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vRealize Network Insight has been bridging the gaps between networking, security, and infrastructure admins for a while now. By bringing configuration & operational information into one interface, so that all teams can see the same networking data and talk the same language. With vRealize Network Insight 5.2 (vRNI) and vRealize Operations 8.1 (vROps) – we’ve taken this one step further.

Introducing the vRealize Operations Management Pack for vRealize Network Insight

Wow, that’s a mouthful, right? But it’s worth it! This Management Pack is the first step of integrating the networking data from vRNI, directly into vROps. There are a few important features of this management pack:

  • Triggered vRNI events will stream into vROps
  • Single sign-on between vROps and vRNI (when using Workspace ONE Access (vIDM) for authentication)
  • Launch in context to vRNI straight from vROps

Events coming from vRNI will be associated with any shared object directly, or with a new catchall object called vRNI-Others. These shared objects make this integration extremely useful, as vRNI events will start to show up on their vROps dashboard, or when you’re troubleshooting this object, using the Troubleshooting Workbench. To make this more concrete: shared objects can be VMs, Hosts, or NSX entities (Edge, Manager, etc.).

These shared objects also mean that the vRNI MP is dependent on vROps having the NSX Management Packs installed and configured to monitor the same NSX Managers as vRNI is monitoring. The Management Pack for NSX-T is built-in to vROps and the Management Pack for NSX for vSphere can be downloaded from the VMware Solutions Exchange.


Figure 1 – Incoming vRNI events with some shared objects, some vRNI-Others

How does it work?

The release of vRNI 5.2 and vROps 8.1 brought some new API functionality that the Management Pack uses to relay information. This is why vRNI 5.2 and vROps 8.1 are required before this Management Pack (MP) will work. When the MP is set up, vROps will start polling vRNI for triggered events and pull them in. When a new event is found, vROps will try to associate it with a shared object. If it doesn’t find a shared object, it’ll link it with vRNI-Others. Any incoming event is also prefixed with vRNI-, to make it obvious the alert is coming from vRNI.

To determine these shared objects, vROps polls the inventory of vRNI and compares it with the inventory coming from the vROps NSX Management Pack.

Launching in Context

From the VM, Host, or NSX entity dashboards within vROps, it’s now possible to launch into vRNI in the context of the object you’re looking at in vROps. On each VM, Host, or NSX entity, you will see an Open xxx in vRealize Network Insight action, which will open a new browser tab to show the same object in the vRNI dashboard.

Figure 2 & 3 – Left: vROps on a VM dashboard, showing the launch in context actions. Right: vRNI on the same VM dashboard

 

Virtual Machines have another action available, called Open Traffic Details in vRealize Network Insight. This is a unique action, which takes you to a search within vRNI that will display all network traffic flows of that VM. An easy way to dive deep into the actual network traffic of a specific VM, useful for when the VM is showing network flow issues.

Getting Started

First, download the vRealize Operations Management Pack for vRealize Network Insight from the VMware Solutions Exchange and install it into vROps. After the installation is complete, vRNI can be added via the Other Accounts in vROps. Here are the steps:

  1. Add vRealize Network Insight Adapter in Solutions -> Other Accounts,
  2. Give the adapter a friendly name, description, provide the vRNI IP address or hostname via which vROps can connect to it,
  3. Add a credential to connect to vRNI. This can be a vRNI local user, LDAP, or a Workspace ONE Access/vIDM credential,
  4. Then, select the vROps collector group, which will be collecting data from vRNI and click validate connection,
  5. If the connection is successful, you will get a popup verifying the SSL thumbprint, which you can accept,
  6. Lastly, click the Add button, and vROps will start collecting data from vRNI!


Figure 4 – Configuration steps

If you’re wondering where the vRNI Cloud credential option is, connecting vRNI Cloud is currently only possible with vROps Cloud. The on-premises version of vROps can only connect to the on-premises version of vRNI.

When the adapter is configured, you should see events coming in within 10 minutes (assuming there are open events in vRNI).

Troubleshooting Demo

Let’s have a look at a couple of demo scenarios that will show you how to use this management pack and how data from vRNI helps vROps admins to troubleshoot VMs, and also seamlessly transition between vROps and vRNI for a closer look at specific networking information.

You can take advantage of this integration today by upgrading to VMware vRealize Network Insight 5.2 or a trial VMware vRealize Network Insight Cloud. If you don’t have vRealize Operations today, be sure 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.