vRealize Network Insight

vRealize Network Insight ( vRNI ) 3.0- How to Install & Configure

Introduction:

vRealize Network Insight ( vRNI ) is the newest addition to the range of products from VMware. vRealize Network Insight (vRNI) is a product for delivering intelligent operations for your software defined network environment (specially NSX). In short, it does what vRealize Operations does for your virtualized environment, but only to the SDN environment. With the help of this product you can optimize network performance and availability with visibility and analytics across virtual and physical networks. Provide planning and recommendations for implementing micro-segmentation security, plus operational views to quickly and confidently manage and scale VMware NSX deployment.

It is a very exciting product and I thought of taking it for a spin in my lab. Provided below is a detailed installation and configuration guide for this product. So if you are a VMware professional and looking to deploy this in your environment or you want to do a PoC then this blog is for you.

With the introduction out of the way, let’s start the main topic.vRealize Network Insight is currently in version 3.0 and in this blog I am covering this version. This product comes with the following two OVA files.

  • VMware_vRealize_Network_Insight_3.0.0-1469457715_platform.ova
  • VMware_vRealize_Network_Insight_3.0.0-1469457715_proxy.ova

The platform.ova is the main appliance and the other one is the proxy appliance. Go ahead and download the appliances from download link.

 

To keep the length of the post to a reasonable length I have omitted the OVA deployment steps except the final network information input screens.

Installation:

Provided below is the screenshot of the screen where you need to provide the details like IP, DNS, NTP etc.

Network details input
Network details input

 

Also note, here you have the advance configuration option to provide HTTP proxy information or the log server information. Along with that, the “Log Push to the Cloud Setting” option is also provided here. If you select this option then the logs will be pushed to VMware server in Cloud.

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Advance setting for network

 

Once the appliance is deployed and powered on you need to go to the configuration screen by going to https://<IP or FQDN of the appliance>. In my case it is “https://vrnetinsight.lab.local”. Accept the certificate warnings.

Accepting certificate warning
Accepting certificate warning

 

Next comes the license page. You need to provide the license key and validate it. So let me put the license key there and Validate.

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License validation page

 

Once validated, it shows the details of the license and asks for Activation. Click on Activate button to activate the license.

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Validated details of license and Activation Page

Next page is for generating the secret for the proxy VM. Click on Generate button to generate the Secret.

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Secret generation page

Once the secret is generated we have the Copy button to copy the secret.

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Secret generation and copying stage

 

Next, this setup will wait for the deployment of Proxy VM. It will keep looking for it till the time proxy VM is deployed. So let’s go ahead and deploy the Proxy VM. The deployment is similar to any OVA deployment. One difference is, in this case you need to provide the above generated secret at the deployment stage of the OVA.

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Secret providing at the OVA deployment of Proxy VM

 

Next two screenshots are for the details that needed to be provided at the time of OVA deployment. It is similar to the ones provided at the time of platform OVA deployment (screenshots are provided here for reference).

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Details page 1
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Details page 2

Once the deployment is done and the Proxy VM is up and running, it is automatically sensed in the main configuration page.

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Auto Sensing of the presence of Proxy VM

 

Click on Finish button to finish off the installation. Congratulations !!! your have done a successful installation of vRealize Network Insight environment.

Since the installation is done, let’s configure the environment.

Configuration:

 

To go to login page simply type https://<IP or FQDN of the platform appliance> in Google Chrome Browser (remember this is a requirement, as of now no other browser is supported).
In my case it is “https://vranetinsight.lab.local”. The default login id is “admin@local” and password is “admin”.

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Login Page

Once you are logged in, by default you will be in “NSX Assessment Mode”, you can continue on that mode or change to “Full Product Evaluation” mode.

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Change or accept the current mode

If you click on the change mode button (small green button at the bottom right corner of the page) you will be shown the details of the environment. Ideally it should be filled with data but since till now I did not configure any data sources so it is all blank.

 

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Full Evaluation Mode

Let’s go back and add data source. The first data source to be added is vCenter sever.

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Add Data source

Clicking on the link takes you to the addition of Data Sources Page. Go to the page and click on “Add new source”.

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Add new source

First you need to select a source type.

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Select Source

The first source available is VMware vCenter Server (before anything else is added).

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VMware vCenter as source type

Provide details of the vCenter.

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I love the way the button changes color with and without the details. After you provide the details you need to click on Validate to validate the details.

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Validation of details

Once the details are validated, all the available VDS are listed and you have the option to enable NetFlow on the vCenter. If you want to enable it, select the required options and click on Submit.

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Configuring NetFlow

Now you are done with first data source configuration.

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Configured Data Source

Since we have configured the first source, let us see what other options are available. The first thing that I do is integrate the solution with Active Directory so that I can easily configure role based access control. So let’s start this configuration by Clicking on “Active Directory Integration” on the left hand side and select the option to enable it.

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Enabling AD

In the details page provide the details of the AD and click on Save button to save the information.

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Details of AD

AD is configured. You can add the user later. Next task should be to change the default password. For that, click on “My Profile” and change the password.

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Change Password

You can check the Infrastructure state from the left side menu option.

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Check status

Since we have done basic house keeping so let’s add NSX as another data source. We will again visit the “Data Source” button.

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Add Second Data Source

Now if you click on “Select Source Type” list you will see a lot more option. Choose NSX Manager from the list.

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NSX as Data Source

Next provide the details of the NSX Manager and Validate.

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Provide details of NSX

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For my environment I will “Enable NSX Controller”.

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Enable NSX Controller

Everything configured.

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Sources configured

You can configure the system notifications by clicking to the respective button.

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System Notification

 

Monitoring environment:

 

Since everything is configured, let’s check the information. Next few screenshots show how to see the details of a single ESXi host.

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Select host from left side option
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Click on select host
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Select the host for which you want to see the details
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Submit the request. You can modify the time frame for which you want to see the details
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All the statistics

Similarly, I chose to see the details of the NSX manager.

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NSX Details 1
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Scrolled down view for more information

 

Conclusion:

This is an awesome tool to monitor your network environment. I am pretty impressed with the capabilities. In my opinion if you have NSX in your environment then this is a must have tool in your kitty. Go ahead and explore the option. For more details visit VMware site for more information. For detailed documentation, check this link.

Comments

8 comments have been added so far

      1. Thanks Bill for covering the answer for me.

        The product download link is provided at the beginning of the blog. So you would be able to download the product from the mentioned link (VMware site), but to get the license you need to sign up at the Try Now link (Arkene site) provided by Bill.
        As of now the product installation requires license (by default it does not go to Evaluation mode as like other VMware products).
        So go ahead and register yourself for a demo license.

  1. The product link doesn’t have a “Try Now” option, What is required to download the binaries? All I see is “you are not authorized” I’ve asked others to try and so far haven’t found anyone with access.

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