtual machines that are chewing up resources inappropriately, whether over-sized, idle and unused, or perhaps just hogging storage.

In our customer’s situation, they not only wanted to control the lifecycle of virtual machines, but also ensure that ONLY needed virtual machines were running on the platform.  That meant figuring out which virtual machines were idle and unused, and shutting them down immediately – all without human intervention, review or overhead.  To help address this, we looked at two main elements of extending the vRealize Suite:

  1. A policy in vRealize Operations that could be associated with the development environment, identify idle machines (with the appropriate policy to define what “idle” meant), and AUTOMATICALLY take an action to call vRealize Orchestrator and shutdown the idle machines.
  2. A workflow in vRealize Orchestrator that would take the parameters from vRealize Operations, find the machines under vRealize Automation, invoke the clean and controlled “Shutdown” action, and notify the associated machine owner of the action that had been taken.

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Learn About vRealize Operations Manager at VMworld

By: Cameron Jones, Blue Medora

VMworld is less than a week away! If you have been looking for a chance to take a look at VMware’s vRealize Operations Manager (previously known as vCenter Operations) or just want to learn more about it, look no further than VMworld 2015 in San Francisco. This year at VMworld there are 100 sessions and multiple vendors that will be focusing on the vRealize space. Let’s take a look at some of the best places to learn more about vRealize Operations (vROps) at VMworld 2015.

VMworld15

Are you new to vROps?

Learn how customers just like you are actively using this tool as their primary source of monitoring. Join Drew Koerner and Brett Read to see how Sutter Health is currently using native vROps functionality to reduce the time to resolution when a Doctor asks, “Why is my system slow?” (MGT4835). Visit Cox Automotive and let them show you how they are using vROps with the Management Pack for AWS to get data on their AWS Cloud Systems (MGT4783). Finish off your week with VMware & GMO to see how they use vRealize features to right-size their environment, ensuring they get the most out of their hardware (MGT4950).

Already familiar with vROps?

Not new to vROps? Want to get more technical and see the latest features in vROps 6.1? Join Ben Todd & Jeff Godfrey from VMware as they give a technical deep dive of the latest features of vROps 6.1, set to release in September (VAPP5719). Learn how vROps solves real-world issues with Shyamal Patel & Samuel McBride as they go over three technical use cases on a live environment (MGT4928).

Exhibitors at VMworld

Between sessions, VMworld also has a number of exhibitors who will be displaying existing and soon-to-be-released management packs for vRealize Operations. Come see F5 at Booth 1513 to get a look at the Management Pack for BIG-IP, set to release in about a month. Visit Lenovo at Booth 1537 to get a sneak peak at the Management Pack for Lenovo Compute, and get more information on the Management Pack for Lenovo Networking that will be coming out later this year. Finally, visit Blue Medora, the world’s leader in vROps management packs, at Booth 312 to learn how you can bring technologies such as Cisco UCS, NetApp Storage, Oracle Database, Microsoft SQL Server and more, into vRealize Operations.

To take a look at VMworld’s entire catalog and discover all of the available information sessions, click here.

Make the Most of Badges with Custom Reports in VMware vRealize Operations 6.0

By: Cameron Jones, Blue Medora

VMware added a number of new features to their monitoring platform with the release of VMware vRealize Operations 6.0. In addition to allowing VMware Administrators (vAdmins) to view metrics and analyze them, VMware added features like reporting, actions, and badges. Capacity badges are one of the key components to the new vROps engine. These badges allow vAdmins to view estimates on how soon they may have to expand an object’s resources and properly plan out purchases for future hardware. Looking through each object for its related badges can become tedious. However, vROps provides a solution. Today we will look at how vAdmins can create a custom report to view badges across their entire environment.

Using Custom Reports, Figure 1Figure 1 – Example Dashboard showing Oracle Database capacity badges

The badges that we are going to focus on in this blog are the Capacity Remaining, Time Remaining, and Stress badges. To learn more about these badges, take a look at these blogs: Stop SQL Server Slowdowns with Stress Badges in VMware vRealize Operations & Stay Ahead of Your Storage Needs with VMware vRealize Operations.

In this blog we will act as an administrator monitoring Oracle workloads using the Management Pack for Oracle Enterprise Manager. This management pack uses capacity badges to size databases. In our proposed situation, we are going to examine each of the databases to determine if we need to add more resources to the database. We are going to create a report that gives this information for every database. To start off, we need to create a new view. In the vROps web console, navigate to Content and then to Views. Click the Add button Add button.

Using Custom Reports, Figure 2Figure 2 – Example view showing Oracle Database capacity badges

This will bring up the New View dialog. First we will give the new view a name and description (optional). I am going to call this one Oracle Badges. After we give the view a name and description we will select the method in which we will display the data. For now, let’s select the List model. This will allow the vAdmin to see a table of each of our badges for all the database instances in the environment. Next up, the dialog will request the object that we are getting this information for. For Oracle Databases, we will want to select OEM – Database Instance. Finally, we want to select the data (metrics) we want to be displayed in this view. Expand the Badge metric group to find metrics on any badge. In this example, we are selecting Capacity Remaining (%), Time Remaining (%) and Stress (%).

Before we leave the view, there is one more important step. On the right there are two selectors that say the view will collect data for seven days. Also, each of the metrics we just added say Last under Transformation. This means the data it will display will show the last collection in the past seven days. This will not give a complete overview of our environment. Find the dropdown labeled Transformation and move that to Average for each of the metrics. This will now show the average of these metrics over the past week. At this point, we can also change the amount of time data is being collected over. In this example we will stay with seven days. We can now save the view and exit the dialog.

Using Custom Reports, Figure 3Figure 3Creating a new report

At this point we will still be on the Content panel. Select Reports and click the Add button Add button to create a new report. We will start by adding a name and description (optional) to this report. We will name this report Oracle Capacity Badges. Now we have to select the views we want in this report. Select the view we just created (Oracle Badges). At this point we can save the report. We can also edit the optional format and layout options. For this report we will choose CSV and PDF for the formats, and add a Cover Page to the layout.

Using Custom Reports, Figure 4
Figure 4Running our new report against all Oracle databases

Now that this report is complete, we just need to run it. We select our new report and click the Run Template button Run Template button. Before it runs, we will have to select which targets we want it to run on. Select the Oracle Enterprise Manager adapter and then select Oracle Databases to run the report against all databases. After we click Okay the report will run. When we view the generated report, we will see badge metrics on each of our Oracle Databases.

For more information on the Management Pack for Oracle Enterprise Manager, visit the product page on Blue Medora’s website.

How vRealize Operations is helping customers

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“The customer’s perception is your reality.” Here at VMware, we constantly focus on customer feedback to improve products and meet the demands of the market to solve problems they are experiencing in the IT environment. To this extent, we recently commissioned a third-party tech research firm, Schireson Associates, to survey vRealize Operations customers using the product.

VMware vRealize Operations delivers intelligent operations management across physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructures—from VMware vSphere and Hyper-V to Amazon Web Services.

Here are some of the benefits customers are experiencing with vRealize Operations.

 

Drastically reduced application downtime

We asked our customers what impact vRealize Operations had on their application downtime. The results were mind blowing as customers experienced up to 95% reduction in downtime.

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Time saving Operations Solution

Customers also experienced a significant reduction in time required for root cause analysis. The productivity gains and increased efficiency translate to faster time-to-value for customers.

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Automated capacity optimization and planning.

Our customers felt the benefits of highly efficient automatic capacity optimization. vRealize Operations not only took care of the process in a smooth and efficient manner, but freed up time for more productive tasks to help drive business growth.

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A platform for unified communication

Customers experienced enhanced teamwork because of vRealize Operations. It provides a unified solution for teams across infrastructure and applications. It enables seamless coordination and helps resolve problems faster.

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Improved visibility and recognition of IT operations

vRealize Operations helps IT become more efficient and function as a partner to the business as opposed to being a cost center. Our customers are experiencing increased visibility and in turn greater appreciation for their efforts.

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Like our customers, you should try the product to realize benefits for your business. To learn more about how others like you have benefited from vRealize Operations, please visit the VMware vRealize Operations Customer Stories Portal and the product website.

MPSD: Management Pack for Storage Devices for vRealize Operations: Available Now

The latest version of the Management Pack for Storage Devices for vRealize Operations (MPSD) is available now. Try it now.

vRealize Operations Management Pack for Storage Devices provides you with a complete view of your entire storage topology from your host, through your storage network, and out to the storage array. With this solution, you can use vRealize Operations Manager to monitor and troubleshoot capacity and performance problems on different components of your storage area network. And it now supports VSAN.

The vRealize Operations Management Pack for Storage Devices (MPSD) can be installed on any Advanced, or Enterprise edition vRealize Operations Manager Installation. (This may change i in the future. Stay tuned.) This includes both the appliance and standalone deployments. The Management Pack can connect to any storage device that has a VASA provider, and SAN/NAS Switches from Brocade or Cisco using SMI-S. Performance Data is collected from Host HBA’s, NIC, VMs, and SAN/NAS switches. New: It also has support for VSAN 6!

MPSD Now Includes VSAN support

The vRealize Operations Management Pack for Storage Devices 6.0.2 provides visibility into your storage environment, including VSAN. Using Common Protocols you can collect performance and health data from the storage devices. Pre-defined dashboards allow you to follow the path from a VM to the storage volume and identify any problem that may exist along that path.

Highlights of MPSD 6.0.2

• End to End view of the data path through the SAN and NAS; from VM to Storage Volume
• Support for both NFS/iSCSI and FC/FCoE protocols
• Access to Storage devices leveraging standardized protocols; CIM, SMI-S, & VASA
• Ready to use dashboards for Health and Performance
• Analytics for common APD and PDL storage conditions

If you would like to be included in announcements for future releases, sign up here.

PS: If you are looking for the best way to try out operations management for the VMware environment and more, check out the vSphere Optimization Assessment.

Try VOA today

Forrester Total Economic Impact of VMware Automated Application Deployment

by Rich Bourdeau

Many of VMware’s customers have deployed private or hybrid clouds and automated the delivery of Infrastructure as a Service. While this accelerates the delivery of individual machines from days to hours and minutes, it only addresses about 10% of the overall business agility problem. Someone has to take those infrastructure components and configure them into a working application with all the appropriate networking, security and dependencies set up correctly to allow the application to function.  Most companies tell us that this may take them 2-3 weeks or longer.  In addition, they likely need to do this multiple times for different users in the application development pipeline.

IT Servic Delivery Before Automation

Fig 1: Service Delivery times prior to Automation Continue reading

Stop SQL Server Slowdowns with Stress Badges in VMware vRealize Operations

By Bekah Suttner, Blue Medora

Database administrators (DBAs) can spend countless hours chasing down the root cause of slowdowns within their database landscapes. While many monitoring platforms help significantly reduce this downtime, communication between teams can still force DBAs to spend a significant amount of time working on the problems in their environment. With VMware vRealize Operations (vROps) informing multiple teams about database issues, DBAs and virtual administrators can eliminate slowdowns faster than ever before. Using the Management Pack for Microsoft SQL Server, we will discuss the tools in vROps designed to eliminate slowdowns in database environments.

Stop SQL Slowdowns_1
Figure 1 – Stress badge on a Microsoft SQL Server instance

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