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by Tom Stephens, Senior Technical Marketing Architect, VMware

It’s amazing how quickly the resources in your IaaS implementation will get consumed.  Leveraging the vCloud Director catalog and vApp template features, users don’t have to deal with the tedious activities associated with standing up new environments.  This ease of use facilitates the consumption of resources. 

As a result, it’s important for administrators of the cloud to monitor the amount of resources remaining in their environment.  One method to do this is by using vCenter Operations Enterprise with an adapter for vCloud Director.

vCenter Operations supports the use of many adapters to collect information from a variety of sources.  These adapters can be built by VMware Professional Services, VMware Engineering, or by yourself with the main difference between them being the supportability of the adapter.  One of these adapters is the vCloud Director Adapter, developed by VMware Engineering.

By using the vCloud Director Adapter, you can monitor the health of various vCloud Director objects and also broadcast alerts in the event that a monitored provider resource is experiencing difficulties.  Now the vCloud Adapter itself does not collect any metrics.  Rather it focuses on collecting the resource relationships and events for the vCloud Director objects.

How does this work? 

Simply put, the vCloud Director Adapter runs as part of the vCenter Operations Manager.  It performs API calls via the vcdjavasdk API to vCloud Director.  Through these API calls, it obtains information on:

  • Provider vDCs
  • Organizations
  • Organization vDCs
  • vApps

It then creates the corresponding resources in the vCenter Operations database.

To allow vCenter Operations Manager to present Health data without collecting performance data from vCloud Director, the vCloud entities are then mapped to resources in vCenter Operations Manager as shown in the diagram below:

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While it performs this mapping, the vCloud Director Adapter also tags each entity with a ‘vCloud Entity Status’ tag to help identify the state of the entity.  There are three possible values for this tag, including: 

  • NotExisting

This is for vCloud entities that were created in the vCenter Operations Manager database, but that do not exist any longer.

  • Deployed-vApps

This is used for vApps that are deployed and started

  • NotDeployed

This is for vApps that are not deployed and not started

Lastly, the vCloud Director Adapter imports events that are related to the previously imported vCloud entities where they are displayed as change events in the vCenter Operations Manager UI.  Before importing these events into vCenter Operations Manager, the vCloud Director Adapter will filter them.  It does this by searching for events where the Organization is "System" and the entity type is one of the supported types (Provider vDC, Organization, Organization vDC, and vApp). 

The Adapter runs as the Administrator of the System Organization.  As such, the Adapter only has the ability to the subset of events that are available to that user.  This means the events for vApps are not available.

The vCloud Director Adapter can also provide additional filtering as desired by the user by modifying one of the vCloud Adapter configuration files to include a ‘white list’.  The Adapter will then filter the events based on this white list prior to importing them into vCenter Operations Manager. 

Installation

Installation of the vCloud Director Adapter is not too complex, requiring only that you run the installer package for the adapter on a vCenter Operations Manger server.  After the installer completes, you’ll notice a folder for the Adapter as well as a *.jar file created under the VCOps%ALIVE_BASE%userpluginsinbound directory.  Under the Adapter folder, you’ll see some other folders.  This includes the conf directory that contains the common configuration files (such as the white list mentioned earlier) for the Adapter, the work directory that contains configuration files for the separate adapter instances, and a lib directory that holds the library files and database drivers. 

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Configuration

Before your able to collect any information, you first have to configure the adapter.  You can do this in a couple of steps:

  1. From the vCenter Operations Manager UI, select Environment -> Configuration -> Adapter Instances.
  2. In the Manage Adapter Instances dialog box, click on the Add New Adapter Instance icon.
  3. In the Add Adapter Instance dialog box, select the collector and the adapter type from the drop down menus.
  4. Enter a name for the adapter instance you are adding.
  5. Specify the IP or FQDN for the vCloud Director host.  Note:  If you have configured a public console proxy address in vCloud Director, you need to enter this address here.  You can check for this in the vCloud Director UI.
  6. You can then add filters for the resources collected by the vCloud Director Adapter.  You can do this by listing the Provider vDCs or Organizations that you want to have the adapter collect information on.  Multiple items can be entered, simply by separating them with a semicolon.  If you don’t specify any filters, then the Adapter will import all of the supported entities from vCloud Director.  Filtering only Provider vDCs or Organizations will limit the scope of the Adapter’s collection to these objects.  If you specify filters for both Provider vDCs and Organizations, the Adapter will import a union of the two.
  7. Finally, provide the credentials of a vCloud Director Administrator.  These credentials are used by the Adapter to connect to vCloud Director.

Usage

Once you have the vCloud Director Adapter configured, you can get down to the business of using the information is collects.  You can do this by creating a custom dashboard from within the vCenter Operations Manager UI.

Below, you can see an example display of what this would look like.  In this example, you can see a Heat Map pane on the left, a Health Tree pane on the upper right and below that, a Root Cause Ranking pane.

Selecting a problem area in the Heat Map will display the object and any related objects in the Health Tree.  Selecting an object in the Health Tree will show the symptoms in the Root Cause Ranking pane below.   Reviewing these symptoms will then assist you in correcting issues.

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You can even view the details of a given vApp, as the picture below illustrates:

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Finally, by using the dashboard, you can visualize the health scores for a specific vCloud Director object and any anomalies through the Anomaly graph.  By drilling down into an object, you can also see the health trend for that object.

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How do you get the vCloud Director Adapter?

You’ll have to contact your local VMware sales rep first.  They can then help you get an account setup where you can download the adapter.

Conclusion

Hopefully this gives you a little information on what the vCloud Director Adapter is and how it can be used.  Of course, this is not the only way you can monitor your vCloud Director environment, but it is pretty easy to maintain and allows you to also leverage all the power of vCenter Operations Manager as well.