A Look Inside the vRealize Operations Export Tool, VMware’s Latest Open Source Fling
We sat down with Principal System Engineer Pontus Rydin to discuss his open source project: the VMware vRealize Operations Export Tool. Pontus focuses on VMware’s global accounts and specializes in vRealize and other management products. Read on for his expert insights.
What was your inspiration for the vRealize Operations Export Tool?
The inspiration was that, over and over again, we would get requests to export data from vRealize Operations (vROps) and we could only come up with one-off, clunky solutions. Sometimes, we simply said we just couldn’t do it. I knew there was an API for getting data out of vROps, so I figured, why don’t I write a tool that acts like a kind of Swiss Army knife for exporting data from vROps?
Can you explain how the tool works?
The vROps Export Tool is a command line tool that takes some basic parameters and a definition file that describes what you want to output. You then point it toward your vROps, and it gathers big chunks of data in multiple threads. Then, it is exported into the format you selected. The data is mostly metrics and time series data, but the tool can also capture properties like AlwaysOn versions, CPU versions, hardware information and other types of similar data.
What formats can the tool export your data into?
Your data can be exported into one of a few formats. The initial format was common separated files (CSV), which is very useful because you can put it into Excel easily. We then decided to add support for putting data straight into a SQL database, and we just incorporated native support for Wavefront by VMware.
What types of users did you have in mind when designing this tool?
The vROps Export Tool is for everyone who has valuable monitoring data inside of vROps and who wants to export it to further process their data.
Can you discuss a couple of use cases?
I can give you a few real-world examples of where we’re using this.
We have one financial customer who exports their data into a sophisticated proprietary analytic system. In this environment, they perform tasks like correlating performance of their virtual machines (VMs) to how their mutual funds are performing because of their high-frequency trading. What they learned was that there is a correlation between the response times of their VMs and how the funds are performing. This is a perfect example of taking data from vROps and then exporting said data to an environment where they can further analyze it.
Another use case is archiving. Users might not want data to sit in vROps forever, but they need to have it somewhere for audit purposes. They can use this tool to export it to some external auditing database in order to keep accurate records.
Why did you decide to open source the vROps Export Tool?
The first reason was personal. I enjoy working with open source! I like the way the model works in that you can take on contributors very easily, because there’s basically no onboarding process. Anybody who wants to contribute can do so.
The other reason is that many customers will have specific requirements I might not be able to accommodate, because I have been working on this in my spare time. The open source model allows me to say, “Hey, I can’t do that right now, but here’s the core idea and codebase.” Customers can then adapt the tool to their specifications and share their contributions to the project.
The open source method gives customers more agility and allows for upstream contribution back to the original project, creating a win-win scenario.
Is the vROps Export Tool available for use now?
Yes! It’s out in the wild and up as a fling on our official GitHub page. Anyone can download it now for free.
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