Wednesday, February 18, 2015

vRealize Operations Insight: vRealize Operations Management and Log Insight “Better Together”

vRealize Operations Management  is about having the “Operational Intelligence” to more efficiently manage your environment.  In today’s operational reality you have multiple tools monitoring many different data points. Because of the number of tools, when something happens in the environment you get an alert storm.  Because everyone on the operations team is viewing things from different perspectives, correlation is difficult.  This leads to more time spent reviewing symptoms vs. discovering the root cause.

Key Issues for Operations:

  1. Downtime and Performance Degradation
  2. Cost Cutting and Reduced Budgets
  3. Silo-ed Operations Management with no single pane of glass

To address these challenges Operational Analytics are needed to take input from performance logs, topology and infrastructure, health, capacity and consumption data points. Taking a holistic view ensures you have actionable information to resolve problems and drive efficiencies in the environment.

VMware has combined vRealize Operations Management and Log Insight to provide this level of visibility.  vRealize Operations Management allows you to look at structured data while Log Insight provides insight into logs and unstructured data in the environment.  VMware has combined both into a single suite called “vRealize Operations Insight

Log Insight provides that last mile of visibility to operations.  vRealize Operations Insight can be added to existing customers vSOM licensing by upgrading. Upgrading adds vRealize Operations Advanced (vSOM includes vRealize Operations Standard) and adds Infrastructure Navigator and Log Insight.

New in vRealize Operations management is the improved user interface.  Now there is a single product UI vs. a standard and advanced UI as in the prior release (vCenter Operations Manager).  vRealize Operations Management is delivered as a single VM with a scale out architecture.  To scale, you add additional appliances simplifying the architecture and deployment. 

The Alerting with vRealize Operations has been enhanced to include remediation steps so that when an alert occurs the fix is provided.  In addition a new tab is included called Recommendations.  Recommendations are guided actions that can be taken which effect a virtualization object, such as changing the memory on a VM.  In addition you can perform VM operations directly from the User Interface as shown in “figure 1.01 VM Operations from within vRealize”.


figure 1.01 VM Operations from within vRealize

In addition risk is now checked against the VMware hardening guidelines by default along with the necessary steps to resolve issues. 

You can build and customize both Views and Dashboards in this version.  The Reports customizations have been significantly enhanced as well.  For example, you can also pull  information that is displayed in Views and Dashboards into reports. 

The Capacity Planning feature has been extended to 3rd party adapters.  In addition there is the concept of Projects in the Capacity Planning feature.  Projects enable you to plan forward capacity requirements which can be saved so that it can reviewed at a later time.  In addition you can specify dates to commit certain changes such as adding additional hosts and see visually how it effects capacity.

Log Insight has been enhanced in 2.5 to include Roll Based Access Control (RBAC) access control and a Linux Agent was added to the existing Windows Agent.  From within vRealize Operations Management you can access Log Insight as shown in “figure 1.02 Open Log Insight from within vRealize Operations”


figure 1.02 Open Log Insight from within vRealize Operations

In addition a “Log Insight Content Marketplace” was added to Log Insight which enables you to add adapters or content PAKs through the interface as shown in figure 1.03 Log Insight Content Pack Marketplace.


figure 1.03 Log Insight Content Pack Marketplace

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

SDDC 2015: Are you Ready?

Chris Wolf presented at the VMUG today and started with the concept of a liquid world. Chris mentions we are living in an increasingly liquid world in which we are facing new competition and new challenges at an increasingly rapid pace.  According to Gartner most CIO and CEOs are heavily focused on their datacenters.  This means allot of time is spent on lights-on with limited time spent on innovation.

We need to start asking ourselves if the day-to-day activities we are engaged in are commodity tasks or deliver real value.  Every business must provide network, compute and storage; there is little advantage in the task of provisioning these services.

Think of the datacenter as a series of modular interfaces that we can plug into.  These interfaces may be provided by OpenStack, Cloud Foundry or Docker Containers.  VMware wants to enable this flexibility by building it into the Software-Defined-Data-Center (SDDC).  Standardizing at the SDDC layer allows consistent tooling across disparate workloads. 

According to VMware, the SDDC is made up of:
Chris uses the analogy of the smart phone to explain how security should work; we no longer memorize numbers, we just select contacts from a list.  Security should be similar. We use it without having layers of complexity.

Approaching this with traditional security toolsets is both complex and difficult.  NSX is targeted to address this by delivering micro-segmentation through policy control.  This allows us to secure individual VMs so that an exploit of one does not present risks to the remaining.  VMware believes that through software and automation this can be delivered easily without operational overhead.

VMware has made some significant updates to the Software-Defined-Datacenter in the first quarter of 2015. 

vSphere 6

VMware has beefed up vSphere 6.0 to handle Scaled-out architecture in addition to providing integrated Openstack and Linux Container Support (Docker).

vSphere 6 has the ability to instantly clone a VM (Project Fargo). Initially it is targeted at VDI workloads.  A new child VM can be created from a parent VM in milliseconds.  This is similar to the way Linux Containers (LXC) work, delivering the speed of containers through a VM.  Think about the capability in combination with VMware App Volumes; delivery of both virtual desktops and applications dynamically on demand.

vSphere 6 supports 64 hosts and 6000 virtual machines per cluster.  In addition 480 CPUs, 6 TB  of RAM and 1024 VMs per host can be delivered through 6.

Long-Distance vMotion is delivered in vSphere 6 (supported within 100 ms of latency between locations).  This works not just cross cluster but also cross vCenters.

Fault-Tolerance is supported on 4-Way virtual SMP (4 vCPUs).  This enables many more mission critical workloads to take advantage of this “always-on” capability.

New to vSphere 6 is the Content Library which syncs templates, ISOs and OVFs globally.  This ensures images are consistent across the entire organization.

VMware OpenStack

VMware integrated OpenStack is designed to deliver simplicity while keeping your management stack consistent.  VMware Openstack is fully supported by the vRealize Suite and Log insight and enables single call support from VMware.  VMware OpenStack is delivered through an OVA that is deployed on VMware.  VMware Integrated OpenStack is free with all vSphere Enterprise Plus Editions.

Virtual SAN

Software Defined Storage is designed to simplify and accelerate the provisioning of storage.  VMware Virtual SAN 6.0 now supports all flash configurations and better scale.  Virtual SAN also adds snapshot and cloning as native features.

Virtual Volumes

vSphere Virtual Volumes (vVOLs) are designed to enable the native features of the storage array within the virtual infrastructure.  With vVOLs you could do native snapshots and replication at the Virtual Machine (VM)/volume level.  This is done using the VASA (VMware APIs for Storage Awareness) APIs, exposing the features of the SAN/NAS devise to vSphere.

Chris finishes by encouraging the community to have a look at these new capabilities to understand the value they bring.
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Friday, February 6, 2015

Assign an AppStack to a View Desktop Pool

Okay this is the last post on this topic. It is fairly straight forward now that we have completed the installation and created an AppStack (Please refer to the links if you have not seen the previous posts).  The last step is to assign the AppStack to a View Pool.  To assign the AppStack to a VMware View Pool you will need to ensure the App Volume agent is installed in each virtual desktop.  If you are leveraging View Composer than you can install the Agent on the Pools Parent VM, take a new snapshot and Recompose the desktop Pool.  If you are not then you will need to install the App Volume agent within each View Desktop.  Once you have verified that the Agent is deployed to each View desktop you can follow this procedure to assign the AppStack to the Pool:

  • Login to the App Volumes Manager
  • Select VOLUMES from the menu
  • Select your AppStack and click the Assign button as shown in figure 1.01 Assign an AppStack


figure 1.01 Assign an AppStack

  • When you click Assign the search page comes up which allows you to search the Active Directory for desktops running the App Volumes Agent (Note: it would be a good idea then to consider a slightly modified naming convention for your virtual vs. physical desktops).  To search click the Search button.
  • To enable the AppStack on the desktop select the checkbox and click the Assign button as shown in figure 1.02 Assign Desktop


Of course the last step is always to test to ensure you see the new AppStack applications deployed within the desktop.  Happy AppStacking everyone!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

VMware App Volumes: Creating an AppStack

In order to create an AppStack you will need a Provisioning desktop.   A Provisioning desktop is the desktop from which you will install the application(s) to the “AppStack”.  The Provisioning desktop requires the App Volumes Agent installed and should be similar to the target desktops you wish to deploy the AppStack to.  It is also a good idea to take a snapshot of the Provisioning desktop before installing applications so that you can always “rollback” to a clean pristine state. 

Once you have setup the Provisioning desktop then you are ready to deploy\assign a new “AppStack” to it.  To create a new AppStack login to the App Volumes manager as shown in figure 1.01:App Volume Manager


figure 1.01: App Volume Manager

From under the VOLUMES folder heading and AppStacks tab, select the Create AppStack button as shown in figure 1.01.


figure 1.02 Create AppStack

Provide a Name, Select the datastore from the Storage drop down. Select the Template from the dropdown and provide a Description and click Create as shown in figure 1.02.

You will be prompted to determine if you want the AppStack created in the background or wait for it to complete first.  Select the appropriate radial button and click Create.

Once it is created you will notice that it’s status is set to “Unprovisioned”.  We will want to provision it to our Provision desktop so select the AppStack and click the Provision button as shown in figure 1.03: Provision the AppStack.


figure 1.03: Provision the AppStack

You can filter the name of the Provisioning desktop by typing it in the Find Provision Computer field and clicking the Search button a shown in figure 1.04: Deploy AppStack to Provision desktop.


figure 1.04: Deploy AppStack to Provision desktop

Select the Computer and click the Provision button as shown in figure 1.04.  When prompted on the Confirm Start Provisioning dialog box click Start Provisioning.  The AppStack will be deployed to the Provisioning desktop and mounted.  At this point you are now in “Provisioning mode”. You can confirm this by logging in locally to the Provisioning Computer and noting the App Volumes dialog box as shown in figure 1.05: Provisioning Mode.


figure 1.05: Provisioning Mode.

Install the application(s) as you normally would and once complete click OK.  When you click OK the AppStack is unmounted shows up for assignment in the management console as shown in figure 1.06: AppStack Assignment.


figure 1.06: AppStack Assignment

We are now ready to Assign the AppStack to a group of computers to deploy the Applications at the speed of Cloud.  We will cover the last step in the process in the final post.