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On a recent call with a customer, I was asked for help showing the value of vRealize Operations from a financial perspective. Cost management has been a native feature within vRealize Operations since the 6.7 release, but the costs needed to show the Return on Investment (ROI) are available in multiple locations. Potential cost savings from reclamation are shown on the Reclaim page for reclaiming idle VMs, powered off VMs, VM snapshots, and orphaned disks. I created a custom dashboard for Rightsizing VMs with vRealize Operations which shows how to use rightsizing recommendations and super metrics to calculate the potential cost savings or increase for rightsizing VMs. Lastly, I created a Reclaimable Hosts Dashboard which uses the Total Recommended Capacity for a cluster as determined by the AI powered capacity engine to identify the number of hosts that can be removed from a cluster and still have adequate capacity (including HA). The customer asked for help consolidating these costs along with their total cost of ownership.

That’s where the ROI dashboard was born. I have gone through many iterations since the initial version and I have since shown this to many customers. The dashboard covers total cost of ownership, potential savings, and optimization costs. It has cost breakdown by cost drivers, capacity used, and datacenter as well as tracking for server depreciation. As you can see the dashboard is fairly long, but it’s designed to be shared with users that may not have access to vRealize Operations, and having a single URL helps keep things simple. I included inline documentation in the dashboard, and I’ll break down each section of the dashboard below.

Total Cost of Ownership

Total Cost of Ownership is the monthly cost of server hardware, licenses, maintenance, facilities, labor, network, storage, and additional costs.

Potential Savings covers the cost savings opportunities identified by vRealize Operations.

Optimization Opportunities covers the projected costs to improve performance as identified by vRealize Operations. While this represents an increase to cost, it can be offset by the potential savings.

Total Cost of Ownership with Potential Savings and Optimization Opportunities is the projected Total Cost of Ownership if all Potential Savings and Optimization Opportunities are realized.

Potential Savings and Optimization Opportunities (%) is ratio of Potential Savings and Optimization Opportunities with the Total Cost of Ownership.

Use the Total Cost of Ownership chart to track the progress of your savings over time.

Additional Resources:

Average Cost per VM

Average Cost per VM is the Total Cost of Ownership / Total Number of VMs. Average Cost per VM is a good indicator of cost efficiency over time. It’s natural for the cost per VM to go up when new capacity is added and trend downwards as the additional capacity is consumed. The goal is to reduce the average cost per VM over time.

Total Cost of Ownership Breakdown

The Total Cost of Ownership Breakdown section allows viewing the total cost of ownership by cost drivers, capacity used, and datacenter. These breakdowns should help you identify the factors that contribute to infrastructure costs.

Cost Driver Breakdown

Total Cost of Ownership broken down by the individual Cost Drivers.

Improve the accuracy of these costs by editing Cost Drivers at Administration / Configuration / Cost Settings / Cost Drivers. Documentation for editing Cost Drivers is available here. Cost Drivers that are not customized use reference cost.

Note: Advanced or Enterprise edition is required to customize Cost Drivers.

This diagram is included in the dashboard to show how the cost drivers feed into host, cluster, datastore, datacenter, and VM costs.

Cost of Capacity Used vs. Remaining

View the Total Cost of Ownership broken down by the cost of capacity used and the cost of capacity remaining.

Cost of Compute Capacity Used is the portion of the compute costs that are accounted for in the compute cost of existing VMs.

Cost of Compute Capacity Remaining covers the remaining compute costs not used by existing VMs.

Cost of Storage Capacity Used is the portion of the storage costs that are accounted for in the storage cost of existing VMs.

Cost of Storage Capacity Remaining covers the remaining storage costs not used by existing VMs.

VM Direct Costs apply only to VMs themselves and are not reliant on compute or storage costs.

Cost per Datacenter

View the Total Cost of Ownership broken down by datacenter. Identify potential outliers for further investigation.

Server Hardware Depreciation

Depreciation is automatically calculated by vRealize Operations for server hardware marked as owned in Cost Drivers at Administration / Configuration / Cost Settings / Cost Drivers. Configure depreciation in Financial Accounting Model settings to align with business requirements.

Server Purchase Cost is the total purchase price of all servers as entered in Cost Drivers at Administration / Configuration / Cost Settings / Cost Drivers.

Accumulated Depreciation is the amount of server purchase costs that have been depreciated according to purchase date and depreciation settings.

Remaining Depreciation is the amount of server purchase costs left to be depreciated.

Number of Fully Depreciated Servers identifies servers that have been fully depreciated. These servers may exhibit higher failure rates or have lower capacity. Use What-If scenarios to model the cost and capacity impact of replacing these servers.

Note: Costs for leased servers are visible in the Cost Driver Breakdown section above.

Cost Savings Breakdown

Potential Savings covers the cost savings opportunities identified by vRealize Operations.

Reclaimable Capacity shows the amount of capacity that can be recovered per reclamation type. More details are available on the Reclaim page.

Allocation Changes for Oversized VMs shows the number of vCPUs and GB of memory to remove from oversized VMs. More details are available on the Rightsizing page and VM Rightsizing Details dashboard.

Optimization Opportunities Breakdown

Optimization Opportunities covers the projected costs to improve performance as identified by vRealize Operations.

Allocation Changes for Undersized VMs shows the number of vCPUs and GB of memory to add to undersized VMs. More details are available on the Rightsizing page and VM Rightsizing Details dashboard.

Installing the Dashboard

As stated above, the ROI dashboard builds on top of other dashboards that I’ve created. To install the ROI dashboard, you’ll need to install all 4 of these dashboards. Each dashboard has installation instructions to guide you through the process.

Share the Dashboard

Now that you have the dashboard installed, you can share it with others by clicking on the share icon as indicated with a red arrow.

Select URL sharing, set the expiration, copy the link, and send it to the people interested in your infrastructure costs.

A video walkthrough of the dashboard is also available here.

I hope this dashboard gives you better insight into your infrastructure costs and the potential savings that you can achieve with vRealize Operations. Be sure to stay tuned here as we’ll have even more blogs about vRealize Operations. If you don’t have vRealize Operations today, be sure to download a trial of vRealize Operations and try this dashboard in your own environment! You can find more demos and videos on vrealize.vmware.com.