vRealize Operations Cloud Management Platform vRealize Operations Cloud

What’s New in vRealize Operations 8.4 and Cloud

It has only been since February that we launched vRealize Operations 8.3 and yet we have another great release packed full of features ready to launch! Today, vRealize Operations and vRealize Operations Cloud 8.4 has come out in all its glory and splendor!  

We have made many great strides in the areas of application monitoring, alerting, capacity management, cost management, usability, and scheduled actions. vROps automation?!  Yes, you read that right, but more on that later. One of the biggest areas we have put effort into is a new set of costing dashboards. These will help greatly when it comes to showback, ROI (Return On Investment), and TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). In capacity management, there are new “what-if” scenarios that can be run. Around alerts, we have made improvements in outbound notification plugins and payload customization. We can’t wait to tell you all about the newest details around this launch.  Here are a few highlights from the latest release. 

Service, Process & Application Monitoring 

vRealize Operations now can monitor the availability of your processes, services, and applications!  

vRealize Operations Advanced, Enterprise, or Cloud customers can leverage the vRealize Operations Telegraf agent to monitor the availability of multiple Linux processes and Windows services. Plus, vRealize Operations Enterprise or Cloud customers can monitor the availability of their monitored applications.  

Linux process monitoring can be configured to evaluate processes based on name, PID file, or via regular expressions for cases where processes may have a unique naming scheme. While Windows services are configured via the service name. Once vRealize Operations is monitoring these processes and services, it will begin collecting not only its status or running state, but also basic utilization metrics such as CPU and Memory Usage. vRealize Operations can also alert you when a service or process goes down using the out of the box alert definitions. 

vRealize Operations supports native monitoring of nearly 30 applications using the vRealize Operations Telegraf Agent. If you’re using this to monitor your applications today, then you’ll be thrilled to know that we’ve added application availability monitoring with the latest agent. The new application availability metric can be used for dashboards, generating alerts, and of course troubleshooting. This works out of the box for most applications but do check out the documentation first as there may be additional requirements for some applications. 

Users of the agent-less Service Discovery feature will be happy to know that we’re also able to collect the status of these services. Enabling Service Monitoring will begin checking the running state of each discovered service and display it as a property. This new feature works for both credential-based Service Discovery and the new credential-less Service Discovery.  

Open-Source Telegraf Agent 

Another exciting new offering in the world of application monitoring is the ability to BYOB (bring your own binaries). Unlike the vRealize Operations Telegraf Agent, which is managed by vRealize Operations, the Open Source Telegraf is one that you download and install yourself. The benefit here is that you can leverage hundreds of input plugins available to monitor various applications and infrastructure to monitor within vRealize Operations Cloud. Or even create your own! 

One the Open Source Telegraf agent is installed, getting your metrics into vRealize Operations Cloud is made easy with an installation script for Linux and Windows systems. This script will not only configure the output plugin for Telegraf but will also configure the relationships within vRealize Operations so that you’ll get full app to infrastructure visibility. Getting data into vRealize Operations couldn’t be easier! 

VMware Cloud on AWS Enhancements 

Summary pages for VMware Cloud on AWS Orgs and SDDCs are enriched with relevant details including inventory overviews, configuration maximums status, topology, capacity and billing information. More on that last item next, but here is a screenshot of the new Org summary tab. 

As of version vRealize Operations 8.1, VMware Cloud on AWS Cloud Accounts collected Cloud Service bills to track costing for your SDDCs. With this release, we have added improvements that provide you with VMware Cloud on AWS cluster and VM costs based on bills. This allows for Workload Planning What-If scenarios to be based on your actual billing costs. Additionally, you can track VMware Cloud on AWS reclamation cost savings.  

A new dashboard has been added for VMC Cost Overview and you can now create showback dashboards and reports for VMware Cloud on AWS clusters and VMs (or just use the out-of-the-box VM Cost Showback dashboard). Overall this provides more granular costing for VMware Cloud on AWS SDDCs. 

New Costing Enhancements 

New Cost Optimization Dashboards 

For the business minded users, we’re introducing five new cost optimization dashboards. These dashboards include an inside view of your total cost of ownership broken down by items such as monthly hardware costs, facilities and labor, storage, licensing, and a whole lot more. Plus, you’ll get a breakdown of not only the cost of your consumed resources, but also the cost of your unused resources so you can keep tabs on how much money you’re leaving on the table.  

Want to be a superhero and show how much you’ve saved the company this month? Check out the awesome new Return on Investment and Realized Cost dashboards. Go ahead, show these to your leadership, we’ll wait. Not only do these dashboards show how much you’ve saved the organization by deleting snapshots, reclaiming unused VM’s and resources, but also how much more you could be saving by continuing these activities. And with new features like Automation Central it couldn’t be easier. Whoops! We might have let the cat out of the bag. Never mind, let’s talk more about the costing enhancements before we get to that. 

And finally, before we get to Automation Central (we’re excited to talk about that, can’t you tell?) we’ve got to tell you about the five new cost related dashboards. These make easy work of understanding things like server depreciation. How much depreciation have you accumulated and how much is remaining? You can also look at it per-server. How many more months do I have before a particular server has depreciated? Or do I have servers that are already fully depreciated? If you’re currently doing chargeback or just curious, there’s a dashboard to help you understand your costs vs what you’re charging your consumers and making sure you don’t go in the red. 

On the consumer side, we’ve included show back dashboards for virtual machines AND vSphere pods. Users can break down their month to date and projected monthly costs by department, application, or at the individual VM or pod level. 

Automation Central 

vRealize Operations customers have been asking for a way to schedule actions and in version 8.4 we delivered, and we hope you are as excited as we are! 

Totally not staged picture of John Dias upon hearing that we were delivering scheduled actions in vRealize Operations 8.4

In short, you can now schedule the following virtual machine actions as one-time or recurring jobs: 

  • Delete old snapshots 
  • Delete idle VMs 
  • Power off VMs 
  • Downsize oversized VMs 
  • Scale-up undersized VMs 
  • Reboot VMs 

These actions can be scheduled from the new Automation Central page or from the Rightsizing and Reclaim pages. From Automation Central you can create and manage jobs, view all jobs in a calendar or list, get reclamation and resizing reports, and view job history details. 

Automation Central page in vRealize Operations 8.4

Creating a new job is a simple three-step process of selecting the action desired along with setting action options (e.g., snapshot age or downsizing limitations), setting the scope for the job (i.e., which VMs will be acted upon), and setting the schedule.  

Creating a scheduled job in Automation Central in vRealize Operations 8.4

Job details show how much vRealize Operations expects to reclaim and the job history provides details on what was resized, deleted, rebooted, etc.  

In the Rightsizing or Reclaim pages, you can create one-time jobs by selecting one or more virtual machines from any of the lists (Oversized VMs, Undersized VMs, etc). By the way, note the email option in the creation pop-up which allows you to get the results of any job without logging into vRealize Operations (or sending the report to your boss so they can be delighted). 

Creating a scheduled job in vRealize Operations 8.4 from the Rightsizing page.

Short lived VM’s 

Just because a virtual machine or vSphere Pod was spun up for less than a day doesn’t mean there isn’t a cost associated with it. vRealize Operations is now able to calculate the cost of VM’s and vSphere Pods running for as little as five minutes. Deleted objects will retain their cost metrics and can be used in showback/chargeback scenarios. Plus, this cost will appear in the corresponding project if it was deployed with vRealize Automation. 

Alert Payload Customization 

Outbound webhooks are now fully supported in vRealize Operations 8.4 as an alerting method. Simply create your json payload based on the metrics you want to be alerted on, and vRealize Operations will send an alert to your preferred monitoring or collaboration software. 

Once an alert is fired off, if configured, the webhook will send the alert, and any extra metrics or fields you define, to your destination.  

From here we can have our ops teams respond as needed, and when the alert is cleared or canceled in vRealize Operations, the webhook will send a message informing us of the state change.  

Extended Support for Hyperscaler Monitoring 

Native monitoring capability for Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure got a big improvement in coverage for services from both public cloud providers.  The vRealize Operations coverage for AWS added monitoring for 33 new services for a total of 57 out-of-the-box services. This includes an impressive 99 object types. Likewise, Azure coverage increased from 17 to 49 services with a total of 59 object types for coverage of related subservices. 

An example relationship view of AWS services in vRealize Operations 8.4.

The adapter framework was reworked to provide service discovery using native namespaces and an updated service topology which provides a better relationship model. In addition, integration with AWS CloudWatch and Azure Monitor means that any services monitored by those native tools can be monitored by vRealize Operations including custom metrics. 

We will continue to expand our coverage of public cloud services using this revised adapter in upcoming releases of vRealize Operations. 

REST API Changes 

Some welcomed additions to the public REST APIs include Policy Management (get, apply, export and import) and Pricing Rate Cards (get, create, update, delete and get history of changes). As always, you can find these new APIs in the Swagger documentation on any vRealize Operations virtual appliance or in your vRealize Operations Cloud instance.  

Expanded Support for VMware Cloud 

With a solid foundation and enhancements in managing VMware Cloud on AWS, we now have support for two more VMware Clouds; Azure VMware Solution and Google Cloud VMware Engine. These solutions are officially supported in vRealize Operations 8.4 and vRealize Cloud  by simply configuring Cloud Accounts for vCenter, vSAN and NSX-T. Service Discovery is also supported for these solutions. Deploying Cloud Proxies to the VMware Cloud SDDCs is recommended, as is a VPN connection or the associated providers direct network connection offering (Azure ExpressRoute or Google Cloud Interconnect). 

Azure VMware Solution monitored by vRealize Operations 8.4 and vRealize Operations Cloud.

There are some limitations to be aware of in this initial release, regarding costing, compliance alerts and other items. Be sure to check the vRealize Operations product documentation to learn more and review the requirements and recommended vRealize Operations architecture. 

As you can see, this update has quite a few great features that will put a few more arrows in your quiver.  Keep an eye on our Youtube Channel and vrealize.vmware.com for more updates. Of course, don’t forget to check the release notes for even more highlights from this release. For more information and to get your hands on a free trial of vRealize Operations and vRealize Operations Cloud check out the product pages linked here. 


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