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Cloud Chargeback Part 6 – Provide Reports to the Business

by Rich Bourdeau

Regardless if you’re actually charging for the specific resources consumed or just providing a view into each business’s resource consumption to feed next year’s funding allocation, showback reports provide valuable data to the business.

vRealize Cloud BillAlthough it is important to show each business a summary of how much they have consumed, it is also important to provide them a breakdown of who consumed which resources for how long.  This detailed information is always useful in order to resolve disputes regarding the amount of consumption.

Showing the business users their usage and associate costs is one thing, but actually charging for them is another.  Most companies already have some financial system in place.  Make sure that your cloud management platform can feed the appropriate data into these financial systems to facilitate actual chargeback.

Finally showing or actually billing for IT services typically brings up  questions about how can we get better control over our usage in order to reduce overprovisioning and reclaim and reuse inactive resources.  Your cloud management tool is critical to enforcing the governance policies essential for better resource utilization as well as identifying and reclaiming inactive resources.  Both of these capabilities are critical to helping the business gain control over the how much they will ultimately pay for their IT resources.

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vRealize Operations Tech Tips #2 – Smart Alerts – Part 2 of 4

Our last blog on this topic was very conceptual, where we introduced you to the new Smart Alerts feature of vRealize Operations.  We explained the new alert definitions and how these alerts are made up of symptoms, recommendations and actions.  These alert definitions are built by subject matter experts and provided to you out-of-the-box (OOTB), but you can also quickly create your own alert definitions to customize vRealize Operations to your specific business needs.  Stay tuned to this blog for more details on how to do that!

Now it’s time to see alerts in action.  This video shows how vRealize Operations helps you manage the day-to-day health and performance of your software defined data center (SDDC) by taking advantage of these aforementioned OOTB Smart Alerts.  There are hundreds of alert definitions available, but we’ll look at just two of them.  We also get our first look of the new UI including the recommendations screen which shows you a quick status of your data center and the alert details screen where you can quickly resolve issues.  The bottom line is alerts will lower your mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR), make your customers happy as their services will perform better and will make you look like a rock star!

Check out the video below to learn all about it.

Watch this space for a lot more on the new features and capabilities that will make your life better…well, at least at your workplace!

Orchestration with Hitachi Storage

In pursuit of efficiency and automation, customers cutting across geographies and verticals deploy vRealize Orchestrator (vRO) in their vSphere environments. vRO is fast becoming a must-have tool in every virtual infrastructure admin’s repertoire.

VMware’s strategic partner Hitachi Data Systems recently launched vRO plug-in that facilitates automation and orchestration of tasks that involve Hitachi Storage (supporting both block and file). It augments the capabilities of VMware’s vRealize Orchestrator solution by providing access to HDS storage specific workflows, thus substantially enhancing vRealize Orchestrator’s effectiveness for VI  admin. It simplifies the automation of complex IT tasks and integrates with VMware vCloud Suite components, to adapt and extend service delivery and operational management, thereby effectively working with existing infrastructure, tools and processes

vRealize Orchestrator with Hitachi adapter help you operate virtual infrastructure, which is

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vRealize Operations Tech Tips #1 – Smart Alerts – Part 1 of 4

The General Availability date for vRealize Operations 6.0 is right around the corner and the new version is full of powerful and user-friendly features to help you better manage your IT environment.  Some of the new features are major updates that will ensure your environment is always performing at its best and you are meeting your customer’s needs.  Some features are just slick and cool and will make you wonder how you ever lived without them!  Still others are there to help you be more efficient and will allow you to really impress your boss…and your boss’s boss!

The feature I want to talk about today is a major one that will change how you do day-to-day management. It’s one of the slick and cool ones, it is going to save you a ton of time…and it will impress your boss!

The new Smart Alerts feature of vRealize Operations Manager greatly reduces your mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR) by showing you not only there is a problem, but also  the causes  underlying that problem, as well as recommendations on how to fix it and even an ‘Action’ button to resolve the issue immediately.

Out-of-the-box alert definitions provide you with subject matter expertise around not only your virtual environment but also your storage, network, operating systems, applications and hybrid cloud deployments.  Simple workspaces, or wizards, allow you to customize and build your own alerts based on symptoms from metric dynamic or static thresholds, faults, error messages, logs, etc.

Check out the video below to learn all about it.

Watch this space for a lot more on the new features and capabilities that will make your life better…well, at least at your workplace!

How to call vCAC (vRA) from command line to request VM’s and run scripts in the guest

So you want to make your developers happy but you are a vSphere admin and you already have enough on your plate? I am going to make it super easy for you to give your developers what they want (a command line to script their infrastructure request) and what you want, (an easy to use and administer UI). So let’s get started. A couple of things you will need in place:

  • vCAC 6.0 or 6.1 installed and configured
  • Linux Guest agent template see my guide How to create a vCAC 6 Linux Guest Agent Template
  • vRealize Cloud client 3.0, download from here.
  • An NFS server with a script directory available for your developers to mount to their Linux VM’s
  • A quite place to work for a few hours where you will not be interrupted.

Ok, so let’s get going!

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Log Insight Content Pack for Cisco Nexus

Logs offer the source of truth for operationally managing Cisco Nexus switches, yet require years of Cisco CLI experience to understand. The Cisco Nexus Content Pack for Log Insight, structures the Nexus logs into meaningful, actionable data with simple to visualize custom dashboards, and intuitive graphical views. Operation teams now have meaningful dashboards for what has traditionally been highly unstructured data.

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Cloud Computing, SDDC and the hybridity concept explained

In some of the recent projects I managed I find my self explaining to customers the basics of  SDDC, cloud computing approaches and especially the difference approaches of Private, Public and hybrid cloud.

Public, Private, Hybrid, it all seems like seems like empty words when you are trying to attach in the real world.

Trying to understand how to solve day-to-day use cases, customers miss the evolvement the IT industry had gone trough in the last years.

Most customers today have some virtualised assets in they’re IT, lots of them trust virtualization in production and test&dev environment, But the big picture here is they have standardise they’re IT infrastructure on software than hardware.

For many years compute was the only aspect of virtualization, today networking & security and storage are making their way in to complete the picture.

But what all of this has to do with SDDC and different cloud approaches ?

For many years customers had struggled on trying to understand IT costs, how much resources to they need to run they’re business more agile and meet the business needs.

These tree pillars were always bottlenecked by the IT hardware architecture and mad it hard to plan or run IT like a business.

The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing defined Cloud as “a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that are rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model have five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.”

Customers couldn’t create cloud environment based on the old hardware approach because it lac the ability to create shared pools and on demand resources.

When virtualization came along customers started to have more and more flexible, agile and on demand environments there for we call them “Private Clouds”

Couple of vendors took the agile on demand data centre approach and created pooled resources that customers consume over the internet for external use or for burst resource need such as development environments etc…

We call this “Public Clouds” as they live outside of our organisation and the level of connectivity between them and the customer environment is very limited.

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Then came the “Hybrid Cloud” model, it meant to give a bridge from the private to the public cloud allowing the customers to extend they’re private clouds to the public world and move back resources from the public world back to the private.

The hybrid cloud model allowed customers for the first time to really share resources between clouds, but how SDDC has to do with all that?

SDDC is the next generation of virtualization, it extends standard compute resources to virtual network,security and storage.

SDDC gives us a common infrastructure covering all IT aspects (Compute, Network, Storage) for both Private and Public cloud and enables seamless migration of  loads between them.

With SDDC in place customers doesn’t need to “migrate” loads as the they seamlessly moved back and forth from private to public clouds and vice versa as if the were all in the same data center.

More important is that In the age of building hybrid cloud we need to consider a new term called “Hybridity”.

In cloud computing hybridity means that you can mix all kind of resources elements and technology between the Private and Public Clouds, it’s not infrastructure only anymore but also environments, applications and policies.

hybridity give us the ability to create flexible application configuration and security policies that moves together with they’re attached resource back and forth from one loud to another.

That way we can keep company policy and security guidelines when moving to a hybrid cloud approach.

Hybridity is enabled in couple of different ways:

  • Attached to the platform / application only
  • Covers all infrastructure and application elements.

When covering only platforms / application we still need to consider a migration phase of the element between clouds, this limits our agility and ability to supply strict SLA’s

When covering all infrastructure and application elements we get the real benefit of the hybrid cloud as all IT element are flexible and attached to every floating element.

To conclude, hybridity of all cloud elements is the new key future of hybrid cloud, it’s a must for enabling a real hybrid cloud environment and  customers must look at it carefully when architecting their next generation architecture.

VMware’s Approach to IT Business Management

Cloud and the New IT Operating Model

Cloud

As IT organizations begin to rely more on cloud services – whether internally delivered or externally sourced  –  to deliver IT services that scale to meet business demand, from a management perspective, it forces a shift in how Infrastructure teams, IT Finance, and the CIO approach IT investments. However, in reality, most organizations lack the baseline data necessary to understand the ROI and TCO for implementing planned initiatives, whether an infrastructure service or a full IT service.  Without this data, IT is limited in their ability to effectively engage the Lines of Business (LOB) around IT performance to budget for both keeping the lights on costs and new investments to accelerate business growth.

As both the Head of Infrastructure and Operations and the CIO move from seeing their responsibility around being a builder of services, to being a broker of services, they must transform the business management of their own services while also adopting processes that allow them to broker 3rd party services.  IT leaders need tools to help determine the relative cost, SLAs, and time-to-value of consuming and delivering services via any cloud model – private, public or hybrid.

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Log Insight Beta: What’s New

We are pleased to announce the availability of Log Insight 2.5 Beta. Thanks for your feedback. We’ve pulled with all our might to get you some of the most-requested features. We hope you’d give this a spin and share your experience with us. You can download this release here.

To find out more and to talk directly to the product team, sign up for our Log Insight Beta 2.5 Webinar here.

Here’s what’s new in Log Insight Beta (Since TP3)

What follows is the list of new features since our Tech Preview 3. If you didn’t see any of our Tech Previews, make sure to sign up at the Log Insight Expert Community.

  • Event trends Analyzer
    • Get new insights and detect anomalies with automatic analysis of your events in the new ‘Event Trends’ tab. See how events are trending in a specified time interval and easily detect ones that are potentially affecting the health of your system.
  • Log Insight Forwarder
    • You can now configure the Log Insight Server to forward ingested events to multiple remote servers. Further, you can specify filters to forward only certain types of events you may be interested in.
  • Highly available Integrated Load Balancer
    • The new High Availability service will ensure that your Log Insight server is always available to ingest events. The integrated load balancer works in conjunction with this service to balance your network traffic. You can now do away with external load balancers and their complex configurations.
  • Contextual Infinite Log Browser
    • Browse logs in the context of a particular event. You can view events that precede or follow a particular one that you’re interested in. Further, you can apply filters around these to narrow down an issue quickly.
  • Log Insight Agents support communication using SSL
    • If you are upgrading from a previous version of Log Insight, please ensure that port 9543 is open.
  • Log Insight is localized
    • Log Insight is now available in these languages: French, German, Korean, Japanese, Simplified and Traditional Chinese
  • Integration with vRealize Operations Manager
    • Log Insight can send alerts to vRealize Operations Manager, and once alerted, you have the full context of an issue of any entity (such as Virtual Machines, Hosts, Data centers, clusters and others)
      • Note: This integration works only when Log Insight is used with vRealize Operations Manager 6.0. If you’re interested in a demo please write to us at li-info@vmware.com.

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Using NSX and Log Insight together

Using NSX and Log Insight together

At VMware, we’ve noticed that a lot of users are choosing to use NSX and vRealize Log Insight together. Now, we all know that Log Insight is a great tool for delivering visibility based on the unstructured data that all digital systems leave behind (most of which are log files). This is especially true for NSX. NSX, as you know, has several important pieces, including the management UI, the controller, the end-point nodes, and the VIBs. By collecting logs from NSX and its constituent parts, you can deliver a radically improved visibility into your network.

How so? First, you’ll be able to get a better understanding of what your distributed firewalls (DFWs, for you hipsters) are doing. Getting your firewall rules right can be a bear. With NSX and Log Insight, its possible to see which rules are firing and debug those rules. This would allow to solve those nasty firewall problems a lot soon. Like when a port gets shut off for no reason. Using Log insight, you’ll be able to see what rule was triggered and why the particular port was shut down.

Second, using a collector like the one from our friends at Netflow Logic(and the related content pack), you can get a high-level view into your network, and see which connections are generating the most traffic, also known as the “top talkers”.

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