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So, you’re thinking about leveraging VMware Cloud on AWS (or maybe you’re already there). You might be retiring old HW in your datacenter, maybe expanding your dev-ops needs, or even hosting some of your business critical apps. Regardless of your reason to adopt a hybrid cloud, you’re starting to wonder how you are going to manage this new environment.

  • How do you manage the performance or your hybrid apps?
  • How do you ensure capacity and manage costs?
  • How do I troubleshoot outages if/when they occur?
  • What about my compliance concerns for my workloads?

Fortunately vRealize Operations is the easy answer to these types of hybrid cloud management needs. It treats VMware Cloud on AWS as a first class companion and, powered by AI/ML, employs a 4 pillar approach to hybrid cloud management as shown below.

  • Continuous Performance Optimization
  • Efficient Capacity and Cost Management
  • Intelligent Remediation
  • Integrated Configuration and Compliance

These 4 pillars even show up on the start screen to help you navigate fast to the items you wish to manage.

This technical blog discusses the 4 pillars of hybrid cloud management, how vRealize Operations can help deliver those and even gives you some links to deploying it when you are ready. Let’s jump in!

Workload Optimization

The ability to meet your specific hybrid cloud business needs is paramount to your success. To that end, vRealize Operations Workload Optimization provides a self-driving component to your new VMware Cloud on AWS datacenter. The idea behind a self-driving datacenter is you just define your business and operational intent and then “take your hands off the wheel” and let vRealize Operations drive. It will monitor the environment and, when the datacenter deviates from your desired needs, it will quickly bring it back to a desired state all while honoring your intent.

Workload optimization works closely with DRS to ensure applications have the resources they need. Under its watch, VMs will be moved to other clusters within the same datacenter (or custom datacenter) to meet your performance, operational and business intent you have defined.

What is Operational and Business Intent

Operational and business intent is about helping you to meet your VMware Cloud on AWS needs. First you need to ask yourself, “What are you trying to do in your hybrid cloud?”. Are you expanding to meet dev-ops needs? Are you moving some of your tier 2 applications to retire older HW back in your private datacenter? Will there be any business critical apps running there? Based on the answers to these questions you can set up your operational and business intent. Examples of operational and business intent can include one or more of these examples:

  • Assure the best application performance
  • Drive license enforcement
  • Meet compliance goals
  • Save money on infrastructure costs
  • Implement SLA tiering
  • And more!

Setting up you Operational and Business Intent

Setting up your operation and business intent is very easy and can be done in 3 simple steps. In the first step, you need to determine your target utilization objective for the datacenter.  If application performance is your top concern then you spread workloads evenly over the available resources by choosing Balance.  If instead you are looking to place workloads into as few clusters as possible, lower your cost per VM and possibly repurpose/retire some hosts chose Consolidate.

In the second step, you need to configure the percentage of headroom.  Headroom allows you to choose how much risk is acceptable in a cluster.  It provides a percent buffer of CPU, memory and disk space and reduces the risk from bursts or unexpected demand spikes.  In a production environment it is not uncommon to have a 20% Headroom buffer.

Finally, you need to determine how your business needs should drive VM placement across the clusters.  vRealize Operations does this by leveraging and honoring vCenter tags.  With vCenter tags you can define what VMs should be placed on what cluster.  Simply tag the cluster(s) and the VM with the same tag and viola…Workload Optimization will make sure that workload is placed on that cluster(s).  One of the most common use cases for this feature is SLA tiering to ensure your most critical applications have access to the resources they need. In this example you simply tag specific workloads and clusters as either Gold (Tier 1) or Silver (Tier 2). Then when making move decisions vRealize Operations will ensure the Gold (Tier 1) applications are given preferential access to the clusters with the most available resources.

VSAN Aware Workload Optimization

It is important to understand VSAN, the storage layer of VMware Cloud on AWS, when moving workloads between clusters. vRealize Operations supports moving workloads within a VSAN storage based datacenter in 3 key ways.

Resync Aware

vRealize Operations understands the underlying mechanics of VSAN (e.g. VSAN resyncs) and will not generate a workload optimization plan if any vSAN clusters are currently running a resynchronization, in order to not get in the way during this time. Simple.

Respects Slack Space

Being a distributed storage solution vSAN needs free space (aka slack space) to perform certain actions that are transparent to the user. vRealize Operations is aware of this need and will not make any workload optimizations recommendations that may infringe on the slack space requirements of vSAN.

Honors Storage Policy

Storage Policies are an incredibly powerful tool that allow you to define storage protection and performance requirements using a set of rules, that are applied prescriptively to VMs and VMDKs. vRealize Workload Optimization leverages vCenter and Storage vMotion to verify the target location will properly support the storage policies before making any moves.

Automate it!

vRealize Operations 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.

Summary

Workload Optimization needs to be one of the pillars of your VMware Cloud on AWS management strategy. Fortunately, workload optimization is a main pillar of vRealize Operations, making driving your operational and business intent easy!

For more information on Workload Optimization in vRealize Operations check out this technical blog Start Running a Self-Driving Datacenter – vRealize Operations Workload Optimization!

Efficient Capacity and Cost Management

Capacity Planning

Capacity planning for VMware Cloud on AWS works the same way it does for your on-premises vSphere clusters. As you can see below, SDDC-Datacenter is just one of many datacenters managed by vRealize Operations.

You can even track capacity remaining and VMs remaining. Pay special attention to the High Availability column, which was added in vRealize Operations to help quantify how much of a cluster’s resources are reserved for HA based on admission control.

Reclaim

Now that you know how much capacity you have remaining, you might be wondering how you can reclaim capacity. Good news is that vRealize Operations has got you covered here too. You can see which VMs are identified as reclaimable, which, if addressed, can free up capacity to run additional workloads the provide business value. The system automatically identifies powered off and idle VMs, VMs with old snapshots, and orphaned disks.

Migration Assessments

Making the decision to migrate to VMware Cloud on AWS is often the first step you’ll encounter. With vRealize Operations, you can use the Migration Planning: Public Cloud What-If scenario to help make that decision. With the What-If scenario, you can determine how many hosts will be needed and the potential cost of a new VMware Cloud on AWS environment based on existing VMs in your environment or for net new VMs that will be provisioned for the first time in VMware Cloud on AWS.

Cost Management

The Management Pack for VMware Cloud on AWS allows you to monitor the cost of your VMware Cloud on AWS environment by collecting bills from the Cloud Services portal. The management pack allows you to track your outstanding expenses, year to date costs, as well as the cost for your subscriptions, on-demand hosts, network egress charges, and purchase history.

The Management Pack for VMware Cloud on AWS is available for download on Solutions Exchange and requires a refresh token that you can generate in your Cloud Services portal.

Intelligent Remediation

To troubleshoot your VMware Cloud on AWS environment, you get to take advantage of the existing dashboards and alerts delivered out of the box for vCenter. One of the most exciting features in vRealize Operations 8.0 is the new Troubleshooting Workbench powered by AI/ML. Check the blog post by John Dias, vRealize Operations Troubleshooting Powered by Machine Learning, to see it in action and why you need to be using the Troubleshooting Workbench.

Some customers have asked for VMware Cloud on AWS specific dashboards, so Sunny Dua has published some excellent dashboards at vRealize Operations dashboards to monitor VMware Cloud on AWS which, I encourage you to check out in your environment.

Integrated Configuration and Compliance

For the Integrated Compliance pillar, we now have support for monitoring compliance for vSAN and NSX-T out of the box. Compliance even supports VMware Cloud on AWS, which includes vSAN and NSX-T as well.

Deployment and Configuration Details

Deployment

Monitoring a VMware Cloud on AWS environment starts with reviewing your deployment architecture. Depending on whether you’re using an existing vRealize Operations instance or deploying a new instance, it’s recommended to review the architecture options described in Operate VMware Cloud on AWS using vRealize Operations.

Configuration

With the release of vRealize Operations, vCenter Servers are managed as Cloud Accounts, which is consistent with the way vCenter is managed in vRealize Automation. To add a VMware Cloud on AWS vCenter:

  1. Add a vCenter Cloud Account
  2. Select vCenter Account Type
  3. Enter the vCenter server name and credentials
  4. Set the Cloud Type under Advanced Settings to VMware Cloud on AWS
  5. Enable the vSAN checkbox on the vSAN tab

Making the transition to VMware Cloud on AWS doesn’t have to be painful or time consuming if you have the right management tools in place to make it easy, and vRealize Operations is all about making things “easier on you”! A great way to learn more is to download a trial of vRealize Operations and try it in your own environment! You can find more demos and videos on vrealize.vmware.com. Be sure to stay tuned here as we will have even more blogs about vRealize Operations coming soon.