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Tag Archives: Sunny Dua

Practical Tools from VMware Consultants: Mobility Policy, Horizon + Lync Architecture, and vCOps Dashboard

Our goal on the VMware Consulting blog is to share best practices that have delivered results for our customers, in hopes that they will help others be successful with VMware offerings.  Once in a while we like to highlight past posts that our readers have found particularly valuable. Last month, we published three such pieces — with great, practical advice to help you in your daily work. Just in case you missed them, we hope you find them useful. And if you’re already putting them to use, be sure to leave comments for our consulting authors. Feedback helps us bring you more of what you want to read!

How to Set Up a BYOD/Mobility Policy
By TJ Vatsa, Principal Architect, VMware Americas Professional Services Organization

Architecture Overview: Microsoft Lync with VMware Horizon View
By Ray Heffer, VCDX #122, VMware EUC Architect

Create a vCOps One-Click Cluster Capacity Dashboard, Part 2
By Sunny Dua, Senior Technology Consultant, VMware


Create a vCOps One-Click Cluster Capacity Dashboard Part 2

Sunny DuaBy Sunny Dua, Senior Technology Consultant at VMware

As I promised in my last post, Create a One-Click Cluster Capacity Dashboard Using vCOps, I am going to share the recipe for preparing dashboards similar to the “One-Click Cluster Capacity Dashboard,” which received a lot of appreciation from the Twitterati. A number of people  deployed the dashboard and within minutes they could showcase the capacity of their vSphere Clusters.

Now I want to take this one level deeper and tell you how you can create your own cool XMLs within vCOps Custom UI (included with Advanced & Enterprise Edition) to create the dashboard to showcase to your CxO, IT VP or the NOC team who are monitoring the virtual infrastructure. I call this the “behind the scenes” post because it will get into XML coding. Creating these XMLs is way easier than I thought, so go ahead, read on….

To begin, let’s have a look at the XML file I created for scoreboard interactions in Part 1 of this two post series. Here is how the file is structured and the details of the components that make up this file. Understanding this is critical.

 

One-Click Part 2 Image 1

Hint: Open this image on a separate page to get all the details.

Now if you have spent some time reading the details of the image above, the first question you will have is “Where can I find the adapterkindKey, resourcekindKey and the Metric attrkey to make my dream dashboard?”

adapterkindKey – This is the easiest one. If you want to see metrics from your vSphere environment, you will use VMWARE as the adapter kind. If you have collectors installed for third-party products, refer to their documentation for the adapter name.

resourcekindKey and attrkey – These keys are stored in the vCOps database. The procedure to access the database is defined in VMware KB – 2011714, but I have simplified it in the steps below.

To access the VCOps database and retrieve the resourcekindKey and attrkey

1. Open the following URL in your environment:
https:///vcops-custom/dbAccessQuery.action

2. When you see the vCOps DB Access Query page, run the following query. This will fetch the data you need. Note: Copy and paste the query starting at select and ending at ‘HostSystem’. (Ignore the asterisks.)

*********************************************************************************
select a.ADAPTER_KIND_ID, a.ADAPTER_KEY, b.RESKND_ID, b.RESKND_KEY, e.ATTRKEY_ID, e.ATTR_KEY
from AdapterKind a
inner join ResourceKind b on (b.ADAPTER_KIND_ID = a.ADAPTER_KIND_ID)
inner join AliveResource c on (c.RESKND_ID = b.RESKND_ID)
inner join ResourceAttributeKey d on (d.RESOURCE_ID = c.RESOURCE_ID)
inner join AttributeKey e on (e.ATTRKEY_ID = d.ATTRKEY_ID)

where a.ADAPTER_KEY = ‘VMWARE‘ or b.RESKND_KEY = ‘HostSystem

*********************************************************************************

If you are looking for keys related to an adapter other than VMware, change the values highlighted in blue in the query.

3. The query will give you all the data you need, in the following format. (The screenshot below is from my lab.)

One-Click Part 2 Image 2

Here, you will see the resourcekindKey and attrkey which will help you to create your own XML for the values you want to showcase for a particular resource. Once you have done that, you just need to import this XML into the default interactions location mentioned in my last post. Now you are ready for scoreboard interactions.

It’s that easy!

I hope you will use this recipe for good, and I would appreciate if you can share the XMLs you create with it. I am planning to host a repository on my blog to include some easily re-usable dashboards that can help those in the VMware Community who are using or planning to use the vCenter Operations Manager. As always, please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.


This post originally appeared on Sunny Dua’s vXpress blog. Sunny is a senior technology consultant for VMware’s Professional Services Organization, focused on India and SAARC countries. Follow Sunny on Twitter @sunny_dua.

Create a One-Click Cluster Capacity Dashboard Using vCOps

Sunny DuaBy Sunny Dua, Senior Technology Consultant at VMware

It’s easy to set up a cluster capacity dashboard in just one click and I’ll show you how to do it with vCenter Operations Manager Custom Dashboards. In this two-part blog series, I’ll guide you through steps to get this dashboard installed in your environment and explain how to create the interaction XML.

Let’s take a look at the final dashboard in the screenshot below, the problems it will solve, and its features. Then we’ll take a closer look at the process of designing this dashboard and the related customizations you can do. DuaOCCCD1
Here is a quick summary and the features of this dashboard:

  • The list of clusters in the environment being monitored in your Virtual Infrastructure (left pane).
  • Once you select a given cluster, you will see the Capacity Overview of the cluster (right scoreboard widget).
  • The scoreboard gives you the summary of the cluster, consolidation ratios, capacity remaining, waste, and stress data.
  • Each score’s color designates VMware configuration maximums. (For example, if the number of hosts comes out to 33, the box will turn red as vSphere 5.x currently supports a 32-node ESXi Cluster. You have the option to define these thresholds while creating the XML—I’ll share this in a moment.)
  • This dashboard can help CXOs get details about the capacity of each cluster with just a click of a button. It can also easily help them make procurement decisions.
  • Using this dashboard helps IT teams quickly decide which clusters can be used for any new Virtual Machine demand from the business, etc.
  • Finally, large service providers can use this dashboard to keep tabs on the resource utilization and available capacity.

Download Files

The beauty behind this customization is that I can export this dashboard right from my vCOps instance and import it into any vCOps instance with a few steps–and it will work like a charm. You can successfully reuse this dashboard in your vCOps instance, if you have the vCOps advance or Enterprise edition, which includes a custom UI.

Download the Cluster-XML.xml file below to see all of the metrics to display in the scorecard on the right as soon as a cluster is selected on the left pane. In part two of this series, I will tell you how to write this file. The Cluster-Capacity Dashboard.xml file is just a simple export of the dashboard from the Custom UI.

You can do the same for any dashboard that does not have any dependencies for resource IDs (unique identity number given by vCOps to each of its inventory object). You would take a two-step approach to use these files to achieve the final result.

Files to download:

Cluster-XML.xml

Cluster-Capacity Dashboard.xml

Step-by-Step Instructions to Place the Cluster-XML.xml in a Specific Location of UI VM

  1. Use an SCP software to login to the UI VM using the root credentials. I am using WinSCP.
    Change the directory to the following location: /usr/lib/vmware-vcops/tomcat-enterprise/webapps/vcops-custom/WEB-INF/classes/resources/reskndmetrics
  2. Drag and drop the Cluster-XML.xml file from your system where you downloaded it to this directory as shown in the screenshot below.DuaOCCCD2
  3. Right click the target file, and then click on Properties to change the permission level to 644 (for read and execute rights) as shown below.DuaOCCCD3

Now that you’ve finished the first set of steps, let’s go through the second set of instructions.

Step-by-Step Instructions: Import Cluster-Capacity Dashboard.xml Dashboard in vCOps Custom UI

  1. Log into vCOps Custom UI using an ID with administrative privileges.
  2. Click the Import Option under the Dashboard Tools menu.
    DuaOCCCD4
  3. Browse to the location where you saved the Cluster-Capacity Dashboard.xml and click Import.
    DuaOCCCD3
  4. You’ll now see a dialog box indicating that your dashboard was successfully imported. Close the window and click the Dashboards Menu to find a new dashboard named “CLUSTER-WISE CAPACITY OVERVIEW”
    DuaOCCCD6
  5. Click this and you will now have see the dashboard I displayed at beginning of this post. It’s that simple! :-)After importing the dashboard, if you do not see the names of your cluster in the Resources Widget, you must edit the “Resources” Widget -> Select “Cluster Compute Resource” in the left pane and click OK. This will list all your clusters.

Stay tuned for part two of this article where I’ll provide steps to help create your own .XML files to build additional dashboards. This is useful for those who want a single pane to view the entire capacity of a Virtual Infrastructure.

Additional Notes and Resources

Lior Kamrat, who like myself is a part of VMware Consulting group, has a list of great list of vCOps resources available on a dedicated page of his blog called IMALLVIRTUAL.COM. I would highly recommend you bookmark the page if you are using, learning about, or want to become an expert on vCenter Operations Manager. He also has a blog series on One Click Capacity Planning Dashboards with another angle on capacity in your Virtual Datacenter. In addition, you can review other articles on vCOps on vXpress.


This post originally appeared on Sunny Dua’s vXpress blog. Sunny is a Senior Technology Consultant for VMware’s Professional Services Organization, focused on India and SAARC countries. Follow Sunny on Twitter @sunny_dua.

Creating Purpose-Built vSphere Clusters

By Sunny Dua, Senior Technology Consultant at VMware 

I recently had an opportunity to present at vForum 2013 in Mumbai, the Financial Capital of India. With more than 3,000 participants and two days of events, it was definitely one of the biggest customer events in India. Along with my team, I represented VMware Professional Services and presented on the following topic: “Architecting vSphere Environments – Everything you wanted to know!”

When we finalized the topic, I realized that presenting this topic in 45 minutes is next to impossible. With the amount of complexity that goes into Architecting a vSphere Environment, one could easily write an entire book. However, the task at hand was to keep it to the length of a presentation.

As I started planning the slides, I decided to look at the architectural decisions, which in my experience are the Most Important Ones, since they can make or break the virtual infrastructure. My other criterion was to ensure I talk about the Grey Areas where I always see uncertainty. This uncertainty can transform a good design into a bad one.

At the end I was able to come out with a final presentation which was received very well by the attendees. I thought of sharing the content with the entire community through this blog post. This is part 1, where I will give you some key design considerations for designing vSphere Clusters.

Before I begin, I also want to give the credit to a number of VMware experts in the community. Their books, blogs and the discussions I have had with them in the past helped me in creating this content. This includes books and blogs by DuncanFrankForbes GuthrieScott LoweCormac Hogan and some fantastic discussions with Michael Webster earlier this year.

Before we begin here is a small graphical disclaimer:

And here are my thoughts on creating vSphere Clusters.

The message behind the slide above is to create vSphere Clusters based on the purpose they need to fulfill in the IT landscape of your organization.

Management Cluster

The management cluster refers here to a 2- to 3-host ESXi host used by the IT team to primarily host all the workloads that are used to build up a vSphere Infrastructure. This includes VMs such as vCenter Server, Database Server, vCOps, SRM, vSphere Replication Appliance, VMA Appliance, Chargeback Manager, etc. This cluster can also host other infrastructure components such as active directory, backup servers, anti-virus etc. This approach has multiple benefits such as:

  • Security due to isolation of management workloads from production workloads. This gives complete control to the IT team on the workloads, which are critical to manage the environment.
  • Ease of upgrading the vSphere Environment and related components without impacting the production workloads.
  • Ease of troubleshooting issues within these components since the resources such as compute, storage, and network are isolated and dedicated for this cluster.
  • The number of ESXi hosts in a cluster will impact your consolidation ratios in most cases. As a rule of thumb, you will always consider one ESXi host in a 4-node cluster for HA failover (assuming), but you could also do the same on a 8-node cluster, which ideally saves one ESXi host for you for running additional workloads. Yes, the HA calculations matter and they can be either on the basis of slot size or percentage of resources.
  • Always consider at least one host as a failover limit per 8 to 10 ESXi servers. So in a 16 node cluster, do not stick with only one host for failover, look for at least taking this number to two. This is to ensure that you cover the risk as much as possible by providing an additional node for failover scenarios.
  • Setting up large clusters comes with its benefits, such as higher consolidation ratios etc. But they might have a downside as well if you do not have enterprise-class or rightly sized storage in your infrastructure. Remember, if a datastore is presented to a 16-node or a 32-node cluster, and if the VMs on that datastore are spread across the cluster, chances are you might get into contention for SCSI locking. If you are using VAAI, this will be reduced by ATS; however, try to start small and grow gradually to see if your storage behavior is not being impacted.
  •  Having separate ESXi servers for DMZ workloads is OLD SCHOOL. This was done to create physical boundaries between servers. This practice is a true burden carried over from the physical world to the virtual. It’s time to shed that load and make use of mature technologies, such as VLANs to create logical isolation zones between internal and external networks. Worst case, you might want to use separate network cards and physical network fabric, but you can still run on the same ESXi server, giving you better consolidation ratios and ensuring the level of security required in an enterprise.

Quick Tip: Ensure that this cluster is a minimum 2-node cluster for vSphere HA to protect workloads in case one host goes down. A 3-node management cluster would be ideal, since you would have the option of running maintenance tasks on ESXi servers without having to disable HA. You might want to consider using VSAN for this infrastructure as this is the primary use case that both Rawlinson & Cormac suggest. Remember, VSAN is in beta right now, so make your choices accordingly.

Production Clusters

As the name suggests this cluster would host all your production workloads. This cluster is the heart of your organization as it hosts the business applications, databases, and web services. This is what gives you the job of being a VMware architect or a virtualization admin.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind while creating production clusters:

  • The number of ESXi hosts in a cluster will impact you consolidation ratios in most of the cases. As a rule of thumb, you will always consider one ESXi host in a 4-node cluster for HA failover (assuming), but you could also do the same on a 8-node cluster, which ideally saves one ESXi host for you for running additional workloads. Yes, the HA calculations matter and they can be either on the basis of slot size or percentage of resources.
  • Always consider at least 1 host as a failover limit per 8 to 10 ESXi servers. So in a 16 node cluster, do not stick with only 1 host for failover, look for at least taking this number to 2. This is to ensure that you cover the risk as much as possible by providing additional node for failover scenarios
  • Setting up large clusters comes with their benefits such as higher consolidation ratios etc., they might have a downside as well if you do not have the enterprise class or rightly sized storage in your infrastructure. Remember, if a Datastore is presented to a 16 Node or a 32 Node cluster, and on top of that, if the VMs on that datastore are spread across the cluster, chances that you might get into contention for SCSI locking. If you are using VAAI this will be reduced by ATS, however try to start with small and grow gradually to see if your storage behavior is not being impacted.

Having separate ESXI servers for DMZ workloads is OLD SCHOOL. This was done to create physical boundaries between servers. This practice is a true burden which is carried over from physical world to virtual. It’s time to shed that load and make use of mature technologies such as VLANs to create logical isolation zones between internal and external networks. In worst case, you might want to use separate network cards and physical network fabric but you can still run on the same ESXi server which gives you better consolidation ratios and ensures the level of security which is required in an enterprise.

Island Clusters

They sound fancy but the concept of island clusters is fairly simple: run islands of ESXi servers (small groups) that can host workloads with special license requirements. Although I do not appreciate how some vendors try to apply illogical licensing policies on their applications, middle-ware and databases, this is a great way of avoiding all the hustle and bustle created by sales folks. Some examples of island clusters would include:

  • Running Oracle Databases/Middleware/Applications on their dedicated clusters. This will not only ensure that you are able to consolidate more and more on a small cluster of ESXi hosts and save money but also ensures that you zip the mouth of your friendly sales guy by being in what they think is license compliance.
  • I have customers who have used island clusters of operating systems such as Windows. This also helps you save on those datacenter, enterprise, or standard editions of Windows OS.
  • Another important benefit of this approach is that it helps ESXi use the memory management technique of Transparent Page Sharing (TPS) more efficiently since there are chances that you are running a lot of duplicate pages spawned by these VMs in the physical memory of your ESXi servers. I have seen this reach 30 percent and can be fetched in a vCenter Operations Manager report if you have that installed in your virtual infrastructure.

With this I would close this article. I was hoping to give you a quick scoop in all these parts, but this article is now four pages. I hope this helps you make the right choices for your virtual infrastructure when it comes to vSphere Clusters.


This post originally appeared on Sunny Dua’s vXpress blog, where you can find follow-up posts 2 and 3. Sunny Dua is a Senior Technology Consultant for VMware’s Professional Services Organization, focused on India and SAARC countries.

What Did You Miss? Best Blog Posts for 2013

When you consider the constant flow of information we are submerged in on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that great insights occasionally escape our notice. As we reflect this week on the  last year, we thought we’d share a few of our most read and most shared posts from 2013—just in case you missed one. We hope they’ll help you step into 2014 with confidence, knowing you have these helpful tips in your back pocket (and that you can check back any time for new ones). Enjoy!


Four Commonly Missed and Easy to Implement Best Practices (Horizon View)
– By Nathan Smith, VMware EUC Consultant

It All Starts Here: Internal implementation of Horizon Workspace at VMware
– By Jim Zhang, VMWare Professional Services Consultant

4 Ways To Overcome Resistance to the Cloud
– By Brett Parlier, Solutions Architect, VMware Professional Services

Quickly Calculate Bandwidth Requirements with New vSphere ‘fling’
– By Sunny Dua, Senior Technology Consultant at VMware