Monday, October 26, 2015

Virtual Machine Capacity Profiles in vRealize Operations 6.1

Let me start this article with this statement, "vRealize Operations Manager 6.1 is probably the best UI for an enterprise Performance, Capacity or Monitoring tool I have ever seen". I must congratulate the VMware R&D folks and the Product Management to transform vCenter Operations to vRealize Operations in a beautiful way. Yes I work for VMware and this might sound bias, but I would encourage you to use the product once and I am sure you would agree with me about this transformation for good.

While the UI has become amazingly intuitive, the great news is that simplification of the product from a feature-functionality standpoint is definitely another area where I am liking the product more than what I use to. One of such a feature is the Capacity Remaining Breakdown.

We all know that vROps has the capability of trend analysis and forecasting for capacity on the basis of policies which are pre-defined by IT for an organization or for an environment. One of the outcomes of the policies is to derive the CAPACITY REMAINING. This derived metric uses either the Demand or Allocation model for capacity planning and determines the number of VMs Remaining (in other words, the number of VMs which can be deployed on a container before it is declared full). A container here is a logical abstract of resources and are denoted by an ESXi host, a resource pool, a cluster, a virtual datacenter, a vCenter Server or it could also be the entire Universe.

If you remember the One Click cluster capacity dashboard which I created for vCOps 5.x here and then re-created for vROps 6.x here, you would notice that I plot the VM Remaining value which denotes the number of VMs which are left in a given cluster. Here are the screenshots where I am pointing at both the dashboards with a little explanation:

Dashboard with vCOps 5.x

If you notice the highlighted fields in RED, you can clearly see that, I am showcasing the number of VMs left in the cluster & I am showcasing the number of VMs left in the cluster resource wise, such as CPU, Memory, Disk & Network. In this case, the number of VMs remaining is calculated using the following formula:

VM Remaining = (Total Resources Average VM Profile Size) - VMs Deployed

Remember the Average VM Profile Size here is automatically determined by vROps and hence the VMs Remaining would be of that Profile Size. This size can bee seen easily under the analysis tab of vROps/vCOps.

Dashboard with vROps 6.x

Now lets's look at the Dashboard which I created for version 6.x (to be precise any version of vROps 6.x except 6.1).

Here you can notice that apart from the VM Remaining metric, I have four profiles defined which are showing the VM remaining. So the profiles take 4 VM profiles into consideration Small, Average, Medium & Large. Well this is better but not best because again, we are dependent on the VM profile sizes which are defined automatically by vROps.

Now with vROps 6.1, this has changed a little bit and for the best. Let me show you what I am talking about. If we look at vROps 6.0.x, we can see that the default 4 profiles here:

Select a Cluster from the Inventory List -> Click on Analysis Tab -> Click on Capacity Remaining and you would see the 4 profiles and the VMs remaining.

Here you can see that we have 4 profiles which are showing the virtual machines remaining in the cluster. If you click on the black triangle on any of the profiles, it would display the Profile Definition calculated automatically by vROps, see the screenshot below:

Remember, this is fixed and cannot be altered with any version of vROps except version 6.1. Yes, you heard it right, you can define custom profile sizes in vROps 6.1 which can match the standard offerings from your service catalog (if you have one) and make the results more predictable for the business in terms of how many more VMs and what type of more VMs before you actually run out of capacity. Read the above again. Yeah.. THIS IS SUPERCOOL because now I have better visibility into capacity remaining which resonates to my business and not just a random size.

Without further ado let's have a look at the same on vROps 6.1.

While you see the standard profiles here defined out of the box, you also have an opportunity to click on that box highlighted in RED and click on the + Sign to define a profile of your own. This is how you can get more predictive results which relate to your own environment. Let us click on the plus sign to add a new profile.

Let us fill this up and see what inputs go into creating this profile:

You can clearly see the options available to either model out of an existing VM or define your own profile. You even have the option to model anything which you are running capacity planning on, whether Virtual Machine, Datastores or 3rd party object. Finally you can chose between Allocation based Capacity Modelling or Demand based Capacity Modelling. Let's click on OK to save this and refresh the window to check if the new profile is available:

You can see that the new profile is available now, however the calculation on the number of VMs remaining shows a question mark. This is because the next Capacity Calculation would happen at 9 PM in the night. This is the default time of the vROps instance to run the capacity engine and redo all the capacity calculations every night.

So, wait for one more day and you would start seeing values there. Or wait for for my next post where I will post a tweak by which you can Force the Capacity engine to run on demand ;-) (GRIN..). Till then, enjoy the new feature and implement it to meet your business requirements.

And do not forget to SHARE & SPREAD THE KNOWLEDGE!!


  1. Hello!

    I read sarcasm in "Or wait for for my next post where I will post a tweak by which you can Force the Capacity engine to run on demand", but I must make sure...

    Does such a tweak exist?



    1. You can kick off the capacity calculations but changing things like Capacity and Time remaining settings, for eg. CPU over commitment ratio etc. Change them in the policy and save. Then wait for 5 to 10 minutes and change them back again to the original value.. This usually forces the capacity engine to run and calculate all the metrics. It has worked for me with 6.0 and 6.1. Have not tried this on 6.2

  2. How do you reference the new custom profile in the dashboard? I have added the profile successfully and it shows the correct numbers but I cannot find the metric I need to use to show that figure in my dashboard.

    1. Hi Brian,

      The custom profile sizes and the VMs remaining are not available as metrics today.

      They can only be viewed under Capacity Remaining Tab. You can try using capacity widgets on a dashboard to provide that information too.

    2. See this blog post about adding Custom Profiles to the Metrics in the GUI.