Monday, April 28, 2014

Sections you must have in your vSphere Architecture Design - VCDX way!

Today I completed my VCDX Architecture Design document which I need to submit to VMware Education in a week. The idea about writing this blog post came to my mind while I was staring at the content section of my Architecture Document. I think it would be great to share a snapshot of the high level contents with all my readers as this would solve multiple purposes:-

>> One, it will help the VCDX aspirants to ensure that they have a ready reckoner which can guide them while creating their Architecture Design Document. 

>> Two, it will help me to get a feedback from peers on what I could be missing in my Architecture Design which they think could be a success criteria.

>> Lastly, VCDX or NO VCDX, it is generally good to have a design document with all these categories to ensure that you cover every nook and corner while creating your vSphere Architecture for your organization or your clients.


So without further a-do here is a screenshot which says it all. 



Their are multiple sections under the main sections which I have listed here, but yeah, these in my opinion are critical to a Design Document.

The debate is open now, so please participate and let me know if you agree, disagree or you want to add more to the list which you think might be a game changer.


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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Part 1 - vCOps Extensions - Managing Operations Beyond Virtual Infrastructure

This is a season of Multi-Part Series on vXpress, especially around vCenter Operations Manager and Architecting vSphere. Sometimes this can mean that you need to wait for the next post in the series & I apologize for that. Since blogging is not a part of my Job, it becomes difficult sometimes to get all the content out at once. I write when I get to write which in the past few days has been difficult with lots happening in bother personal & professional life..

Anyways enough about me, lets talk about some COOL stuff which you can do with vCenter Operations Manager. With all my posts on vCOps, you must have noticed that all this while I was concentrating on using vCOps to manage the VMware Virtual Infrastructure. However with this exclusive series on vCOps Extensions, I would just focus and talk about the various plugins which are available to extend the vCenter Operations Manager Analytics engine to beyond your virtual infrastructure & to each nook and corner of your datacenter equipment. 



It is important to know that you need to be on Advanced/Enterprise edition of vCenter Operations Manager to use the capability of extending vCOps beyond the Virtual Infrastructure. 



Use Cases Beyond Virtual Infrastructure

Before I get into the the meat of this post, I wanted to share a use case which I was told about when I was first introduced to vCenter Operations Manager. In this case vCOps Custom Dashboard were used by a bank to fetch data from their EPBAX (Business Telephone Systems) into vCOps and then create custom dashboards for monitoring the call patterns which were coming into their call center. They could easily get call patterns and if their were abnormal call patterns in a particular queue, they would know it with the Anomalies feature of vCOps.

This would help to proactively know about the issues which their telephone lines, websites, internet banking systems etc might have or will have. This would also help them forecast the call patterns and workforce needs to handle them. I don't think their could be a better example of how creative you can get with vCenter operations manager.


Available Integrations

It is quite obvious that  their are a number of default integrations which are available today through adapters which can be easily installed and configured on your existing vCOps deployment and start bringing in the metrics from the third party resources such as storage arrays, networking equipment, applications etc. All such adapters are available on the VMware Solution Exchange Page for Cloud Operations Management.

As I write this post, there are 48 such management packs available which can be used for different purposes. There are more than 100 documents which can help you with the implementation of these management packs.



What's Next

With this series I will try and showcase some of the possible integrations which we can do with all I have in my PS Lab out here in India. I will post my experience with these integrations as and when I execute in the parts to come.

Soon coming out with the next part which is going to talk about monitoring the storage infrastructure with vCenter Operations Manager.

Stay tuned for more...


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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

#FeedForward - VMUG Initiative To Give Back to the Community..

Their can be no better time to kick start the India #VMUG Chapter, especially when the Gurus in the Virtualization arena are here to assist the VMUG members who have their success stories to present at the VMUG events, however might not have the experience or in some cases the confidence to come and talk about how they used Virtualization in their organization/projects to make them successful.

VMUG which is all about bringing together the VMware Users in cities and countries has grown multi-folds today. India has started strong with close to 2000+ members who are getting the act together. In order to ensure that each VMUG member has the capabilities around presenting content in their local VMUG chapter, VMUG has come with a new program called #FeedForward.

You can contribute to this program in multiple ways and that gives a chance to literally everyone to give back to the community.



If you are an industry expert or are a VMUG member then you need to keep an eye on this program and contribute as much as you can back to the community. Who knows this get counted for the vExpert Title Some Day :-).

Here are the ways by which you can contribute:-




IMPORTANT LINKS


Here is the link through which you can nominate yourself:-





You can read more about this program in the Feb 2014 edition of VMUG voice




Mike Laverick has also written about the program on his blog :





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Saturday, April 19, 2014

VMUG India - Session 1 - Preparation Tips for VCAP-DCD !

In my last post I informed you about a session which we were about to kickoff at the India VMUG Chapter. I am pleased to say that, this being the first VMUG webniar event in India there were close to 50 VMUG members from India who joined the session. 

The topic for this session was as follows:-


As discussed during the WebEx meet, here are the critical links which can help you download the presentation & the recorded session. I have not hosted this on YouTube since it was increasing the file-size by multiple times with a degraded sound audio and video quality.

Link to the WebEx Recording (13 MB File) - Click Here
Link to the Player for playing this Recording - Click Here
Link to to the Presentation - Click Here

For those who attended the session today and who will listen to the recording, would appreciate if you could share your feedback in the comments section of this post.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

VMUG India Chapter Kick-starts - 1st Session - Preparation Tips for VCAP-DCD5

VMware User Group more popularly known as VMUG across the globe has finally taken turns to become an official chapter in India. Although the community has been out there for a while on the VMUG.COM India page, but there has been no real action for a while. 

As I write this post, I can confidently say that is the thing of the past. In the last few months the traction in the community towards forming a formal group with more engagements has been on a high. VMware on the other hand in India was on a drive to group up all the VCP certified members under one umbrella using the LinkedIn platform. This group is called the India VCP ClubI was a part of the group who are behind the initiative and I am proud to share that we are a gang of more than 2300 proud VCPs. That's a BIG BIG number and I am looking forward to work & communicate with all of them to ensure that the community becomes stronger by the day and I can contribute to the group in all possible ways.

So if you are a VCP and you are in India then you need to register and be a part of the gang so that you can learn and contribute to the awesome community. 

The India-VCP Club as you all know was a new initiative from VMware & was launched in Oct 2013 to connect the thousands of VMware Certified Professionals in the country in order to enable them to leverage on the knowledge & skills available across the community. Click here to Register to the India VCP Club on Linkedln.

This community will slowly transform into the formal VMUG chapter, the leaders for which have been chosen for few of the cities based on their interest and nominations filed. A more formalized structure to that will be available as we keep growing and aligning our efforts to build one of the largest VMUG's out there. Here is my attempt at a LOGO which we can use till we get a more official one from the VMUG headquarters.





In the past few days, we have had some informal discussions on getting a few sessions done on VMware Advanced Level Certifications by the group members. Being a VCAP certified myself, I thought this would be a great way to give back to the community and hence we planned a session which could help you prepare for the Datacenter Design exam popularly known as VCAP-DCD.

Since it was on a short notice, I reached out to John Arrasjid (needs no introduction being the FIRST VCDX in the world). John who evangelizes the VMware Education & certification program has given back lot to all the aspirants of VCP, VCAP and VCDXs around the globe. He was kind enough to share some fantastic content around the VCAP-DCD which I will be presenting on 18th April at 11:30 AM IST. I wish I could have written this post earlier to reach out to more people, but this is happening in exactly 10 hours from now.

I would encourage you to participate if you are one of the Aspirant for these advanced certifications. For those who cannot, we will be recording the session and sharing it via the India VCP Club page, VMUG India Page and through my blog. Here are the WebEx details.


Join us for the session “How to prepare (VCAP5-DCD) Certification "
VMware Certified Advanced Professional 5 - Data Center Design (VCAP5-DCD)
By Sunny Dua , Solution Architect at VMware.

Meeting information
-------------------------------------------------------
Topic: VMware Certified Advanced Professional 5 - Data Center Design (VCAP5-DCD)
Date: Friday, April 18, 2014
Time: 11:30 am, India Time (Mumbai, GMT+05:30)
Meeting Number: 927 295 575
Meeting Password: (This meeting does not require a password.)

-------------------------------------------------------
To start or join the online meeting
-------------------------------------------------------
Go to https://vmware.webex.com/vmware/j.php?ED=281883142&UID=504868612&RT=MiM0MQ%3D%3D



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Thursday, April 17, 2014

vCenter Operations Manager 5.x - FAQ Repository!

With the amount of work I have been doing on vCOps, I do get a number of questions on various platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and on my posts around various things which people want to know. Although a great solution, it was not marketed the way it should have been and hence the awareness is missing. This is my attempt to make it easy for people to get some of the basic answers about the product on a single page. 

I will keep updating this PAGE as and when I get questions which I think will benefit the larger audience and will post it through the twitter and other social media channels. We will go in descending order to ensure you get the latest FAQs on the top of the list.

For getting updates regularly, I would recommend, you subscribe to vXpress and Follow me on Twitter..


vCenter Operations Manager 5.X - Frequently Asked Questions

*** Last Update Date - 17th April 2014 ***

FAQ 2 -  (Muditha Gayan Dissanayaka) - I just want to know one thing, how can I get a report of actual memory usage of VMs ? Because all the reports generated by the vCOP are depend on Active memory or some other thing...

RESPONSE - Great question... But what we need to understand is that Memory Usage is a thing of the past. vCOps uses the concept of derived metrics and not the primitive metrics such as usage. Usage is a virtual world can be incorrect data as we are taking about a shared infrastructure where, Memory & CPU are shared. Hence it will make sense to look at DEMAND rather than usage.. Demand is a derived metric which is a combination of Active memory + overheads.. That's the real utilization from the Guest OS perspective. Would recommend vCOps Analyze and Predict training which can help you drill down in the concepts...



FAQ 1 -  (Muditha Gayan Dissanayaka) - One thing I want to know, how can we tell to our customers to adjust allocated memory by analyzing DEMAND in order to maximize the memory utilization, because DEMAND is very small compare to allocated memory.As an example allocated memory to an Exchange Server is 16 GB, but DEMAND will be 3-4 GB !!!!, I just want to know a proper metric or an equation to suggest our customers like " 10 GB memory allocation is enough to this Exchange Server "


RESPONSE - I think your query is more related to the Over-sized VM Report which can sometimes be crazy to show to an application owner as it completely gives recommendations on the basis of Demand and not usage. 


There are 2 things which we need to keep in mind:- 

a) vCOps in its current Avatar, does not have the option to key in the bare minimum requirement for the OS or an application which is required to get support from an OS or Application vendor, hence you cannot just blindly rightsize the VM as per the recommendation in the report. You need to start with shaving off 15 to 20% to see the application behavior but yes, you cannot go below supported minimums. Eg. you cannot go on 512 MB of RAM on a Windows 2008 Server OS, since the minimum required and supported by MS is 2GB. I would so any rightsizing by taking the minimum required for support + demand + 20% buffer for Peaks and then come out with the final size. 

This might be an enhancement you might see in the future releases. 

b) Another thing to keep in mind is the policy which you have defined for the Oversize VM calculations. It is the most understood thing in the product and I will work on a blog post soon to explain it.. Just to let you know, I recommend a setting of 80% instead of the default 1% of the time. That will give you more real world results. 




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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

VMware vCenter Operations Manager 5.x- Back to Basics!


Last month I started a series on vCenter Operations Manager Back to Basics. This series has multiple articles which can help you deploy vCOps from scratch and then configure it to ensure that you can get the best results out of your deployment.



I will update this page regularly as I do more parts in this series. This page can be bookmarked as the ready reference for someone learning about the product, troubleshooting it or deploying it in a customer engagement. I will update as I write and publish more.







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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Part 3 - vCOps Cluster Utilization Dashboard - Bringing it all together!

This is the last and final part of a 3 post series on creating a vCOps Cluster Utilization Dashboard. Before you read or implement this part on your instance of vCenter Operations Manager, you need to ensure that you follow the following articles:-


Part 2 - Creating Supermetrics for Cluster Utilization Dashboard in vCOps!


So from the last part of this series you have the Supermetrics ID of all the Supermetrics which you have created in your environment. We have 8 supermetrics with id's from 1 to 8.


To begin with download the following XML file which has the code for the Utilization Metrics:-



Open this file in a notepad after downloading it and now replace the shown metrics with the supermetrics ID which you have captured in the part 2 of this post. For me the Supermetrics ID is from 1 to 8 & I have highlighted the same. You need to edit the file with the supermetric ID corresponding to your instance of vCOps.

WARNING - DO NOT CHANGE ANYTHING ELSE IN THE FILE NOR THE NAME OF THE FILE. LEAVE EVERYTHING AS IT IS.

Here is how the file will look like and the values you need to edit.


STEP 1 - Place the edited xml file in a specific location of the UI VM

1- Use an SCP software to login to the UI VM using the root credentials. I am using WinSCP.

2- Change the directory to the following location /usr/lib/vmware-vcops/tomcat-enterprise/webapps/vcops-custom/WEB-INF/classes/resources/reskndmetrics


3- Drag and drop the 3-Cluster Wise Utilization - int-file-ver2.xml file from your system where you downloaded it to this directory as shown in the screenshot below.




4- Right click on the target file and click on Properties to change the permission level to 644 (For Read & Execute rights) as shown below.






You are done with STEP 1. Let's look at STEP 2. Before that download the dashboard xml which you need to import from here:-


STEP 2 - Import the dashboard in vCOps Custom UI

1- Login to vCOps Custom UI with an ID with Administrative Privileges.

2- Click on the Import Option under Dashboard Tools.


3- Browse to the location where you have saved the 3-Cluster Wise Utilization-DB-ver2 and click on Import.

4- You will get a dialog box that your dashboard it successfully imported. Close the same and click on the Dashboards Menu to find a new dashboard named "CLUSTER WISE UTILIZATION"

5- Click on this and you will get the dashboard which we saw in the beginning of this post. Ain't it simple :-)

6- In case you do not see a blank dashboard, Edit the Resources Widget on the Left Pane, Browse to Resource Kinds - > Cluster Compute Resource -> Click on All Attributes once and click on OK. This will get you the list of the clusters and you will be good to go!!


Hope you enjoy this dashboard :-)

Closing this series. Will see you with another custom dashboard soon. Till then!!


********************************Update 29-July-2014*******************************

As per the comments from Jeff and Kenneth, post implementing the steps mentioned in this 3 part blog post, they had a Blue Box with a question mark and No Data written on the CPU-TOTAL CAPACITY and MEMORY-TOTAL CAPACITY

The Blue Box represents that the data is not being collected for the metric for that particular object. On investigation it was found that the metrics of CPU Total (Mhz) and Memory Total (Kb) were not being collected on the vCOps instance since they were running a balance profile for metrics collection. Here are the steps to enable collection.

Login to Custom UI - Environment - Configuration - Attribute Packages - Select Adapter Kind as VMware Adapter - Select Resource Kind as Cluster Compute Resource - Select Default Attributes and Click on OK - Expand CPU Usage and Check Total CPU - Expand Memory and Check Total Memory) - Click on Okay. Log out of vCOps and login after 5 minutes.



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Monday, April 14, 2014

Part 2 - Creating Supermetrics for Cluster Utilization Dashboard in vCOps!

Continuing from the previous part where I gave you an overview of the Cluster Utilization Dashboard, in this post we will create all the 8 Supermetrics required for this dashboard. We will start with one example, wherein I will give you step by step instructions and you would need to repeat the steps for the rest of the Supermetrics.

To begin with let's look at the Supermetrics which we need to create:-



CREATING THE SUPERMETRICS

Let's create the SM 1. Here we need to get the Total VMs a cluster can host, hence to get that number we will add Total VMs deployed so far with the Total Remaining. This is how the formula would look like:-




Note:- For someone new to super metric concept, I would recommend you read this white paper from VMware.

1- Login to vCOps Custom UI with a user with appropriate access rights.

2- Click on Environment -> Super Metrics










3- Click on the Add New icon on this window to create a new super metric.











4-  Configure your super metric as shown in figure below. Follow the steps from 1 to 5 and click on OK


5- Now you need to configure the rest of the 8 Super metrics the same was as I showed you the first one. Here are the formulas which can help you get to the correct metric.


SM 2




SM 3




SM 4



SM 5



SM 6



SM 7




SM 8




6- Once you have created all the Supermetrics, your list will appear as mine. Please make sure that you note down all the Supermetrics ID as we would need them in PART 3 when we bring this all together. For me they are Number 1 to 8.



CREATING A SUPERMETRICS PACKAGE AND ADDING THE SUPERMETRICS

We will now create a Supermetric package where we will add all these Supermetrics and then apply them on the clusters of my environment to start calculating this metric.

7- Click on Package Editor and click on the + symbol to add a package.




8- Since all these Supermetrics are for Cluster level, give it a name, I call it SM-CLUSTER. Put a check against all the supermetrics you want to add to this package. You can then setup DT configuration if required else just click on OK.





APPLYING THE SUPERMETRICS PACKAGE ON THE EXISTING & NEW CLUSTERS

Now that your Supermetrics package is ready, you need to apply the same on the existing clusters and also apply the same on the Cluster Compute Resource kind to ensure that all these supermetrics are calculated for any new cluster which you bring into vCenter Operations Manager. Here are the steps:-


9- Click on Environment -> Environment Overview.

10- On the left pane navigate to Resource Kinds -> Cluster Compute Resources -> Default Attributes as shown in the screenshot below. This will list all the existing clusters in your environment.



11- Select all the clusters and click on the Edit Button to edit the properties of the selected cluster. If you have a lot of clusters then you can select the 1st item (Press the CTRL + SHIFT) on the keyboard and select the last item. This will select all the clusters. Click on the Edit button as shown below.



12- Under Supermetric package apply the package, SM-CLUSTER which we created in Step 8 by clicking on the drop down arrow as shown below & click on OK. This will apply all the supermetrics on all the existing clusters.



13 - Finally, let us apply this package on the Cluster Compute Resource Kinds to ensure that every new cluster has these metrics by default. Click on Environment -> Configuration -> Resource Kinds Default.

14 - Select Cluster Compute Resource on the Left pane and Select the SM-CLUSTER package under super metric package & click on OK.




Alright, so we are done with the trivial part.. In the Next Part, I will help you bring together these Supermetrics and an XML file which I have created for you guys to download to get your final Cluster Utilization Dashboard.

Till then - stay tuned...



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