vRealize Operations Cloud Management Platform vRealize

vRealize Operations and the Federation Management Pack – Use Cases from the Field

The Federation Management Pack for vRealize Operations, available via the VMware Solution Exchange helps our customers to unify their multi-site vRealize Operations Manager deployments into a single pane of glass. Multi-site means in the context of the Federation Management Pack, running multiple vRealize Operations instances managing multiple SDDC sites. The following diagram depicts a typical environment for the deployment of the Federation Management Pack.

Logical Architecture of the vRealize Operations Federation Management Pack for ACME Corp.

As described in our official documentation, these are the main use cases supported by the Federation MP:

  • Provide a summary of performance, capacity, and configuration to Senior Executives and Virtual Infrastructure Administrators across all your vSphere environments.
  • Provide a unified view of events triggered across the virtual environments into a single pane for making it easier for NOC or Helpdesk to initiate action.
  • Ability to create a data warehouse where user selected set of metrics can be stored for data archiving and report use cases.
  • Ability to provide summarized views of health and configuration of your Software Defined data center stack. This includes core applications such as VMware vCenter Server, VMware NSX, and VMware vSAN. The solution also covers the management applications such as vRealize Operations, vRealize Log Insight, vRealize Automation, vRealize Business, and VMware Site Recovery Manager.

All those use cases are possible primarily by the capability of receiving key metrics for specified objects from other vRealize Operations deployments in your environment.

In this blog post I will present how some of the general use cases materialize in real world scenarios implemented in the field for our customers.

Note: “Management Pack” and “Solution” are different terms describing add-on extensibility for vRealize Operations.

Single pane of glass for executives

The most prominent use case is:

  • Provide a summary of performance, capacity, and configuration to Senior Executives and Virtual Infrastructure Administrators across all your vSphere environments.

Collecting KPIs across multiple vRealize Operations instances and aggregating them into unified reports for Senior Executives and Virtual Infrastructure Administrators can be time consuming and error prone when done manually.

The Federation Management Pack for vRealize Operations is collecting metrics and properties, giving the SDDC Administrators a central point for creating and distributing dashboards and reports. A central vRealize Operations instance which aggregates KPIs coming from distributed vRealize Operations instances across the environment decreases management overhead and time to value.

In a real-world scenario several of our global customers are running multiple VMware Cloud Foundation instances to provide SDDC infrastructure to their own customers. Every single VCF deployment is managed by its own vRealize Operations instance.

vRealize Operations Federation MP as “Single Pane of Glass”

The “Central Management” vRealize Operations instance is entirely dedicated to run the Federation MP, as described in the official documentation no other Management Packs should run on the Federation instance.

The Federation Management Pack brings in its own object types and delivers Out-Of-the-Box dashboards and views based on its own object types.

Federation Management Pack Content

As an example of the available dashboards, the “Capacity Summary” dashboard gives the SDDC managers a comprehensive view of their KPIs.

Federation Management Pack – Capacity Summary Dashboard

Any new custom content needs to be based on the object types provided by the Federation Management Pack. Existing Dashboards, Views etc. created for vCenter objects need to be adopted to process Federation MP information.

Data Warehouse Enabling Intelligent Automation

Another interesting use case is to provide a centralized “data lake” for SDDC automation. The automation layer will use the aggregated data to make sophisticated decisions as part of the automation workflows.

Let us consider an automated provisioning of applications which have various demands and multiple VCF deployments providing distinct capabilities and capacity as targets for the provisioned workloads.

The first stage of the automation would consume the aggregated data through vRealize Operations Federation Management Pack and make the “global” decision. The second stage would use the “local” data provided by vRealize Operations instances running inside single VCF instances to make the final decision where to place the requested VMs which comprise a particular application.

vRealize Operations Federation as Data Lake supporting SDDC Automation

Configuration of the Federation MP

The installation of the Federation Management Pack follows the same procedure as any other Management Pack. After the solution has been installed, the corresponding adapter instances (one instance per every vRealize Operations instance which needs to be federated) have to be configured. In vRealize Operations 8.0 and higher the adapter instances show up under “Solutions – Other Accounts” on the “Administration” tab.

The configuration of a Federation adapter instance is pretty simple. After defining the FQDN or IP of the vRealize Operations host from which we want to pull metrics and properties, we need to specify which actual object types, metrics and properties we want to collect. This configuration is being done using an XML-formatted Metric Configuration.

Configuration of a adapter instance

The Metric Configuration describes in a “top-down” fashion what the specific adapter instance should collect. Generally, the Federation Management Pack is capable of collecting metrics and properties for any object types provided by any Management Pack available in the targeted vRealize Operations instance. The Federation Management Packs is not limited to vCenter objects.

The following figure depicts a configuration, which is correct from the syntax point of view but introduces some limitations.

Not optimal Metric Configuration

Using the above configuration, the vRealize Operations Federation solution will collect the described data, in this example Cluster Compute Resource metrics and properties.

Federation Solution collecting configured object types, properties and metrics

Although this configuration is technically correct, it is not optimal. Every Management Pack describes so called “Traversal Specifications”. The Federation solution describes his own Traversal Specs in the same way the vCenter solution describes it. Those specifications tell vRealize Operations how to present the collected object in a tree view on the “Environment” tab. Because we specified only the Cluster Compute Resource, omitting all other object types in the vCenter traversal specification, the environment view cannot be displayed correctly as seen in the following picture. Please keep in mind that the vCenter Solution is part of every vRealize Operations deployment even if there are no adapter instances configured.

Missing Environment View due to incomplete Metric Configuration

That means, if we want or need to have the traversal trees being displayed correctly in the Environment tab, we will need the Metric Configuration to include all components down to the last object in the tree we are collecting data for. In our example we need to specify all objects down the path to the Cluster Compute Resource.

Complete Metric Configuration

This Metric Configuration will give you the correct view in the Environment tab.

Environment View including the correct object tree

Collecting arbitrary objects

As stated, the Federation Management Pack is capable of collecting information not only specified by the vCenter Adapter but also from any other Management Packs. In fact, the sample configuration delivered by the solution contains a comprehensive list of objects including metrics and properties provided by the majority of VMware vRealize Operations solutions.

In addition to that any other objects, like for example objects collected by Blue Medora solutions can be aggregated using the Federation Management Pack.

The following pictures show the configuration and the collected objects for the Blue Medora Management Pack for MS SQL.

Metric Configuration for Bluemedora MS SQL Solution
Collected Objects and Metrics for Bluemedora MS SQL Solution

With these capabilities the Federation Management Pack for vRealize Operations is the perfect solution for aggregating any data coming from multiple vRealize Operations instances into a single pane of glass providing centralized access to SDDC data.

Additional information

Every object in the Federation instance has a link to the original resource in the “federated” vRealize Operations instance.

Link to the original resource

The Federation solution brings in his own alerts in the “Alerts” tab. “Federation Alerts” provides an aggregated view of alerts collected from the configured vRealize Operations instances.

Alerts and Federation Alerts


The Federation Management Pack for vRealize Operations is the perfect solution to aggregate, analyze and present information collected from multiple vRealize Operations instances.

The simple configuration and the wide range of features and capabilities provided by the vRealize Operations platform enable the SDDC operations teams to quickly deliver a comprehensive overview to the management level. It also build a foundation to support automated processes with needed data.

Try the Federation Management Pack for yourself and if you are new to vRealize Operations, and see how it can make your SDDC run smoothly.


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