Saturday, May 11, 2019

Operate VMware Cloud on AWS using vRealize Operations

VMware Cloud on AWS is one of the most talked about innovations and partnerships between VMware and AWS Cloud. With VMware’s SDDC stack fully deployed on AWS, we are delivering on the promise to VMware customers to get the economies of the public cloud without re-writing your existing applications.  While talking to most of the customers who are leveraging VMware Cloud on AWS today, the biggest value which they often speak about beyond the benefit of “zero app re-platforming” is about the seamless integration of a public cloud platform like AWS into their existing processes and toolsets.
Almost all of these customers were leveraging vRealize Operations to manage their on-premises SDDC, and find it extremely simple to add their VMware Cloud on AWS vCenter into vRealize Operations and extend the current set of monitoring, troubleshooting, optimization, and remediation processes to VMware Cloud on AWS.  This provides such customers a view of their hybrid environment within minutes and with zero impact on their people or processes.  With this post, I will show you how simple it is to bring in a VMware Cloud on AWS deployments into your existing on-premises vRealize Operations Cluster.
Before we get into the how, let us quickly look into a couple of architectural options you have while connecting your VMware Cloud on AWS vCenter to your on-premises vRealize Operations.  I will also provide you architectural options if you want to deploy vRealize Operations on VMware Cloud on AWS.
Architecture Option 1 – vRealize Operations On-Premises
Architecture Option 2 – vRealize Operations Running on VMware Cloud on AWS
Architecture Option 3 – vRealize Operations Federation with VMware Cloud on AWS
  • Provide a summary of performance, capacity, and configuration to Senior Executives and Virtual Infrastructure Administrators across all your vSphere environments.
  • Provide a unified view of events triggered across the virtual environments into a single pane for making it easier for NOC or Helpdesk to initiate action.
  • Ability to create a data warehouse where a user-selected set of metrics can be stored for data archiving and report use cases.
  • Ability to provide summarized views of health and configuration of your SDDC stack.  This includes core applications such as VMware vCenter Server, VMware NSX, and VMware vSAN.
  • The solution also covers the management applications such as vRealize Operations Manager, vRealize Log Insight, vRealize Automation, vRealize Business, and VMware Site Recovery Manager.

With this option, the assumption is that you have a large part of your infrastructure on-premises including vCenter, ESXi hosts and other hardware and applications which you are monitoring with vRealize Operations. At the same time, you have on-boarded to VMware Cloud on AWS and have recently provisioned a couple of SDDCs therein and as a result of which you have some vCenter footprint in VMware Cloud on AWS.
In this model, you can extend the existing operational capabilities of vRealize Operations to the VMware Cloud on AWS vCenter, by simply connecting the vCenter as an end-point inside vRealize Operations. You create an adapter instance both for vCenter Server and vSAN to collect data from vCenter and bring that into vRealize Operations Manager. You can do this by either directly connecting the vCenter or leveraging a remote collector which can be deployed inside a VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC to ensure that the data can be compressed and encrypted.
The existing vRealize Operations cluster would need to be scaled out to incorporate the new VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC sites which you plan to monitor. In order to get the appropriate sizing, you can leverage the vRealize Operations Online Sizer Tool.
The diagrams below show both the options discussed above:

vRealize Operations on-premises collecting data from VMware Cloud on AWS and native AWS directly




vRealize Operations on-premises collecting data from VMware Cloud on AWS and native AWS with remote collectors



This second option applies to organizations which have moved a large part of their environment into VMware Cloud on AWS. In such a scenario, they can deploy or migrate their vRealize Operations instance in VMware Cloud on AWS directly. The power of VMware Cloud on AWS is that it leverages the world’s most reliable and highly adopted hypervisor, vSphere.  Hence it is trivial to deploy a vRealize Operations cluster there. Once deployed, organizations can collect data from other VMware Cloud on AWS SDDCs using remote collectors. At the same time, for collecting data from an SDDC located on-premises or native AWS, one can deploy remote collectors to send over data into the centralized analytics cluster deployed in VMware Cloud on AWS.
The diagram below illustrates how this architecture would look like:

vRealize Operations in VMware Cloud collecting data from VMware Cloud on AWS, native AWS and on-premises SDDCs with remote collectors


In this third option, you can leverage the federation capabilities of vRealize Operations to federate the data from both on-premises and VMware Cloud on AWS deployed vRealize Operations clusters into a centralized vRealize Operations federation instance for a centralized visibility use case. Some of the powerful use cases of federation are:
Here is an architectural diagram which can be leveraged to deploy a federation solution between on-premises and VMware Cloud on AWS hosted vRealize Operations:

vRealize Operations Federation Deployment between On-Premises and VMware Cloud on AWS hosted vRealize Operations clusters


The above examples will help you decide the best architecture to deliver all Self-Driving Operations with vRealize Operations Manager as you expand into the public cloud with VMware Cloud on AWS.  Maintain your operations people and processes without disruption while you quickly expand into the world of hybrid cloud.  For more technical information on vRealize Operations, visit vrealize.vmware.com for videos, walk-through demonstrations and more.

Note - This post also appeared on VMware Official Blog where I blog as a guest blogger - https://blogs.vmware.com/management/2019/05/vmware-cloud-on-aws-with-vrealize-operations.html

Share and Spread the Knowledge


Monday, March 25, 2019

How to recover vRealize Operations admin account password

With vRealize Operations 7.0, VMware introduced a very simple yet powerful feature which would allow you to reset the built-in admin password of your vRealize Operations instance using recovery settings. I believe this is an extremely useful feature, as I have seen numerous deployments where admins have forgotten the admin password and are forced to login through the root account and run commands to reset the password.

Note - You can follow the procedure mentioned in this KB article to reset a forgotten admin password through SSH.

I would rather use this new feature and keep the password recovery process as simple as possible. Simple in this case provides security as well, since you do not have to share root passwords and run commands.

With vRealize Operations 7.0, once you login to the CASA (Cluster Administration) UI a.k.a. Admin UI, you will find a new section called "Administrator Settings".

































This screen allows you to "Change Admin Password". At the same time you can enter the password recovery settings to ensure that in case you lose your admin password, you can use the recovery email to recover the password. In the above example, I have leveraged my SMTP settings to configure this.

Once saved, on subsequent admin login screen, you will notice an option of "Forgot Password"




















Once you click on the forgot password option, you will receive an email on the registered recovery account email. Here is how the email will look like:
















Upon clicking on the reset password link, you will be redirected to a page where you can reset the admin password.

























Once the password is SET, you are good to login with the new password in the subsequent logins.

I think this simple addition would be really helpful with enhancing your operational efficiency. Go ahead and configure the recovery settings on your vROps instances before you forget your admin account password :-)

Share and Spread the knowledge.



Monday, March 18, 2019

Reset out of box content post upgrade or install of vRealize Operations

I have been several times about this and hence I thought I would quickly blog about this. With vRealize Operations, the out of the box content owned by VMware usually gets a refresh with each release. If you wish to get the new updated content, then you can leverage the reset out of box option during upgrade. I wrote about this more than 3 years ago here and this is still relevant.

I have been asked that if one needs to reset the out of box content later on then it is possible. The use cases around this are things like, you have modified out of box symptoms or alerts and you want to restore back to factory settings, or you have accidentally deleted some out of box content which you want to recover.

You can rest out of box content easily per solution. A solution is also known as a management pack which helps you connect to various endpoints to collect data and run analytics.

Here is an example on how you can reset content for vCenter solution:

1- Login with admin privileges or the built-in admin account.

2- Click on Administration -> Solutions.

3- Find the solution for which you want to reset out of box content.

4- Click on the Configure option.

5- On the configuration page click on the option highlighted below to reset out of box content.











6- Read the warning on the dialog box, check the option to confirm and click on ok to take this action.

Note - This process can take up to 30 minutes and will affect the data collection as stated in the warning.


















Hope this helps.

Share and spread the knowledge.


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Automatically place ESXi hosts in maintenance in vROps using properties

This has come up in a number of discussions with customers and a few VMware field employees and hence I wanted to blog about this and use this as a standard answer going foward :-)

Use Case - An administrator wants to disable alerts on a ESXi host which has been put into maintenance mode in vCenter. This is to avoid any alerts on this ESXi hosts inside of vROps, while the admin wants to continue to collect the metrics on this ESXi host.

Goal - The goal is to do this automatically without any manual changes in vROps. As soon as a host goes into maintenance in vCenter, vROps should know this and should stop alerting on the host in vROps.

Solution - This can be achieved by using Custom Groups and Policy and a one time configuration.


1- Create a new policy in vROps named "Hosts in maintenance policy". This policy can be created under the default policy.

Go to Administration -> Policies -> Policy Library 

2- Select the default policy and click on the + sympbol to add a new policy.

3- Give it a name and description as shown below.



4- Click on Alerts and Symptom Definitions and filter the list of aletrs with only host system alerts. We want a filtered list so that we can disable these in one go.



5- Now press CTRL + A on the keyboard to select all of them, you can also click on Actions -> Select All.

6- Click on Actions - > State -> Disable 






7- Click on Save and now you can see he new policy under your default policy.



8- Create a new custom group named "Hosts in Maintenance". Use the following creiteria to dynamically add members to this custom group based on ESXi host property which vROps collects every 5 minutes.

Click on Environment -> Custom Groups -> Click on the + Sign to add a new custom group.

Make sure to select the policy "Hosts in maintenace policy" which we created earlier.



9- Click on Preview to see if you are getting results. If you have any hosts in mainteance moed in your environment, you will see results like me :-)



10 - Finally go into Administration -> Policies -> Active Policies and set the newly created policy at priorty 1 rank.


Now, as soon as you will put hosts into maintenance mode in vCenter, within the next 5 minutes they will be be discovered as being in maintenance inside vROps and they will be added into the cutom group. Once they are a part of the group, the maintenance policy with all alerts disabled will be applied to these hosts and you will not see any alerts on them in vCenter, till the time they are in maintenance. Once they are out of maintenance, they will be moved out of this group subsequently. All of this would no longer require any manual intervention, once configured.

Do note, that if you add any new alerts (in future) related to hosts, you would need to make sure that they are disabled in this policy.

Hope this helps...

Share and spread the knowledge..


Monday, October 15, 2018

Ability to transfer the ownership of dashboards with vRealize Operations 7.0

There have been several amazing changes in the realm of dashboard management in vRealize Operations 7.0. The very first one in my list of favorites is the ability to transfer dashboard ownership.

In the previous releases of vRealize Operations, one can create and share dashboards, however if a user must be removed from vRealize Operations for any reason (leaving the organization or transferring to a new role), he/she would not be able to transfer the ownership of their dashboards which they have created. This means that, in order to maintain their dashboards, one has to clone them and reshare them, which can be painful if you are dealing with a number of dashboards. Our awesome engineers decided to reduce this pain by introducing a simple button in the UI to seamlessly transfer the ownership of dashboards. So now if a user is planning to leave, he/she can easily transfer their dashboards to other users or the built-in admin account. This solves a big operational hassle.

Let's look at how it is done:

1- Click on Dashboard - Actions - Manage Dashboards.

2- Select one or more dashboard from the dashboard list which you want to transfer the ownership for.

3- Click on the actions tab and Transfer Dashboard.





4- Select the user to whom you want to transfer the ownership.


5- Click on Ok to confirm transfer. 

Easy Peasy....... The new owner now has all the power and privileges to manage this dashboard. Make sure you chose a responsible person as a new owner as "With great power comes great responsibility" 💪💪

Oh, by the way, while you are transferring the ownership, the dashboard sharing remains the same and hence no viewer/consumer of the dashboard is impacted. It is like vMotion of the dashboard rights from one user to another without impacting the consumers 😋😋😋

Another important thing to note is that the built in "admin" account has permissions to transfer the ownership of any dashboards.

In another post I am writing, I will share details around managing content of a user (dashboards, report schedules), who is accidentally deleted from the list of users. Stay tuned for that one as well.

Share and spread the knowledge...



x