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With the introduction of the new HTLM5 user interface for vCenter and vSAN in vSphere 6.7, VMware has taken a major step forward in improving the operations of an infrastructure to be a more intuitive and productive experience. The HTML 5 interface, built off the Clarity framework, allows VMware to not only take a fresh approach to optimizing existing tasks, but offers up new ways to view and manage the entire software-defined data center

The newest version of vSphere and vSAN takes advantage of these new abilities to provide a functional and intuitive user experience. vSphere and vSAN 6.7 now includes vRealize Operations within vCenter. This new feature allows vSphere customers to see a subset of intelligence offered up by vRealize Operations (vR Ops) through a single vCenter user interface. Light-weight purpose-built dashboards are included for both vSphere and vSAN. It is easy to deploy, provides multi-cluster visibility, and does not require any additional licensing.

Figure 1. vSphere and the integration of a vR Ops UI within vCenter

vCenter and vR Ops have always had two distinct purposes. vCenter provides the primary control plane for management of vSphere clusters, while vR Ops drives smart decision making through infrastructure analytics for trending, anomaly detection, and a holistic understanding of the data center. While each solution continues to maintain these roles, vSphere and vSAN 6.7 visually bring the two solutions to work together in a cohesive way. This extends the integration between vSAN and vR Ops that have benefited many of our users.

Let’s dig in a little further into this feature to better understand how it works.

Installation and initial configuration

vCenter now includes a plugin accessible by the main menu of vCenter, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. The vRealize Operations within vCenter plugin

When clicking on this for the first time, the administrator will be presented with a choice of installing a new instance of vR Ops, or configuring connectivity to an existing instance of vR Ops. A new installation will consist answering a few easy questions, as shown in Figure 3

Figure 3. Initiating the Installation of vRealize Operations

Whether a user chooses a new installation of vR Ops, or selects an existing instance of vR Ops, the result is the same. vCenter can present specific vR Ops intelligence directly within the vCenter UI.

Simplified purpose-built dashboards

Once the simplified configuration is complete, clicking on vRealize Operations from the main menu in vCenter will present l make available six dashboards, using the Quick Links pulldown menu, as shown in Figure 4. This Quick Links menu also provides an easy way for a user to launch the user interface to the full edition of vR Ops.

Figure 4. Access to the six, built-in dashboards found in vR Ops within vCenter.

There are three dashboards for vSphere/vCenter, and three dashboards built specifically for vSAN. These dashboards do not replace the dashboards found in the full vR Ops product, but place a subset of the most important information directly within vCenter, for a single, unified pane of visibility. These dashboards contain widgets designed to maintain clarity and simplicity, and unlike the full vR Ops UI, will have a minimal amount of customization available.

The vCenter “Overview” dashboard gives an aggregate view of the activity and status of your clusters managed across vCenter. As shown in Figure 5, administrators can view rollup statistics for hosts, VMs, alerts, capacity, and more.

Figure 5. vCenter Overview dashboard

The vCenter “Cluster View” dashboard provides more details specific to the selected cluster. As shown in Figure 6, this provides a simple way for an administrator to see the most relevant information about their selected cluster.

Figure 6. vCenter Cluster View dashboard

Much like the vCenter Overview dashboard, the vSAN “Overview” dashboard gives an aggregate view of the activity and status of your clusters, but only for those running vSAN. As shown in Figure 7, administrators can view rollup statistics for hosts, VMs, alerts, capacity, performance metrics, and more.

Figure 7. vSAN Overview dashboard

The vSAN “Cluster View” dashboard provides more details specific to the selected vSAN cluster. Get a quick understanding of vSAN related metrics such as IOPS, throughput, and read/write latency for the selected cluster, as shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8. vSAN Cluster View dashboard

vRealize Operations within vCenter also provides a quick glance of alerts for any vSAN clusters. Common to the alerts dashboard and other views, the UI allows for the user to click on an icon that will immediately open up the full vR Ops console. Figure 9 shows an example of this icon.

Figure 9. vSAN Alerts dashboard

A video of the vRealize Operations within vCenter functionality can be viewed here.

Availability

For environments that do not have a vR Ops instance, or any available licensing, the guided installation of a new instance of vRealize Operations within vCenter will initiate a 60-day free trial of the full vR Ops product. This will expose all the dashboards within vCenter, shown here, as well as the full assortment of vR Ops dashboards in the primary UI. vSAN environments that currently do not any vR Ops licensing can still use this feature! The administrator can enter a vSAN based license key (vSAN Advanced or greater) into the vR Ops instance, to maintain access to these features.

For environments that have been using the dashboards complimentary to vSAN customers but would like to move up to the full vR Ops product, this can be achieved by simply entering in a valid license key for vR Ops. No installation or reconfiguration is necessary. Environments that are currently using vR Ops will need to be running vR Ops 6.7 to establish the connectivity to their vR Ops instance during the initial configuration of this feature.

For more information on this licensing, see the post, vRealize Operations and vSAN licensing.

Conclusion

vSphere and vSAN 6.7 introduce an all new level of visibility, and interoperability between the hypervisor, vSAN, and vRealize Operations. This interoperability offers the best of both worlds: Simple, need-to-know information presented in a single unified pane of visibility, with an easy way to drill into the full infrastructure analytics application for further insight.

VMware continues to innovate and deliver at a remarkably rapid pace. With upgrades being easier than ever before, IT organizations can adopt and adapt to these rapid advances that deliver usability, performance, resilience and interoperability improvements to a data center. Upgrade to 6.7 and see the difference.

@vmpete