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The SDDC (Software Defined Data Center) value proposition is ubiquitously acknowledged and now it’s just a question of when organizations will adopt the SDDC model and not if organizations will adopt it. People have realized the benefits of having the flexibility and agility provided by SDDC. SDDC has just crossed the chasm and we are beginning to see early majority profile customers. Today we’re please to announce an advancement in NSX operations as we announce the vRealize Operations Management pack for NSX vSphere and NSX Multi Hypervisor.

On the journey to the SDDC, customers first built out highly virtualized compute infrastructures. As the virtual infrastructures scaled, management of these environments played a critical role as the need for more simplified operations emerged. Now, customers are taking the next step towards the SDDC by transforming networking and security operations with VMware NSX network virtualization. Driven by powerful use cases such as micro-segmentation and faster application provisioning, VMware NSX has been adopted by more than 250 customers, so the technology is no stranger to the enterprise. The single biggest question we get from customers, and rightly so, been “How will I maintain and operationalize the SDDC and its various components?” And once again, VMware management will play a huge role in providing the orchestration and operational glue that brings the various elements of the SDDC together to achieve maximum value.

The single most important factor that helped data centers make the leap to the SDDC is simplification of operations. Customers have already realized the benefits of compute virtualization in reducing data center costs and complexity. With NSX network virtualization data center customers can extend the benefits of SDDC to the network. NSX use cases like network and security micro-segmentation are enabling security services to be provisioned rapidly keeping pace with the provisioning of server resources. Today NSX is being used by more than 250 customers and as these customers expand their deployments, SDDC day two operations are becoming increasingly critical.

vRealize Operations with over 15,000+ customers has extensive experience in this area. VMware vRealize Operations Insight is an IT operations management solution that delivers intelligent operations and policy-based automation from apps to storage across physical and virtual infrastructure, and can provide up to 30% reduction in capex through capacity optimization and up to 50% reduction in downtimes of tier one applications.

Announcing NSX Operations Management Pack

Unlike traditional tools and point-solutions, vRealize Operations Insight is a unified management solution for performance management, capacity optimization, and real-time log analytics, and provides predictive analytics leveraging both structured and unstructured data, enabling faster problem resolution. I am proud to announce the availability of vRealize Operations Management pack for NSX-vSphere 2.0 and vRealize Operations Management pack for NSX Multi-Hypervisor 1.0. vRealize Operations Management pack for NSX is the  industry’s best-in- class solution for managing and operating NSX. The first version of NSX-vSphere management pack was released in July, 2014 and several Fortune 500 enterprises have adopted it. This blog series will address the challenges our customers face with traditional tools and how VMware has developed a solution in response to the pain points.

Let’s take a step back and see how IT operations have been traditionally done and what the key drivers are of an IT revolution. Technology leaders (CIOs/CEOs/CTOs) have always maintained that it’s People, Process and Technology that together make or break any change. It’s no coincidence that they are told in that order as People by far are the most complex. Whether its fear or incentive that is driving one’s behavior is hard to say. Large organizations scaled to the level where they are due to strong processes. In order to embrace any new technology, processes needs to be modified to maximize the benefits. Changing processes again entails changing people’s behavior and it adds to the inertia. Then comes technology which is getting cheaper, better and faster.

Traditionally IT organizations have been run in silos for better efficiencies. Depending upon the size of the organization, industry and geography, you find a Storage team that is responsible for maintaining storage infrastructure, Network team that is responsible for network infrastructure, Compute team that is responsible for server and virtual compute infrastructure. There are several other organizations such as command center (NOC), Security, Application and others. Now with advent of Network virtualization (NSX) and Storage Virtualization (VSAN), some of the lines are getting blurred. All three key components – Network, Storage & Compute co-residing on a single host (server) and the problem isolation is becoming a challenge. When a problem occurs, how does one pin point where the problem is and which group should be responsible to ensure fast, accurate problem resolution.

 

TraditionalDC_OperationsModel

Most of the IT Operation tools have been developed a decade ago when there was no notion of virtual networking and storage.  Over a period of time, they evolved to be best in class tools for respective verticals (network, storage and compute). These tools are great for fault monitoring and troubleshooting individual technologies, but as you all may be aware, there is lot of finger pointing when a new problem is reported. Generally, the networking team bears the brunt most of the time. Virtual networking has added another overlay which must be addressed from an operational standpoint. None of the old generation tools have a combined view of virtual and physical networking. This is a critical issue for the IT operations team.

The obvious question is how companies will address this. Different companies are taking different routes, but the common path that we are observing is that a new group is being formed that is responsible for complete Network, Storage and Compute virtualization.  This team comprises of people with compute, storage and networking backgrounds. The charter of this team is to manage the SDDC and the persona is called Cloud admin or SDDC admin. Coming back to basics of People, Process and Technology –  For next generation IT operations, we have a new team and processes; however in order to enable that, you need latest tools to simplify the job. Traditional tools will not be sufficient for two reasons

  1. Traditional tools doesn’t do correlation between virtual compute, storage and network infrastructure
  2. There is no virtual and physical visibility

VMware as the pioneer of the SDDC envisaged these challenges and proactively came up with the management solutions for simplifying data center operations. vROps provides intelligent operations management from applications to storage and networking, and across physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures – using predictive analytics and policy-based automation.

vROps communicates with NSX using NSX API and vCenter using vCenter API. Apart from providing top down analysis via these APIs, vROps tightly works with LogInsight to provide a bottom up insight via logs to provide a complete 360 degree holistic view of the SDDC.

NSX-vSphere management pack 2.0 focuses on 3 Key use cases:

  1. Monitor the NSX environment – Dashboard view (Component Health, Open Alerts, Top N )
  2. Initial Troubleshooting or Problem Isolation  – Logical (V) and Physical Topology (P) view and correlation across V and P
  3. Advanced Troubleshooting
  • Debug communication issue using Object to Object Path Visualization
  • Action framework to launch Ping test across Hypervisors

These used cases will be covered in more details in upcoming blogs. Meanwhile you can download the documentation and software at the VMware solutions exchange.

NSX_screenshot