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Managing NetApp Storage with vRealize Operations Analysis Badge & 3rd Party Extensions

From the earliest versions of vCenter Operations to the current vRealize Operations incarnation, we have been offering a multitude of capabilities to help IT administrators effectively manage, troubleshoot and simplify their infrastructure. One of the most powerful of these capabilities is the ‘Analysis Badge.’

Analysis Badges can be used to provide ‘at-a-glance’ views in numerous forms, including anomalous behavior, capacity usage, performance and more. In this blog post, we will leverage the Blue Medora Management Pack for NetApp Storage to demonstrate some of the capabilities of vRealize Operations Analysis Badges. This Management Pack for NetApp Storage incorporates the capabilities of the analysis badge to help administrators gain a deep level of visibility into their NetApp storage. These insights help admins to remediate any upcoming issues and accurately plan for future growth.

NetApp Storage Topology Dashboard

Figure 1: The NetApp Management Pack Storage Topology Dashboard Continue reading

Optimizing PowerShell workflows in vRealize Orchestrator

In my previous blog post, we walked through configuring vRO’s PowerShell Plug-In and calling some PowerShell and PowerCLI scripts from within our vRO workflows.  In this post, we’ll take things a step further, and organize our scripts and workflows using techniques that maximize their efficiency and scalability.  We’ll start by learning how multiple scripts within a workflow can all share the same PS Session and PowerCLI vCenter connection.  This will help prevent resource over-consumption on both the PS Host and the vCenter Server.  Next, we'll look at how this works for the previous post’s vSphere Tagging use case (plus some bonus integration with vRealize Automation)!  Finally, we’ll look at how to setup some error handling to prevent any unforeseen circumstances from causing orphaned PS Sessions and vCenter connections.  Continue reading

Understanding the Density badge – vRealize Operations Tech Tips #14

I recently got asked to explain the Density badge in vRealize Operations Manger.  Please note that videos of all the badges (and more…) are available at this page.  https://www.vmware.com/support/vrealize-operations-Manager-6-video.html  (You’re welcome!!)

Density in vRealize Operations Manager compares the current density with the optimal density that has been determined by vR Ops based on Policy. The higher the Density score the better, and the closer you are to optimal.

Density uses the Demand model and considers both Stress and Usable Capacity in its calculations.  So policy will impact this.

Let's take a look at the following image:

Density Demand Model

The gray horizontal line in both graphs indicates the ‘Optimal’ Density. Continue reading

Enhance Infoblox DDI control using vRealize Log Insight

Networks and networking requirements are rapidly evolving and leading to innovations that are driven by changing trends in security, cloud infrastructure, virtualization, IPv6, and the changing face of the Internet. This impressive trend list requires equally advanced solutions for managing critical network services in the physical, virtual, and cloud environments. Infoblox’s industry leading integrated, centrally managed approach to delivering enterprise-grade DNS, DHCP, and IP address management (DDI) supports current and upcoming IT needs and providing the highest standards for security, service uptime, and operational efficiencies.

The Infoblox DDI appliance provides comprehensive logs for DHCP, DNS and IPAM events that are provided in an easy to understand, visual representation via the Infoblox vRealize Log Insight content pack. The Infoblox vRealize content pack provides powerful visualizations of DHCP, DNS and IPAM information for proactive monitoring and auditing.

Infoblox DDI + Log Insight

Customers can monitor multiple DDI appliances from vRealize Log Insight using the Log Insight content pack. It provides for –
1.    Powerful Monitoring
Customers can monitor DHCP, DNS and IPAM Configuration for quick problem detection and resolution. Additionally the content pack provides authentication information and system status information.

Infoblox DDI Overview

Infoblox DDI Overview

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Vblock Management with vRealize Operations Insight

Vblock is an incredibly popular converged hardware/software offering from our friends at VCE. For those not in the know, VCE is an EMC business, and started life as a joint venture between VMware, EMC, and Cisco. It produces pre-assembled, rack-based solutions which contain Cisco UCS compute notes, Cisco network switches, EMC storage, and VMware software. The idea is to provide an easy to install and deploy solution that radically decreases the time to takes to set up new computing environments.

This post will discuss ideas on how to manage Vblock systems with vRealize Operations Insight.


About Vblock

Vblock systems are various described as “Integrated Systems”, or “converged systems”. The idea is not new: Sun had “VOS” (Veritas, Oracle, Sun) systems in the 90’s. While I can’t name them, one imagines that IBM and DEC had them in the past as well. The come a variety of sizes, from a half rack 2-server version, to a whopping 3 full rack 700 series system. VCE describes the Vblock systems as follows: “Seamlessly integrating best-in-class compute, network, and storage technologies from industry leaders Cisco, EMC, and VMware, Vblock Systems provide dynamic pools of resources that can be intelligently provisioned and managed to address changing demands and fleeting business opportunities.” From this description, it can be inferred the intent of the Vblock systems is to provide is essentially to provide “vSphere with a wall plug,” i.e. a turnkey set of compute, network and storage resources that can arbitrarily be allocated to whatever the customer needs.

VCE recently announced a new architecture called VxRack as well.

Using vRealize Operations Insight to Manage Vblock

vRealize Operations Insight is a package that includes both vRealize Log Insight, VMware’s Log Management solution, and vRealize Operations Manager, VMware’s virtualization management platform. Just as VCE has built an integrated or converged hardware stack, VMware is producing a converged hybrid cloud management stack. It is important to realize that vRealize Operations Insight delivers intelligent operations from applications to storage - across vSphere and physical hardware. It also has a wide array of free extension at SolutionExchange.VMware.Com. These extensions extend beyond VMware software to exertions to help customers manage everything from apps to storage, including software from vendors like Microsoft, Cisco, EMC, Netapp, and more. Continue reading

12 Reasons Why You Should Use The Log Insight Forwarder

In Log Insight 2.5, a forwarding option was introduced, which provided similar capabilities to a syslog aggregator. I have been asked a few times why you should use the Log Insight forwarding option. I would like to cover 12 reasons in this post.


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Creating Custom Dashboards in vRealize Operations with 3rd Party Integrations

vRealize Operations has a number of management packs that extend the core capability of the platform and enable comprehensive visibility into your IT Infrastructure. We discussed relationship mapping in the last blog post, which enables instant visibility into different components of your virtual environment by mapping out the relationship between each resource kind within vRealize Operations. This isn’t immediately apparent, however, in dashboard view. Since individual dashboards are unaware of any management packs that may be installed, it is often necessary to create or modify new dashboards to include content corresponding to 3rd party integrations or management packs.

Custom Dashboards

Use Case: FlexPod

Let’s take a common use case. In this example, our user is in an Oracle shop that runs a majority of their workloads on FlexPod. To monitor their environment, they have added the following three Blue Medora Management Packs: Continue reading

VMware Introduces Best Practices and Compliance Solution for Docker Engine

By Sajai Krishnan, vice president of product marketing, Cloud Management Business Unit

Lately, I’ve been asked by customers how we can help them to manage and secure container environments. We have spent years working closely with our customers to develop best practices around securing virtual machines even for the most stringent production workloads.  However, given that containers are relatively new in the enterprise, the industry is just beginning to develop best practices for securing containers. Today, I am happy to announce VMware’s role in developing a security configuration benchmark for Docker containers (read Docker’s blog post).

In collaboration with the Center for Internet Security (CIS), Docker and individuals from Cognitive Scale, International Securities Exchange and Rakuten, we developed this first of its kind benchmark for Docker Engine 1.6. The resulting benchmark offers 84 vetted best practices and recommendations to help customers securely set up their Docker Engine and Linux hosts. Download the CIS Docker 1.6 Benchmark v1.0.0 here.

Beyond investing significantly in authoring the configuration benchmark, we have put these recommendations into practice through a tool that customers can download as a free 60 day trial and begin using today. VMware vRealize Configuration Manager provides compliance health status for each Docker container, image, container host, Docker daemon, etc., against each automatable recommendation from CIS benchmark.

In the rapidly evolving container landscape, the security configuration benchmark and vRealize Configuration Manager combine to provide customers with a helpful resource and tool to facilitate the use of Docker Engine and Linux hosts in production today. For additional details on the CIS benchmark and vRealize Configuration Manager, read more here.

12 Reasons Why You Should Use The Log Insight Agent

When the Log Insight Windows agent was released in version 2.0, the decision to use the agent was easy because Windows does not natively support syslog. Given the release of the Log Insight Linux agent, I have been asked a few times why the agent should be used over already available syslog agents like Rsyslog and Syslog-NG for sending events to a remote destination like Log Insight. I would like to cover 12 reasons in this post.


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New Health Monitor Tool for vRealize Suite: vRealize Production Test

You are well on your way to making your private cloud a reality… You have stood up the tools such as vRealize Automation, vRealize Operations and/or vRealize Business Standard, configured, tested, extended, tested, architected, and are ready to roll your new tools into production. As you progress though the final stages of your production roll out, your operations team asks the inevitable. How do we know this new thing is happy and healthy in our data center? How do we know if the services are available to consumers? What tests can we run to verify it really IS functioning? Until now, there was no easy answer to this! The vRealize Production Tool can help.

Introducing vRealize Production Test, or vRPT for short. Just released, this tool was created from the ground up by the Management BU Engineering Services Organization to help customers monitor their vRealize Suite tools in a production setting and ensure they are functioning as expected. This tool goes far beyond the ping or API tests that you may have had to rely on up to this point. It is a light-weight java based tool which can be downloaded from VMware Download site (see bottom of article) and configured very quickly to execute a cross-cutting selection of standardized tests in your environment. It can be installed and run from any machine with Java 1.7 or higher installed, and which has appropriate access to all of the hosts in your deployment.

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