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By Neal Elinski, Solution Strategist

IT departments are responsible for every aspect of their cloud-based applications, but without full visibility and control over these workloads, as we often find in cloud environments, how can they fulfill those expectations? Everybody wants the operational benefits that come from a cloud, but no IT department is fully comfortable running their machines in a black box. If they can’t see what’s happening in the background, then how do they know that their workloads are running properly?

With vCloud Air, we have a few solutions to open up your cloud, so you can look behind the curtain to properly monitor, tune, and manage your environment to your specifications.

A clear view into your cloud-based workloads lets you take advantage of the benefits of cloud, without the common issues that come with a black box deployment. You can finally move faster and be more flexible. You can order datacenter capacity and receive it in hours, instead of weeks or months. You can have a digital presence in nearly any location in the world for a fraction of what it used to cost. You can even take advantage of extra services like microsegmented networks and zero downtime site-to-site migrations, all without changing the way you operate your existing data center.  In short, you can make the most of cloud services when you have the transparency provided by vCloud Air.

Monitoring Options for vCloud Air

vCloud Air provides several free options for monitoring and managing your cloud environment:

  1. The vCloud Air Portal

In the portal today, you can see details about your Virtual Data Center, Virtual Machine, and Advanced Networking Service Gateway usage. All of these can help an admin with an ‘at a glance’ view of the live environment, along with any ‘on the fly’ modifications.

  1. Monitoring APIs

Outlined in the VMware vCloud Air Documentation Center, this public API allows users to pull environment metrics from vCloud Air and use them with their tool of choice. These range from low-level VM statistics to Edge Gateway networking metrics.

  1. vRealize Operations Management Pack for vCloud Air 3.0

Now available on Solutions Exchange, the new vRealize Operations Management Pack for vCloud Air 3.0 is a free package that pulls 200 compute and storage metrics, 100 networking metrics, and additional Hybrid Cloud Manager metrics from vCloud Air. All of these are polled, archived, and analyzed by the vRealize Operations analytics engine to help you optimize and manage your vCloud Air environments, right alongside your existing vSphere environments.

A Closer Look at the Management Pack for vCloud Air

Let’s take a deeper look at the newly released 3.0 version of the Management Pack for vCloud Air.

After installing this free 30MB PAK file, your vRealize Operations Advanced or Enterprise instance will start polling the details on every one of your vCloud Air objects that it can find. This data gets as granular as individual virtual machine disk statistics like Read and Write latency:

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Once a base set of metrics is collected, the system will start to analyze your data over time to create a baseline of ‘normal’ operation. Then, when triggered, the system will automatically and intelligently alert you to current anomalies and future risks. Alongside the standard notification methods, these messages and statistics will be displayed on one or more of the many prebuilt dashboards that are available and nearly identical to the vSphere and NSX dashboards that you may be used to:

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If you need a different view of the data, then you can also create custom dashboards that may be useful for pinpointing problems across on- and off-prem environments. For example, if you have an application that is distributed across your vSphere environment and vCloud Air, you may wish to see the performance status for both environments at once. Custom dashboards can be extremely powerful to align with your specific projects and give you more intuitive information about the workloads you care about.

New to this version of the Management Pack, we help provide professionally formatted out-of-the-box reports on important aspects of your cloud, like Stressed or Oversized VMs, Network Services, and Migration Statistics.

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These allow you to transform dashboard information into regular reports that can be published as a PDF or CSV file for easy sharing.

In addition to pulling metrics from vSphere, vCloud Air, and Advanced Networking Services Gateway objects, this newest version of the Management Pack can also poll VMware’s Hybrid Cloud Manager product. For those who are unfamiliar with this utility, it makes the task of extending your data center to vCloud Air simpler than ever before. Supporting bi-directional, zero-downtime migration of virtual machines between your data center and vCloud Air, customers can use Hybrid Cloud Manager to move workloads between on-prem and the cloud without disruption. To further minimize migration and operational complexity, you can also use this tool to stretch your on-prem Layer 2 networks over to vCloud Air, providing you with unified networking across sites. With the latest Management Pack for vCloud Air, beyond just pulling Hybrid Cloud Manager statistics, we’ll dynamically analyze and map any networks that you have extended to vCloud Air, building out and reporting on every major hop of your L2 Extended networks to help you monitor and troubleshoot your hybrid connections:

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In the end, the free vRealize Operations Management Pack for vCloud Air opens up your cloud to provide the visibility that you need to control your cloud like your own datacenter, breaking apart the traditional black-box of cloud to provide unheard of transparency.

Do you need to see exactly how your VDCs, VMs, Networks, and Services are performing? We can help with that.

Do you need to isolate and troubleshoot a potential issue in your cloud? We can help with that.

Do you need to optimize your cloud? We can help with that.

Do you need to plan a migration to the cloud? We can help with that too.

What are you waiting for? To start the conversation on moving to the compatible cloud with industry leading transparency, reach out to us at http://vcloud.vmware.com/contact-sales.

Learn more about the new vRealize Operations Management Pack for vCloud Air at: https://solutionexchange.vmware.com/store/products/management-pack-for-vcloud-air-vchs.

View the full list of cloud services at vCloud.VMware.com.

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