By: Kyle Wassink
When introducing others to vRealize Operations (vROps), starting with the foundational components of the platform serves as the best approach. Relationship mapping is one of those foundational components that is used extensively throughout vROps and is critical to a lot of the platforms functionality, and therefore, important to understand.
First, the Basics
In vROps, a relationship consists of two resources and the type of relationship (parent or child, typically). For example, a virtual machine and the host system it resides on have a relationship where the virtual machine is the child of the hHost. Relationship functionality extends to non-VMware management packs as well. For example, Oracle Database instances will create a relationship to the virtual machine they reside on (if virtualized), where the database instance is the child of the virtual machine.
Once the point-to-point relationships are created (generally, automatically), vROps can begin using them throughout the platform. The remainder of this blog will cover some of the ways that vROps uses relationship mapping to your benefit.
Relationships are used extensively in dashboards to show multiple layers of your stack and how they perform. Below is an example of a custom dashboard where, upon selecting the Oracle Database instance in the top left widget and, by using relationships, vROps identifies and displays the VMware virtual machine that it resides on. If you select a different database instance, the virtual machine section will dynamically update to display the related virtual machine. On the right half of the dashboard, KPIs for the selected database instance and virtual machine are displayed.
Figure 1: vROps uses relationships to correctly identify the virtual machine that the selected Oracle Database instance resides on
Inventory trees are hierarchical lists of resources that rely on relationships to populate. Below is an example of an inventory tree that is part of the MySQL Management Pack from Blue Medora. Note that it includes information from both MySQL (instances, databases, tables) and VMware (virtual machine, host, datastore). As more MySQL instance/databases/tables are added, they will appear in the hierarchy. Similarly, if the virtual machine is moved to a different host system, the hierarchy will dynamically update the host system shown.
Figure 2: An inventory tree that shows the hierarchy of a MySQL database instance as well as the related virtual infrastructure.
Symptom and Alert Timeline
By default, all you will see in the “Timeline” page are symptoms and alerts for the selected resource. However, you can also enable symptoms and alerts for related resources.
In the example below we are looking at a virtual machine timeline page. Note the dropdown where you can select related resources from Cisco Nexus Switch to NetApp Volume and LUN to the VMware Datastore and Oracle Database. With those resources selected, vROps dynamically identifies the specific Nexus Switch, specific NetApp Volume, specific VMware Datastore, etc. that the virtual machine relies on and only populates the timeline with symptoms and alerts from those resources.
The output is spectacular! You can see issues cascade through the different resources and layers of your stack with just a few clicks – no manual event correlation and timestamping needed.
There are many other ways that vROps uses relationship mapping throughout the platform. Quite a few of them are subtle, but all of them provide a ton of value and save you time and effort. Expanding beyond the virtual layer in vROps is another way to leverage relationship mapping, which I’ve demonstrated throughout this post (MySQL, Oracle, NetApp, etc.).
Ready to extend relationship mapping out to the virtual layer and beyond? Learn how Blue Medora’s True Visibility Suite for vRealize Operations can augment your performance.