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Sustainability dashboards in vRealize Operations – Find out how much did you contribute to a Greener Planet ?

Update (13th Oct,2021): vRealize Operations 8.6 which was released on 12th Oct 2021 has Sustainability story and dashboards available as built-in feature. So upgrade to vRealize Operations 8.6 to get sustainability dashboards discussed in this blog and much more!!! Refer to the new blog post – Sustainability Dashboards in vRealize operations 8.6 .

Use the custom contents in this blog if you are still on vRealize Operations 8.5 or older – but you will be missing many new capabilities and features including new sustainability metrics in vRealize Operations 8.6!!!

VMware vSphere has played a crucial role in datacenter consolidation and thereby helping in reduction of hardware footprint in the datacenters. It enabled savings in power consumption and floor space in data centers. This improved the overall efficiency and curbed carbon emissions resulting from IT infrastructure growth.

As per VMware Global Impact Report 2020 , the customers using virtualization based on VMware vSphere avoided 1.2 Billion Metric Tonnes of Carbon emission in the year 2019 which is a huge contribution to the global initiatives for a Greener Planet and every VMware customer contributed to this.

Now the question is how can you quantify your contribution. With VMware vRealize Operations , we now give you the capability to quantify your contribution for Greener planet from virtualizing datacenter workloads.

vRealize Operations collects Power consumption metrics ( Energy in Joules and Power in watts ) for Host system and Virtual Machine Objects. These metrics can be used to calculate Power savings and CO2 emissions  with the help of one of the most powerful features of vRealize Operations – Super Metrics and Custom dashboards.

Sustainability is important for the climate and our planet and thus we built two Sustainability dashboards in vRealize Operations – Environmental Impact & Environmental Savings – with the goal of showcasing positive environmental impact of Virtualization.

Approach :
Our calculation is aimed to be very conservative. Your actual savings may be much more. We are not including the following:
• Physical buildings and land. With virtualization, you consume less foot print. This means less physical rack.
• Network equipment – Less physical servers mean less network ports. Because firewall, load balancers, IDS, IPS can be VM, you have less equipment
• Other components like UPS , Lighting , Cooling and Labour

• Power consumption of a small server (1 socket, 10 cores, 32 GB RAM) = 0.1 KW
• CO2 emission per KWh = 0.744 Kg ( Reference values from Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator )
• Cost of Power = $0.106 per KWh ( Based on contiguous US average value – Reference from VMware TCO Reference Calculator ) .
• Tree offset for CO2 Emission = 36.4 pound of carbon per tree ( Refer to https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gases-equivalencies-calculator-calculations-and-references ) which is equivalent to 36.4/2.24 Kg of carbon per tree

Now let us see how these Sustainability dashboards are built:

1. Environmental Savings Dashboard – This is meant to show “What has been saved?” .

This dashboard compares Physical vs Virtual workloads. Physical means every single VM was a physical server, though much smaller than an ESXi Host. While a small physical server draws a lot less power than ESXi, it adds up, especially over time. Here we use the simple calculation of comparing power consumption of all the physical workloads if these VMs were physical with the current power consumption from ESXi hosts.

Power Consumed before Virtualization = Number of VMs x 0.1 in KW
Power Consumed after Virtualization = Power Consumed by all ESXi hosts in KW
Monthly savings ( $) = Power Savings in a month in KWh x 0.106
Carbon Emissions before Virtualization = Power consumed in KWh before Virtualization x 0.744 Kg
Carbon Emissions after Virtualization = Power consumed in KWh after Virtualization x 0.744 Kg

2. Environmental Impact Dashboard : This is meant to show “What could be saved ?”

We identify the Idle VMs and Power savings we could achieve by powering off these VMs. It also provides CO2 emissions from these Idle VMs. While each VM only consumes a tiny amount of power (0.x – 2 Watts), collectively and over time they add up. This dashboard aggregates the number of idle VMs per cluster, so you can tell which clusters have a lot of Idle VMs.

We also provide the number of trees required to be planted to compensate CO2 emission from these Idle VMs.

CO2 emission from Idle VMs = Power Consumed by Idle VMs x 0.744 Kg
Trees required to compensate CO2 emission due to Idle VMs = CO2 emission from Idle VMs (Kg) / (36.4 x 2.22)

Are you now ready to find how much you are contributing to Greener earth ?

Follow the steps below to deploy these dashboards :

Refer to Iwan Rahabok’s blog for downloading the custom contents for Sustainability dashboards – http://virtual-red-dot.info/sustainability-dashboards/

The downloaded content will include 2 Dashboards , 3 Views and 12 Super Metrics.

Step 1 : Enable Power Metrics in vRealize Operations in the relevant Policy(s) – these metrics are not enabled by default

Tip : Filter Metrics by keyword “Power|” to get all relevant Power metrics as above and enable all of them.

Step 2 : Make sure that Power Metrics are available for ESXi hosts ( All Metrics | Power )

Step 3 : Download content from https://code.vmware.com/samples/5937/sustainability-dashboards?h=Sample , extract the download to get 3 files – Supermetrics.json , Views.zip & Dashboards.zip

Step 4 : Import Super metrics . In vRealize Operations web console  , go to Administration – Configuration – Super Metrics . Click on Import Super Metrics – import the file “Supermetrics.json” from Step 3 ( Tip – How to import Super Metrics in vRealize Operations )

Verify for 12 x Super Metrics as in the above screenshot.

Step 4 : Enable Super Metrics in the Policy(s) – Edit the relevant policy(s) and to the tab “Collect Metrics and Properties”

Tip : Filter by Attribute type “ Super Metric”

Tip : Filter by Object Type “vSphere world “ , In actions , “Select All” and “Enable” .

Repeat the above step for Object type “Cluster Compute Resource” and enabling remaining 3 Super Metrics

Step 5 : Import Views – use the file “views.zip” extracted in Step 3

Tip : Refer to vRealize Operations 7.5 documentation on instructions to import view

Step 6 : Import Dashboards – use the file “dashboards.zip” extracted in Step 3 . Refer to Importing custom dashboards in vRealize Operations 7.x

Tip : Make sure use “All Files” in the format while importing “dashboards.zip”

Tip : Import “dashboards.zip” from “Manage Dashboards” page

Step 7 : Validate Sustainability dashboards under Dashboards list – Environmental Impact & Environmental savings

Optional Steps :

1. The cost of power is calculated as $0.106 per KWh. You may update this value with custom value based on your currency . To achieve this , edit the super metric Monthly Cost Savings ($)“ :

For vRealize Operations 7.5 , edit the super metric and update the value “0.106” highlighted in the below screenshot with relevant value and save.

For vRealize Operations 7.0 or prior , edit the super metric and update the value “0.106” highlighted in the below screenshot with the relevant value , click on blue button to validate super metric and save.

Note : It might take few minutes for Super metrics to start collecting and so the dashboard will take few minutes to show the values. The Daily power consumption & CO2 emission charts in the Environmental savings dashboard will start showing data only from second day onwards and it is meant to show full month’s chart , it will need 30 days from enabling super metrics to fill up the chart for whole month.

Above dashboards were built based on the suggestions and requirements from one of my TAM Customers – a leading customer in Energy sector in the Middle East . They have several Sustainability initiatives to reduce carbon footprint and VMware vSphere was one of the key technologies which enabled them to achieve this in the datacenter. These dashboards are used to show their success with sustainability initiatives within IT and also encouraged them to expand benefits of virtualization from compute to storage and Network components also  , Thank you for contributing to these dashboards which are very useful to all VMware customers. Huge thanks to Bella Margaryan  and Arman Hovhannisyan from Product Engineering team for all the engineering calculations and guidance behind these dashboards . I would also like to thank my mentor and supporter Iwan Rahabok for his large contributions by helping to build these dashboards.

Update (Feb 2021) : I have created two more dashboards based on new requirements from various customers over last one year :

  • Green Datacenter dashboard –  Detailed information the power savings and CO2 emissions avoided by virtualization
  • Dashboard to Identify Green options to host workload – Give options for Cluster, Host or datacenter or Host model based on lowest power usage.

You may please download these dashboards from : https://code.vmware.com/samples/7547/sustainability-dashboards-to-identify-green-options-to-host-workloads-in-the-datacenter

Varghese Philipose is currently working as Staff Technical Account Manager in METNA region based in Dubai, been part of the team since 2012. He is a member of CTO Ambassador Program under Office of CTO within VMware since 2018. He is also Member of vROps Ambassador Program 2020 and also vExpert Cloud management 2020. Have been a speaker at VMworld Europe 2018 and 2019. His Certifications include VCAP-DCV 2021, VCP on Datacenter Virtualization, Network Virtualization, Cloud Management & Desktop Virtualization, vExpert (2019- 2021 ), vRealize Operations Specialist 2019 & Cloud Services Provider Specialist 2019. He is very passionate about working on vRealize Operations and leads an internal program to drive adoption and value-realization with vRealize Operations among TAM customers in EMEA. Being recognized as a specialist on vRealize operations, he has delivered several workshops and sessions for customers in APJ & EMEA along with Product Management team.


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