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Start Running a Self-Driving Datacenter – vRealize Operations 7.0 Workload Optimization!

vRealize Operations 7.0 is the key to your new self-driving driving datacenter!  Going self-driving will save you time and money, reduce your number of fire-drill headaches and make you look like a superstar to your bosses.  To turn on self-driving you need to enable workload optimization which lets you automate the business and operational intent in your datacenters.  Workload optimization can provide benefits like driving better application performance, improving consolidation ratios, adhering to SLAs, ensuring datacenter compliance or even lowering costs.  What’s not to like?

Workload optimization is easily accessible from your Quick Start home page.  You’ll find it in the Optimize Performance pillar.

Configuring workload optimization is as easy as 1, 2, 3 and can be done via the Operational Intent, Business Intent and Optimization Recommendation widgets.

Step 1 – Configuring Your Operational Intent

Select the datacenter or custom datacenter you wish to configure then click on the EDIT button on the Operational Intent widget.

The first thing to configure it your target utilization objective (the workload optimization slider).  This dictates how vRealize Operation will move workloads between the clusters in the datacenter to best optimize it.  The default setting of moderate means workloads will only be moved when a cluster is facing resource contention.  Setting it to balance means workloads are evenly spread out across the clusters to drive the best possible performance in the datacenter.  On the other hand, with the consolidate setting Workloads are placed to maximize utilization to lower datacenter costs.  This is sometimes called “densification”.

The other configuration that needs to be set is cluster headroom which allows you to specify how much risk is acceptable?  Workload Optimization will move workloads between clusters in the datacenter and the headroom settings says when a cluster should be considered full.  It provides a buffer of space to reduces the risk from bursts or unexpected resource demand in the cluster.

Once both of these are set you simple click save to commit the settings.

Step 2 – Configuring Your Business Intent

That was easy!  Now we need to set up your business intent for your datacenter.   Click on the EDIT button for Business Intent.

In this screen you specify your business needs so workload optimization can ensure they are being met by placing the workloads on the correct hosts and clusters.  It does this by leveraging vSphere tags and placing workloads onto clusters and hosts where the tags match. Depending on your business needs you may wish to enable cluster based or host-based placement.  In this blog we will discuss cluster-based placement.  I will do a deep dive on host-based placement in an upcoming blog.

Let’s start by clicking on cluster-based placement which opens the tag selection area.  Here we need to specify what type of business intent we want to drive.  These are free text categories and are used to best describe your business needs.  You can use one of the out-of-the-box categories or make up one of your own.

In the drop-down you will be shown any cluster based vCenter tag categories that have been configured. Once you select your category you are shown all the associated vCenter tags.  Simply choose the tags you want to use to drive your business intent.

Once both are set you simple click save to commit the settings.

Step 3 – Configuring Automation Level

Now that you have your operational and business intent configured its time to turn workload optimization loose and start making your data center run better!  The Optimization Recommendation widget will show you if your datacenter is…um …optimized. A datacenter is flagged as Not Optimized if its operational intent is not being met.  For instance, if you set the datacenter up for balance it will be flagged as Not Optimized if the clusters are out of balance.

New to 7.0 is the idea of Tag Violations for business intent.  This means datacenters can be flagged as “Not Optimized” if your business intent is not met.  For instance, if you are trying to drive license enforcement and you have Oracle VMs running on Microsoft clusters a Tag Violation will be shown and the datacenter will be labeled as Not Optimized.  Even better, these tag violations can be resolved through workload optimization.

You have 3 options of how to run a workload optimization and deal with a Not Optimized datacenter: Optimize Now, Schedule or Automate.

If you wish to keep your hands on the wheel you can use the Optimize Now button to manually optimize the datacenter when you wish.  You can also use the Schedule button to run workload optimizations during your maintenance windows.

However, if you don’t feel like logging in a clicking a button or waiting for your maintenance window to fix these issues we have an answer for you: Automate it!  vRealize Operations 7.0 enables full automation of workload optimization so you can be sure your workloads are meeting both business and operational intents around the clock.  A simple click of the Automate button and vRealize Operations takes over.

If you wish to see this WHOLE THING working together I have created a video of how you can automatically set up cluster-based SLA Tiers in your datacenter in the attached video.  It’s a bit long, but really worth the time!




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