Friday, April 8, 2016

Making the most out of your vRealize Operations Manager Investment!

Today's article is being written by me, however the thought process behind the article comes from Murad Wagh who works as a Sr. Manager, Systems Engineering  at VMware. Murad is a great leader and a master in management products and his thought process is always aligned towards how customers can make full use of their investments into VMware Products. 

In one of our recent discussions, he mentioned about the install base of vRealize Operations Standard Edition across various customers he has worked with. He was absolutely correct in pointing out that there are a number of installations of vRealize Operations Manager on Standard License edition which have either been stand alone purchases or has been bought by customers as a part of the vSphere with Operations Manager. He also mentioned that while the Advanced and Enterprise editions of vROps give some fantastic features around customization of Dashboards, Reports etc. vROps Standard has pretty much everything to offer to an organization who wants to get on the journey of monitoring their Virtual Infrastructure with tools which understand virtualization. In a nutshell, someone who is still stuck in the primitive world of using tools which were invented for physical servers into the virtualization environment, even vROps standard edition can bring in features which can give them an insight into the deep and wide world of Virtual Environments.

I remember the days when we use to monitor CPU Usage, Memory Usage, Disk Capacity etc... All those metrics were good in the physical world. With the introduction of Virtual world, the apps and OS no longer have a one to one relationship with the server and hence this gave birth to the concept of Sharing. With sharing things changed. The same metrics which you use to monitor in physical world almost immediately became either irrelevant or they would only show you half the truth. 

vRealize Operations Manager uncovers the layers of complexity from a Virtual World and allows you to look into the workloads from a hyper-visor perspective. Which, in almost all cases shows the real utilization and performance of workloads. 

Now that it has been proven that you need to move the needle from the generation X to generation NEXT tools, it is important that you know what you get when you make your investments into vRealize Operations Manager. 

If you have been a reader of my blog, you would know that vROps advanced and Enterprise editions provide you with a plethora of options to Monitor Anything and Everything which generates a metric and a time stamp and speaks computer language. We have also seen that with multiple extensible solutions, vROps allows you to connect to the entire eco-system, whether it is Software Define Datacenter Components, Converged Infrastructure or Hyper Converged Infrastructures, almost all of the vendors available out their can feed data into vROps for both Performance Monitoring and Capacity Planning. 

Having said that, if you are some who wants to make the most out of your investments in vROps Standard Edition, you really can do a lot with this edition as well. I would ask you to look at the following Web Page to understand what all you will be able to do with your Standard Edition License and then share with you a nice laundry list which Murad shared with me.

Here are  the things you can achieve:-

1- Powerful data visualization with out of the box Dashboards, Views & Reports.

2- Automated Remediation of issues using the Automated Actions Framework.

3- Customized Groups and customized Performance Monitoring and Capacity Planning Policies.

4- Use of Projects for Capacity Modelling.

5- Workload Balancing across Clusters for improved workload performance and efficient utilization of resources.

6- Configuration and Compliance Manager for vSphere which includes vCenter, ESXi hosts and VM Containers.

Now that is a long list of things which you can do with the basic license edition, Now let us look at how you can make sure that you can operationalize the Standard Edition of vROps in your environments through a simple checklist.

  • Get someone in your team to OWN the vROps setup for installation, configuration, customization, maintenance & upgrades.
  • Deploy the latest version of the vROps appliance.
  • Connect vROps to at least one instance of vCenter and validate data-collection.
  • Configure user in vCenter with appropriate rights for this connection.
  • Define users to have role-based access to vROps. Do NOT use the default ‘vcenter’ or ‘admin’ users. 
  • Create at least 2 users with ‘administrative’ and ‘read-only’ privileges.
  • Create custom groups for your key applications in production. Define and assign policies to appropriate groups. Do NOT use the default policy AS-IS without understanding implications
  • Create at least 2 custom policies – ‘Production’ and ‘Non-Production’
  • Configure alerts and notifications. Define who should receive what type of alerts and configure appropriate out-bound notification. Start with basic alerts around CPU/memory/disk/network related alerts for VMs, CPU/memory contention related alerts for hosts and capacity/performance related alerts for data-stores.
  • Configure scheduled reports to be sent to relevant users. Key reports such as idle, powered-off, over-sized and under-sized VMs should be analyzed on a monthly basis and sent to relevant stakeholders Unless these reports are actioned, you will not be able to reclaim waste.
  • Plan capacity for new requirements. Use projects feature to validate availability of capacity for new demand and also to forecast upcoming capacity in terms of a new hardware purchase.
  • Validate vSphere hardening guidelines. Use vROps to ensure your vSphere hosts are in compliance using Alert-Based Compliance.

You can see from the above mentioned list that you can get a lot out of your investments on this basic edition of vROps. As you grow and mature your IT into the next level, you can start looking at enhancing and extending these capabilities to solutions other than vSphere by upgrading to higher license versions of vROps. 

Well, if you have read the article till here, then you should have all what you need to hit the road of next gen performance and capacity management. Have a great journey ahead...

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