Cloud Managment

IT Teams Need To Finally Implement Self-Service Automation

Seven things, including Self-Service Automation, that IT teams must do to retain relevance with end users.

I was talking with an industry analyst (think Gartner, Forrester, IDC) the other day around a broad range of trends impacting IT. Somehow we got onto a discussion around the issue of IT teams losing relevance with their line of business customers. I can&#rsquo;t recall the conversation exactly but it went something like this. &#rsquo;David, I talk with different IT teams every week and many of them ask me the same question: &#rsquo;What can we as IT do to be more relevant to our end users [line of business]?&#rdquo;.

Jim (not his real name) told me that the first question he asks these teams in response is &#rsquo;Are you offering your customers self-service?&#rdquo;. This analyst told me that the answer he hears back most often is &#rsquo;no, we haven&#rsquo;t gotten to that yet&#rdquo;. Jim then goes on to advise these teams to A) leverage an automated approach to service delivery to speed up resource delivery (if they are not already doing so); and B) be sure to also implement self-service that makes it drop dead easy for end users to get the services they want.

If you think about it, not implementing self-service is denying the reality that line of business partners have choices beyond enterprise IT. It also fails to recognize that increasingly our expectations of how things should work, at work, are shaped by our personal and consumer experiences. Self-service and the near instant gratification that comes from it just makes more sense today than submitting tickets and waiting weeks for resources to be available for your next critical project.

My Top &#rsquo;X&#rdquo; List For IT

This exchange got me thinking about the big-ticket items that most IT teams must tackle to be more relevant to their end users. If the # 1 thing that IT teams must do to retain or regain relevance is embrace self-service; what does a top ten list look like? Sorry to disappoint but I don&#rsquo;t have a top ten list. There are however some things that I feel do stand apart from the rest of the pack when it comes to looking at how IT operates. So, in that spirit here is my list of the top seven things IT must do to remain relevant.

1. Implement Self Service for Resource Requests
2. Market IT Services to your End Users
3. Enable Infrastructure as Code
4. Become an IT Developer
5. Begin to Think about Multi-Cloud Networking
6. Go Beyond Infrastructure and Deliver Complete Stacks
7. Help App Dev Teams Move Containers to Production

There are undoubtedly other things that IT teams can do that would increase their relevance to line-of-business (LOB) partners. Having said that, I do think this is a pretty good list to start with. There&#rsquo;s too much here to cover in a single blog so I&#rsquo;ll elaborate on each of these in this blog and several others that will follow. Hopefully, along the way I will provide you enough insight on each to give you a good idea of what it is that IT must do along with some additional thoughts on how to get it done.

Starting with Self Service

According to Wikipedia and depending on how you look at it, Amazon Web Serviceshas been around since 2002 or 2006. Early adopters flocked to it because of two reasons in my opinion. The first reason was an ability to get infrastructure fast. The second reason was the ability to get these resources without having to file one or more tickets with the help desk.

Today, implementing the ability to get end users resources fast is simply a matter of automation. Many organizations have adopted automation to dramatically speed up the provisioning of infrastructure resources. Application level resources is a different matter but we&#rsquo;ll cover that elsewhere.

I have first-hand experience talking with many IT teams who used to take 4 or more weeks to provision resources in the past but now routinely do it in under in under thirty minutes. Of course, with Amazon you can get those resources in just a few minutes, so taking 30 minutes or so is still longer than what it would take using AWS. But let&#rsquo;s be honest - how many developers find out about a project and then need to be coding it 5 minutes later? Thirty minutes is plenty fast for most needs.

While many organizations have, or are in the process of adopting automation to speed up service delivery, not nearly as many have implemented self-service as part of that process. Many still rely on existing request fulfilment processes that existed before automation was implemented. The most common example of this is organizations using Service Now for requesting resources, which in turn generates a ticket to the platform automation team which then initiates an automated process to fulfill the request.

Leveraging an existing ticketing process isn&#rsquo;t necessarily a bad approach and there are some good reasons for doing it. The main reason that I am aware of is that this approach means that any existing process for determining who has access to specific resources doesn&#rsquo;t need to be re-codified into the automation that supports self-service.

That&#rsquo;s not a bad reason to keep the existing process, but remember that if you are an internal IT team, your competing with the public cloud and on the public cloud – self-service means self-service. No tickets and no help desk. So, going the extra mile to enable true self service where entitlements and other forms of governance are matched between users and resources might be worth it for your IT team given the world we live and compete in.

Now a few caveats around the idea of self-service. Different end users have different needs. Many end users are perfectly happy selecting resources from a pre-populated catalog. VMware vRealize Automationis a great example of an automation platform that supports this model of self-service.

In this model, blueprints can be created to represent everything from a single machine to a complex, multi-tier application, with storage, networking, security and even monitoring agents all represented in the blueprint. These blueprints then become catalog items that once selected by end user are instantiated in near real time.

Other users might prefer a self-service model that is closer to what they would experience on Amazon. This model is declarative in nature and resources are requested either through a CLI or through an API (using scripts or through another tool) in the form of small building blocks that represent infrastructure elements such as compute, storage, or network. For IT teams looking for such a model to satisfy their end users, VMware Integrated OpenStack(VIO) might be the best choice for a service delivery automation platform.

A hybrid model might be the best choice for others. In this model vRealize Automation is used to offer VM level resources from a catalog but it is also used to reserve resources for a VIO based developer cloud that an App Dev team would like to implement. In this model vRealize Automation would also be used to provision the components necessary to instantiate a VIO based Developer Cloud for that same App Dev team.

Just for completeness, I should point out that vRealize Automation can also support the idea of blueprints as code, where blueprints are created or modified using YAML. These blueprints can then be imported into vRealize Automation and offered to end users through the catalog. These same blueprints can of course be exported as YAML as well.

The Right Self-Service Model for Your End Users

Hopefully you can see that solutions to the self-service problem exist along a continuum. Figuring out what type of self-service model to implement is very much a function of understanding your users. There are different approaches and you won&#rsquo;t be sure which approach makes the most sense unless you are actively engaged in understanding the needs of your users.

Having a deep understanding of what your end users need is also the prerequisite for our next &#rsquo;must do item&#rdquo; which is effectively marketing what you do offer to your end users. More to come on that in the next installment of this series.

Learn More

• Visit VMware vRealize productpage
• Visit VMware Integrated OpenStack product page
• Try our Automate ITHands-on Labs
• Try our Intelligent OperationsHands-on Labs

The post IT Teams Need To Finally Implement Self-Service Automation appeared first on VMware Cloud Management.

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IT and DevOps: Hear from our GM and Customers

Spotlight session MGT3136SU at VMworld 2017 Las Vegas:

How DevOps Is Transforming IT: People, Process, Technology

In this spotlight session, Ajay Singh, VMware Cloud Management General Manager and SVP, will interview a group of our top customers about how IT can support DevOps.

As companies are continuing innovation on the path to digital transformation, they need new tools, skill sets, and organizational structures to support the new DevOps paradigms. Hear from the CIOs of some of our major customers about the challenges they have met and the solutions they have put in place, and our own VP of Engineering – the internal VMware DevOps “customer 0”.

Julie Ray,SVP, ECIO,Fannie Mae

David Coker,Senior VP, Information Systems,Polaris Alpha

Sandhya Sridharan,Vice President Engineering,VMware

 

Drinking our own Champagne

Learn about VMware usage of our own tools for DevOps to drive efficiencies into the VMware organization while improving products we are building for customers. We will talk about the project Cava and how we do DevOps using our own vRealize solutions at the Cloud Management Business Unit of VMware. We will show a demo of a self-service portal for provisioning the infrastructure and applications used by 450+ software developers and release engineers on a daily basis. See how we drink our own champagne!

 

How to Register

Planning to attend the upcoming VMworld 2017 inLas VegasorBarcelona? This is still a good time toregister, and see you soon!

 

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Only in This Session: VMware Cloud Management BU shows off our multi-cloud features

Spotlight session MGT3137SU: Multi-Cloud is Eating the World. Join the Party!

Only in this session will you be able to see in one place, how multiple VMware Cloud Management products (vRealize) can now, or will in the near future, support your multi-cloud use cases!

In this spotlight session, Sajai Krishnan, VMware Vice President of Product Marketing for Cloud Management BU, and our product management teams will share how our cloud management solutions can help you to be effective in this multi-cloud world.

 

 

You be the Judge!

The IT world of tomorrow will be multi-cloud, we know that much for sure; But how do you manage, secure, and analyze your IT in that new world? In this roadmap-level technical session, VMware Cloud Management product teams will share their existing technology and near-term vision for the management solutions in the multi-cloud world!
In an &#rsquo;American Idol&#rdquo; contest style, they will present several solutions covering a number of pain points:

  • Managing cloud risk, costs and capacity across different spaces
  • Deploying infrastructure and applications across different hypervisors, clouds, and environments using platform-agnostic provisioning blueprints
  • Securing applications and services deployed across multiple clouds
  • Leveraging cloud-agnostic pre-built content marketplace
  • Building a consistent platform for performance monitoring and troubleshooting at scale across clouds
You will be able to judge in real time how relevant each use case is to you, and whether you like the solution presented – the depth, the innovation, the ease of use, and other factors. You be the judge!

You will also hear from our customers who use multiple clouds today, and will share their experience and lessons learned.

 

How to RegisterPlanning to attend the upcoming VMworld 2017 inLas VegasorBarcelona? This is still a good time toregister, and see you soon!

The post Only in This Session: VMware Cloud Management BU shows off our multi-cloud features appeared first on VMware Cloud Management.

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Intelligent Operations Sessions at VMworld 2017 Las Vegas

Get excited about VMworld 2017 Las Vegas! With over 500 sessions across all categories, it may be overwhelming to understand which ones can help your organization with an intelligent operations solution – across physical, virtual and cloud environments. I would like to help you highlight the sessions that will help you plan, manage, and scale your SDDC and cloud deployments with intelligent operations. These cover the following products: vRealize Suite Standard, vRealize Operations, vRealize Log Insight, and vRealize Business for Cloud

Sunday, Aug 27

When, type Session ID Description
9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. [ELW180102U] vRealize Suite Standard - Automated and Proactive Management Workshop

vRealize Operations works in conjunction with vSphere to automatically balance workloads between hosts both within and across clusters to alleviate existing or predicted resource contention. Come learn about the vRealize Operations action functionality that allows alert-driven automated remediation of problems.

1:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m

 

[MGT2653QU] Case Study: VMware vRealize Operations Provides Single-Pane View of Global Data Centers to Meet Performance and Uptime Requirements

Experience how a leading global gaming software company chose VMware vRealize Operations to proactively manage its global data center so it could focus on successfully launching its high-quality blockbuster games worldwide. Rupesh will dive into business/technical requirements, challenges, architectural design, and implementation of a global vRealize cluster. He will demo key vRealize features that helped proactively solve operations issues, and show how to manage capacity planning with vRealize.

3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

[MGT1260QU] Help Customers Make Informed Infrastructure Spending Decisions with Hybrid Cloud Assessment

Hybrid Cloud Assessment answers your cloud cost questions in less than 3 hours. HCA is a great candidate to initiate cloud journey conversations with your customers. It helps to understand existing private cloud costs, compares public and private cloud costs, and enables IT teams to confidently share information on actual costs with their lines of business.

3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

[ELW180101U]vRealize Suite Standard - Cloud Planning and Optimization Workshop

You can gain insights into your infrastructure and compare the costs of running workloads in your private cloud versus select public clouds. You can also optimize compute resource utilization and improve planning and forecasting. vRealize Operations and vRealize Business for Cloud improve operational efficiency by increasing capacity utilization and resource reclamation.

— Monday, Aug 28 —

When, type Session ID Description
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

[MGT2008BU] Break Your Logjam by Leveraging the Power of vRealize Log Insight

Are you and your organizations getting buried in logs? The scale of machine-generated data is increasing exponentially, and it&#rsquo;s become overly complicated to make any sense of it. Break through the logjam with VMware vRealize Log Insight. Log Insight provides the ability to make sense of all the log data.

2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

[MGT2185BU] 360-Degree Troubleshooting and Remediation

How can you troubleshoot issues quickly to get to the root of problems in your environment and resolve them rapidly? The answer is by leveraging the power of VMware vRealize Operations and VMware vRealize Log Insight together with the VMware software-designed data center products. To illustrate this, we will cover how to achieve the best level of integration between the solutions, then show you how to dig into the data and get to the root of a problem.

4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

[MGT1758BU] Effectively Operating an Automated Cloud

While VMware vRealize Automation provisions and manages apps across the hybrid cloud, VMware vRealize Operations provides a holistic view of all infra and apps. Together, vRealize Automation and VMware vRealize Operations deliver a comprehensive cloud management platform. Join this technical session to gain a deeper understanding of the VMware Cloud Management Platform in action.

5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

[MGT2855BU] Operationalize Your World: Moving Your Operations Closer to Your Architectures

We all know that technology is just one wheel of the cart. People and processes have an equal role to play. It is important to break the shackles of the primitive processes and people mindset to operate the new architectures you have built to obtain the agility and ROI for which you adopted cloud in the first place. During this session, we will give you the mantra to success and help bring your outdated operations closure to your innovative architectures.

5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

[MGT1999BU] It’s the Apps: Fully Loaded Application Monitoring with vRealize Operations

In an era in which software is consuming the world, applications are what drive your business. Applications are the ultimate reason for the infrastructure to exist. Even though the infrastructure might seem healthy, your application servers might be bringing the business to a halt. In this session, we will use VMware vRealize Operations, extended with endpoint operations agents and management packs, to look at all the aspects of the production application servers.

 

— Tuesday, Aug 29 —

When, type Session ID Description
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

[ELW180601U] vRealize Suite - Getting Started Workshop

Walk through the integration points of the vRealize Suite, including vRealize Operations, vRealize Automation, vRealize Business for Cloud, and Log Insight. The vRealize Code Stream Management Pack demonstrates how to keep multiple environments synchronized. These powerful individual components work even better together, with less time, cost, and effort.

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

[MGT1733BU] Scaling and Extending vROps for the Enterprise

In the first half of this two-part session, John Yaralian will focus on understanding the new VMware vRealize Operations scale capabilities and discuss best practices of deploying and maintaining vRealize Operations in your largest environments. In the second half, Rob Frohnapfel will discuss how to extend the services and features of your highly-scalable vRops deployment to deliver tangible business results.

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

[MGT2426BU] Alliant Credit Union Cashes in on True Database Visibility in vRealize Operations

When there is a problem with your application or your production database, where does the blame fall? Do your VMs need more memory? What about CPU? Many teams spend too much time trying to figure out if the virtual infrastructure is the real problem or not. See how Alliant Credit Union uses vRealize Operations to immediately identify the true bottleneck of any critical database issues.

2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

[ELW180102U] vRealize Suite Standard - Automated and Proactive Management Workshop

vRealize Operations works in conjunction with vSphere to automatically balance workloads between hosts both within and across clusters to alleviate existing or predicted resource contention. Also learn about the vRealize Operations action functionality that allows alert-driven automated remediation of problems.

2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

[MGT2323GU] Experience the Value of vRealize Log Insight Content Packs

Hear from VMware product management, R&D, systems engineers, and existing customers to discuss the purpose of content packs for vRealize Log Insight. We will share best practices, success stories, benefits, use cases, and opportunities to create new content packs and/or to refresh existing ones.

 

 

— Wednesday, Aug 30 —

When, type Session ID Description
8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

[MGT1568BU] Case Study: Altisource and VMware—v (We) Realize Business for Cloud Together!

Sumanth Kumar G from Altisource and Jeevan Prabhu from VMware collectively believe it is only when a profound customer such as Altisource brings forward its enterprise-level key business use cases that we get an opportunity to level up the credence by several notches for the solution we provide and “engineer” customer delight!

10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

[MGT2508BU] Achieve Troubleshooting Mastery with vRealize Suite (or intelligent operations)

VMware vRealize Operations Manager can now help you more quickly determine the root cause of the problem. In this talk, we will walk you through a few common problems that our customers see constantly. You will also learn how they pinpoint and investigate those problems using the new vRealize Operations Manager intuitive user interface.

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

[MGT1218PU]Real World IT Gurus Share Their Perspective on Operations Management for the Multicloud Era

As organizations adopt software-defined data center and multicloud strategies, they need to rethink how to manage data centers. Progressive IT organizations become like service providers, striving to accelerate service delivery while maintaining control and reducing costs. Join this interactive discussion as four VMware customers present their experiences, discuss tools and processes they&#rsquo;ve implemented, and share results.

2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

[MGT1217BU] Intelligent Operations Management from Infra to Applications and Across the Software-Defined Data Center

Learn what’s new with emphasis on vRealize Operations. Learn about the latest innovations in performance management, capacity planning and optimization, workload balancing and predictive DRS, log data analysis, and cost transparency. Join this session to see how vRealize Suite Standard can empower you to manage infrastructure and applications across any cloud.

4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

[MGT2231BU] How VMware implemented the Self-healing Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipeline using vRealize Suite

In this session we will explain the implementation of the self-healing CI/CD pipeline and automation using vRealize Suite products. This solution leverages vRealize Code Stream to orchestrate the pipeline, vRealize Automation to deploy the test beds, vRealize Operations to monitor the test beds and vRealize Log Insight(vRLI) to analyze the pipeline failures. The session will focus on detection of pipeline failures and automated remediation through the self-healing solution.

 

— Thursday, Aug 31 —

When, type Session ID Description
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

[ELW180102U] vRealize Suite Standard - Automated and Proactive Management Workshop

vRealize Operations works in conjunction with vSphere to automatically balance workloads between hosts both within and across clusters to alleviate existing or predicted resource contention. Also learn about the vRealize Operations action functionality that allows alert-driven automated remediation of problems.

10:45 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

[MTE4743U]Trend Everything in vRealize Log Insight with Jim McMahon II

Join Jim for a roundtable discussion using VMware vRealize Log Insight to identify Service Delivery trends empowering Enterprises to focus resources where their needed such as additional development on vRealize Automation catalog items or proactively identifying missed SLAs in vSphere Replication. It&#rsquo;s not just for capturing errors anymore.

12:45 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

[MTE4735U] Data-driven capacity planning across clouds with vRealize Business for Cloud

Understand the cost and consumption or utilization of clouds, communicate the data with the consumers through showback, helping them operate within the budget, and plan hardware procurement and public cloud spend better. Also, learn how, through “what-if analysis”, you can identify which applications are good candidates to move to VMware Cloud on AWS.

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

[MGT2338BU] The Happy Nomadic VM: A vRealize Story

This session will follow the happy nomadic life of a virtual machine (VM) hosting a business-critical application. We will watch as VMware vRealize helps bring the VM into the virtual world, and it is given a safe home. We will discuss how it is automatically moved around the software-defined data center to different hosts, clusters, and datastores.

 

 

 

So, go ahead and register in advance!

 

 

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Leveraging the Platform you Know, Realizing the Benefits of the Self-Healing Data Center

That pinnacle of IT operational perfection—the self-healing data center—may seema nearly unobtainable goal, but it&#rsquo;s more a reality today than ever. If we were to package the SHDC, you could say that in 2017 VMware released its next-gen version, with complete cloud management and operational intelligence now available for all software-defined infrastructure from a single, easy to use platform. But, of course, there&#rsquo;s more work to be done. Today our vRealize Operations 6.6 management platform delivers state of the art in what can be done, with solid platform extensibility for what still lies ahead.

Despite amazing advances throughout the industry in the past few years, IT shops still struggle with the sheer magnitude of administrative tasks demanded of them. And many enterprises still have at least a portion of their critical applications running on-premises; the data center is now a hub for all applications, whether the workloads are managed there all the time or not.

The self-healing data center promises a new day for the IT admin, finally freeing them to focus entirely on innovation, customer service and delivering amazing customer experiences. Automated remediation delivers fixes to most routine issues and shuffles workloads where there is outage to ensure business continuity. As Forrester recently stated, thanks to innovations from VMware, workload placement—once a major hit to IT&#rsquo;s time—is nearly a thing of the past.

Why does it matter? Because IT shops are still struggling greatly with administrative overload. While innovations from the software-defined data center to cloud have greatly streamlined enterprise operations, the enterprise itself continues to grow and continually add new apps to the mix. Witness containers, which were barely on the horizon less than 10 years ago: while it was once thought they might replace VM&#rsquo;s, it turns out VM&#rsquo;s are the most efficient way to deliver containers—which sometimes live for just minutes or hours—safely and reliably.

The foundation of any self-healing data center is the management control plane

This platform manages workload placement, automation and remediation based on policies rather than rules. vRealize Operations 6.X brought automated remediation and predictive distributed resource scheduling (pDRS), among other key functions, into the mix for today&#rsquo;s dynamic workloads. vRealize Operations today delivers all the ingredients for a self-healing data center in one platform: automation, lifecycle management, proactive alerting, predictive scheduling and a single but extensible point of control.

Ultimately, the fully automated, self-healing data center ought to be able to run even more efficiently than one run manually, but today that remains elusive, especially for shops running an amalgam of tools for data center, cloud and a variety of applications. In fact, a recent Forrester reportshows that IT still fights a lot of fires in capacity management. Yet interviews with VMware cloud management platform users show a 20% improvement in overall efficiency, a 75% reduction in unplanned downtime, and a 10% reduction in hardware costs.

Cloud Management - The Control Plane of the SDDC

Workload placement and optimization is a big factor in IT admin overhead

It&#rsquo;s easy to see why even smaller shops opt for solutions that automate that never-ending task. But without intelligent workload management—using a solution such as VMware that applies cost-benefit analysis to every workload based on policies set by IT—most solutions scurry workloads about without much thought as to benefit. Clearly a workload moved to run at less efficiency is not the goal, but without policy management workloads can move for a marginal upside that becomes less operationally efficient than keeping it where it is (see related post here).

With predictive DRS (distributed resource scheduler), workload placement is a step closer to fully automation. vRealize Operations 6.6 learns the behavior of apps to easily identify—and eventually anticipate—what is an anomaly, what is a problem, and what is normal for that app. To the extent that the admin is involved, what that means is incredible decision support—like having an assistant just bubble up the &#rsquo;net-net&#rdquo; in cases where intervention is required.

With an increasingly dynamic environment, platform extensibility ofanalytics and management to the broader datacenterinfrastructure and common enterprise applications arekey to performance and of course to offer customers the flexibility they expect. Our relationship with Blue Medora delivers great value here: their extensibility packs for vRealize Operations deliver functionality you can&#rsquo;t get from any other vendor.

And with vRealize Business for Cloud you gain cloud cost visibility, which helps determine which workloads could exist beneficially in public cloud infrastructure. Again a single platform is key here: any time third party add-ons are used there could be conflict and/or efficiency lost to tool alignment rather than ecosystem management.

That holy grail—a full night&#rsquo;s sleep thanks to a data center that runs itself—may still be in the future. VMware has the most mature offering out there and on-track to get you there sooner than anyone.

 

The post Leveraging the Platform you Know, Realizing the Benefits of the Self-Healing Data Center appeared first on VMware Cloud Management.

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Getting Insights into Configuration & Compliance with vROps 6.6 Dashboards

In my last post, I discussed the Capacity & Utilization use cases and how vRealize Operations Manager 6.6 can answer those questions with the help of out of the box dashboards. We also looked at how the Getting Started Page can be used to dive into each of these use cases.

In this post we will talk aboutConfiguration & Compliance.The Configuration and Compliance category caters to the administrators who are responsible to manage configuration drifts within a virtual infrastructure. Since most of the issues in a virtual infrastructure are a result of inconsistent configurations, dashboards in this category highlight the inconsistencies at various levels such as Virtual Machines, Hosts, Clusters and Virtual Networks. You can view a list of configuration improvements that helps you to avoid problems that are caused because of misconfigurations.

Here is how Configuration & Compliance shows up on the Getting Started Page:

 

Key questions these dashboards help you answer are :

 

1- Are the vSphere clusters consistently configured for high availability and optimal performance?

2- Are the ESXi hosts consistently configured and available to use?

3- Are the Virtual Machines sized and configured as per recommended best practices?

4- Are virtual switches configured optimally?

5- Is the environment configured in accordance with the vSphere Hardening Guide?

 

Let us look at each of these dashboard and I will provide a summary of what these dashboards can do for you along with a quick view of the dashboard:

Cluster Configuration

The Cluster Configuration Dashboard provides you a quick overview of your vSphere cluster configurations. It highlights the areas which are important to deliver performance and availability to your virtual machines. The dashboard quickly highlights if there are clusters which are not configured for DRS, HA or Admission Control to avoid any resource bottlenecks or availability issues in case of a host failure.

The heatmap on this dashboard, quickly identifies if you have hosts where vMotion was not enabled as this would not allow the VMs to move from or to that host. This could cause potential performance issues on the VMs living on that host if the host gets too busy. The dashboard also provides you a quick view of how consistently your clusters are sized and whether the hosts on each of those clusters are consistently configured.

The Cluster Properties view in this dashboard allows you to easily report on all these parameters by simply exporting the data and share the same with relevant stakeholders within your organization.

To see this dashboard in actionclick here

 

Host Configuration

The Host Configuration dashboard provides you a quick overview of your ESXi host configurations and capture inconsistencies to take corrective actions. Along with configurations, the dashboard measures the ESXi hosts against the vSphere best practices and calls out if it finds a deviation which can impact the performance or availability of your virtual infrastructure.

While you can always view this data using the dashboards, the ESXi Configuration view on this page allows you to export this data and share the same with administrator responsible to manage the hosts.

To see this dashboard in actionclick here

 

Network Configuration

The Network Configuration dashboard provides a detailed view of virtual switch configuration and utilization. On selecting a virtual switch you can see the list of ESXi hosts, DV port Groups and virtual machines which are being served by the select switch.

You can easily identify any misconfigurations within various network components by reviewing the properties listed in the views within the dashboard. The drill down to the virtual machine levels allows you to track important information such as IP address and MAC address assigned to the virtual machines.

A network administrator can use this dashboard to get a visibility into the virtual infrastructure network configuration.

To see this dashboard in actionclick here

 

VM Configuration

The Virtual Machine Configuration dashboard focuses on highlighting the key configurations of the virtual machines in your environment. The goal of this dashboard is to help you find inconsistencies of configuration within your virtual machines in order to take quick remediation measures. This helps you safeguard the applications which are hosted on these virtual machines by avoiding potential issues due to misconfigurations.

Some of the basic issues the dashboard focuses on includes identifying VMs running on older VMware tools versions, VMware tools not running or virtual machines running on large disk snapshots. VMs with such symptoms can lead to potential performance issues and hence it is important to ensure that they do not deviate from the defined standards.

This dashboard is complimented with an out of the box report named “Virtual Machine Inventory Summary” which can be used to report the configurations highlighted on this dashboard for quick remediation.

To see this dashboard in actionclick here

 

vSphere Hardening Compliance

The vSphere Hardening Compliance dashboard measures you environment against the vSphere Hardening Guide and lists down the objects which are non-compliant. You can see the trend of High Risk, Medium Risk and Low Risk violations and see the overall compliance score of your virtual infrastructure.

The dashboard also allows you to drill down into various components to check compliance for your ESXi hosts, Clusters, Port Groups and virtual machines using heatmaps.

Each non-compliant object is listed in the dashboard with recommendations on remediation required to secure your virtual infrastructure.

To see this dashboard in actionclick here

 

Hope this post will give you insights on how each of these dashboards can help you ensure that your environments are configured as per VMware best practices and comply to the security standards set by your organization.

 

The post Getting Insights into Configuration & Compliance with vROps 6.6 Dashboards appeared first on VMware Cloud Management.

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Manage Capacity and Utilization with vRealize Operations 6.6 Dashboards

I hope you enjoyed my last post around running production operations with out of the box dashboards with vRealize Operations Manager 6.6. While that post was focused on providing you a visibility into your environments, with this post we will drill down into the specific topic of Capacity Management in a Cloud Environment.

While I have worked with most of the roles within an IT organization, I believe the most trivial role is of person managing Capacity of a virtual environment. This role requires one to be on their feet at all the times to ensure they are able to get answers to complex problems that revolve around capacity managment. I tend to divide these complex problems into 5 simple categories:

 

1- How much Capacity do I have?

2- How is it being utilized?

3- How much Capacity is left?

4- When will I run out of Capacity?, and

5- When do I need to trigger the next purchase?

 

While the above questions sound simple, when you apply them to a Software Defined Datacenter, they become extremely complex. The complexity is primarily due to the fact that you are sharing physical resources using the hypervisor between multiple operating systems and applications riding on top of virtual machines. While the focus seems to be capacity, another major dimension which one needs to tak care of is Performance. The above mentioned role is also responsible for ensuring that all the virtual machines which are running in this environment are being Served Well. It is essential that the Capacity owner strikes a balance between Performance and Capacity which makes this problem harder to solve.

WithvRealize Operations 6.6we try to answer these questions with the use of out-of-the box dashboards. It was important that all this valuable IP was easily accessible through a centralized console which acts as an anchor for user of vRealize Operations Manager. In order to achieve this, we introuduced a“Getting Started”dashboard which would step you through some useful categories and use cases.

 

Today we will have a look at the second category which is calledCapacity and Utilization. Here is how this categoryshows up on the Getting Started Page:

As mentioned before, Capacity and Utilization category caters to the teams responsible for tracking the utilization of the provisioned capacity in there virtual infrastructure. The dashboards within this category allow you to take capacity procurement decisions, reduce wastage through reclamation, and track usage trends to avoid performance problems due to capacity shortfalls.

Key questions these dashboards help you answer are :

  • How much capacity I have, how much is used and what are the usage trends for a specific vCenter, datacenter or cluster?
  • How much Disk, vCPU or Memory I can reclaim from large VMs in my environment to reduce wastage & improve performance?
  • Which clusters have the highest resource demands?
  • Which hosts are being heavily utilized and why?
  • Which datastores are running out of disk space and who are the top consumers?
  • How is the storage capacity & utilization of my vSAN environment along with savings achieved by enabling deduplication and compression?

 

Let us look at each of these dashboard and I will provide a summary of what these dashboards can do for you along with a quick view of the dashboard:

 

Capacity Overview

The Capacity Overview Dashboard provides you a summary of the total physical capacity available across all your environments being monitored by vRealize Operations Manager. The dashboard provides a summary of CPU, Memory and Storage Capacity provisioned along with the resource reclamation opportunities available in those environments.

Since capacity decisions are mostly tied to logical resource groups, this dashboard allow you to assess Capacity and Utilization at each resource group level such as vCenter, Datacenter, Custom Datacenter or vSphere Cluster. You can quickly select an object and view it’s total capacity and used capacity to understand the current capacity situation. Capacity planning requires you to have visibility into the historical trends and future forecasts, hence the trend views within the dashboard provide you this information to predict how soon you will run out of capacity.

If you plan to report the current capacity situation to others within your organization, you can simply expand the Cluster Capacity Details view on this dashboard and export this as a report for sharing purposes.

To see this dashboard in actionclick here

 

Capacity Reclaimable

The Capacity Reclaimable Dashboard provides you a quick view of resource reclamation opportunities within your virtual infrastructure. This dashboard is focused on improving the efficiency of your environment by reducing the wastage of resources. While this wastage is usually caused by idle or powered off virtual machines another biggest contributor to this wastage is oversized virtual machines.

This dashboard allows you to select an environment and quickly view the amount of capacity which can be reclaimed from the environment in form of reclaimable CPU, Memory and Disk Space.

You can start with the view which lists down all the virtual machines running on old snapshots or are powered off. These VMs provide you the opportunity of reclaiming storage by deleting the old snapshots on them or by deleting the unwanted virtual machines. You can take these action right from this view by using the actions framework available within vRealize Operations Manager.

The dashboard provides you recommended best practices around reclaiming CPU and Memory from large virtual machines in your environment. Since large and oversized virtual machines can increase contention between VMs, you can use the phased approach of using aggressive or conservative reclamation techniques to right size your virtual machines.

To see this dashboard in actionclick here

 

vSAN Capacity Overview

The vSAN Capacity Overview dashboard provides an overview of vSAN storage capacity along with savings achieved by enabling dedupe and compression across all your vSAN clusters.

The dashboard allows you to answer key questions around capacity management such as total provisioned capacity, current and historical utilization trends and future procurement requirements. You can view things like capacity remaining, time remaining and storage reclamation opportunities to take effective capacity management decisions.

The dashboard also focuses on how vSAN is using the disk capacity by showing you a distribution of utilization amongst vSAN disks. You can view these details either as an aggregate or at individual cluster level.

To see this dashboard in actionclick here

 

Datastore Utilization

The Datastore Utilization dashboard is a quick and easy way to identify storage provisioning and utilization patterns in a virtual infrastructure. It is a best practice to have standard datastore sizes to ensure you can easily manage storage in your virtual environments. The heatmap on this dashboard plots each and every datastore monitored by vRealize Operations Manager and groups them by clusters.

The utilization pattern of these datastores is depicted by colors, where grey represent an underutilized datastore, red represents a datastore running out of disk space and green represents an optimally used datastore.

By selecting a datastore, you can see the past utilization trend and forecasted usage. The view within the dashboard will list all the virtual machines running on the selected datastore and provide you with the opportunity to reclaim storage used by large virtual machines snapshots or powered off VMs.

You can use the vRealize Operations Manager action framework to quickly reclaim resources by deleting the snapshots or unwanted powered off VMs.

To see this dashboard in actionclick here

 

Cluster Utilization

The Cluster Utilization dashboard allows you to identify the vSphere clusters that are being heavily consumed from a CPU, memory, disk, and network perspective. High or unexpected resource usage on clusters may result in performance bottlenecks. Using this dashboard you can quickly identify the clusters which are struggling to keep up with the virtual machine demand.

On selecting a cluster with high CPU, Memory, Disk or Network demand, the dashboard provides you with the list of ESXi hosts that are participating in the given cluster. If you notice imbalance between how the hosts within the selected clusters are being used, you might have an opportunity to balance the hosts by moving virtual machines within the cluster.

In situations where the cluster demand has been historically chronic virtual machines should be moved out of these clusters to avoid potential performance issues using Workload Balance. If such patterns are observed on all the clusters in a given environment, it indicates that new capacity might be required to cater to the increase in demand.

To see this dashboard in actionclick here

 

Heavy Hitter VMs

The Heavy Hitter VMs dashboard helps you identify virtual machines which are consistently consuming high amount of resources from your virtual infrastructure. In heavily overprovisioned environments, this might create resource bottlenecks resulting in potential performance issues.

With the use of this dashboard you can easily identify the resource utilization trends of each of your vSphere clusters. Along with the utilization trends, you are also provided with a list of Virtual Machines within those clusters based on their resource demands from CPU, Memory, Disk and Network within your environment. The views also analyze the workload pattern of these VMs over the past week to identify heavy hitter VMs which might be running a sustained heavy workload (measured over a day), or bursty workloads (measure using peak demand).

You can export the list of offenders using these views and take appropriate actions to distribute this demand and reduce potential bottlenecks.

To see this dashboard in actionclick here

 

Host Utilization

The Host Utilization dashboard allows you to identify the hosts that are being heavily consumed from a CPU, memory, disk, and network perspective. High or unexpected resource usage on hosts may result in performance bottlenecks. Using this dashboard you can quickly identify the hosts which are struggling to keep up with the virtual machine demand. The dashboard also provides you with the list of top 10 virtual machines to easily identify the source of this unexpected demand and take appropriate actions.

Since the demand of resources fluctuates over a period of time, the dashboard allows you to look at demand patterns over the last 24 hours to identify hosts which might have a chronic history of high demand. If such cases virtual machines should be moved out of these hosts to avoid potential performance issues. If such patterns are observed on all the hosts of a given cluster, it indicates that new capacity might be required to cater to the increase in demand.

To see this dashboard in actionclick here

 

VM Utilization

The VM Utilization Dashboard helps the VI Administrator to capture the utilization trends of any virtual machine in their environment. The primary use case is to list down the key properties of a virtual machine and the resource utilization trends for a specific time period and share the same with the VM/Application owners.

The VM/Application owners often want to look at the resource utilization trends at specific time periods where they are expecting high load on applications. Activities like, batch jobs, backup schedules, load testing etc. could be a few examples. The application owners want to ensure that VMs are not consuming 100% of the provisioned resources during these periods as that could lead to resource contention within applications causing performance issues.

To see this dashboard in actionclick here

Hope this post will give you insights on how each of these dashboards can help you manage capacity and performance and ensure that you have answer to those difficult questions at the back of you hand. Stay tuned for more information on other categories.

 

The post Manage Capacity and Utilization with vRealize Operations 6.6 Dashboards appeared first on VMware Cloud Management.

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Cloud Management Best Practices with eWeek

A few weeks ago, Mahesh Kumar, the Sr. Director of Product Marketing at the Cloud Management Business Unit of VMware, set down with eWeek to share his views of the Cloud Management best practices. The interview was focused on the current and near-future issues that organizations face when going through digital transformation. In particular, eWeek had asked Mahesh to focus on the multitude of issues around people-process-technology transformation, as seen from the prospective of adopting multiple clouds, deploying hybrid applications, adopting new infrastructure constructs like containers, etc.

While the goals of adopting cloud strategies are very ambitious, and the expected benefits are profound, there are many decisions that enterprises need to make on their cloud journey. Mahesh highlights a number of best practices we have observed in real-world customer environments, that have proven to work. These practices span across broad range of cloud management, and are often not easy to identify quickly to avoid a number of costly mistakes. For example, the questions customers need to answer for themselves in the beginning and at different phases of the journey, are:

  • Where do you begin when it comes to monitoring your cloud environments?
  • What should you automate, and when, and what benefits should you expect?
  • What value does log analysis deliver?
  • How do containers and microservices play into an enterprises&#rsquo; cloud management strategy, and how do you bring them into the overall cloud management framework?

Mahesh dives deep into a number of specific situations and use cases that we see in customers&#rsquo; environments. Overall, the article provides good advice and guidance on many cloud management issues. While the views provided are not limited by VMware&#rsquo;s specific solutions and technologies, and go beyond of a single vendor, the overall opinion reflects on the VMware&#rsquo;s vision and strategy for cloud management platforms (CMP) in particular, and the broader cloud issues in general. I highly recommend you reading the article at the Business Week&#rsquo;s site and leveraging its conclusions in your own environment.

 

The post Cloud Management Best Practices with eWeek appeared first on VMware Cloud Management.

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July 19th Webinar: Infoblox + VMware – Reducing Network Delays in VMware Cloud and SDN Environments

Too often in cloud, virtualized, and SDN deployments, the handoffs and delays with manually provisioning IP addresses and DNS records can add hours, days, or even weeks to the process.The lack of automation also causes inconsistency, outages, and security risks when provisioning and destroying VMs and NSX devices. VMware and Infoblox have teamed up to eliminate the manual processes and custom scripts.Join the live webinar to learn how to optimize your VMware Cloud and NSX deployments by leveraging IP address and DNS provisioning as part of your automation and orchestration workflows.

The webinar will discuss:

  • New enhancements in VMware NSX and cloud solutions
  • How to leverage vRealize Automation and vRealize Orchestrator to streamline the workflow
  • The power of DNS and IP address automation and clean up

Included will be a demo on how seamlessly VMware vRA/vRO integrates with Infoblox.

Join our Webinar on July 19, 2017 at 10:00 AM PDT and please Register Now.

Presenters:

· Simon Hamilton-Wilkes, NSX Technical Architect, VMware

· Matt Gowarty, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Infoblox

 

Learn More

  • Try our software in a hosted Hands-on-Lab Environment here
  • Go to vRealize product webpage here

 

 

The post July 19th Webinar: Infoblox + VMware - Reducing Network Delays in VMware Cloud and SDN Environments appeared first on VMware Cloud Management.

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vSAN Gets an Upgrade to First Class

With the release of vRealize Operations 6.6 I am excited to announce that customers can now manage their vSAN deployments with native integration. No need to install a management pack; just set up your vSAN adapter instances and vRealize Operations will do the rest. As a critical component of the VMware Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), vSAN is given first class treatment. This includes an exciting new array of dashboards and alerts which are tailored to new and improved vSAN 6.6 features. In this post, I will cover the capabilities of vSAN management in vRealize Operations, including a review of the available dashboards.

What’s New?

 

If you are a vSAN customer or follow this exciting technology from VMware, you know that the 6.6 release contained some interesting capabilities and some of these allow for better, deeper visibility within vRealize Operations. Specifically:

  • Degraded Device Handling for proactive detection and handling of failing devices
  • Improved Resync and Rebuilds to minimize impact on primary workloads
  • Enhanced Health Monitoring including alert tuning to reduce duplicative alerts

As I walk through the dashboards, I’ll point out how we take advantage of these and also new capabilities from the vRealize Operations side:

  • Visibility to the physical disk level, including SMART data reported by the disks
  • A new “Getting Started” dashboard page to guide you to content for vSAN monitoring and analysis

Configuration Is Easy

Setting up your vRealize Operations 6.6 instances for vSAN monitoring is really easy, since the adapter and solution content are preinstalled for you. You configure the vSAN adapter instances just as you would your vCenter adapter instances, from the Administration > Solutions tab.

From there, just select the VMware vSAN solution and click the gear icon to configure. Setup is practically the same as with a vCenter adapter.

Click the green “plus” to add an adapter instance, fill out the display name, FQDN of the vCenter Server hosting your vSAN clusters, configure and apply credentials, test, save and you are done!

Multiple instances can be added for environments that have multiple vCenter Servers hosting vSAN clusters.

Getting Started

Once you have configured one or more adapter instances for vSAN, you can begin to use the dashboards tailored for vSAN management. These dashboards cover topics that pertain to many IT personas that need information about vSAN. NOC users and IT managers will get overviews for your vSAN environment in the Operations category. Capacity planning teams, VI admins and Storage Admins benefit from detailed information provided in the Capacity and Utilization category. Performance Troubleshooting provides step-by-step workflows for investigating vSAN-related issues.

Where can you find all this great content? In vRealize Operations 6.6 it is easy! Just use the improved “Getting Started” dashboard and select the category you wish to investigate. From there, you can find simple descriptions that guide you to the specific dashboard you should use. For example, if you need an overview of all your vSAN deployments, click the vSAN Operations Overview dashboard link.

Once the dashboard loads, and with the new HTML5 user interface it loads very quickly, you get a great summary of your entire vSAN footprint with high level details on individual clusters. I have broken the dashboards into sections to give you a brief tour.

Start with the Environment Summary (1) to view the components, VMs served and some basic overall vSAN performance information. Note that each of the metrics has a sparkline chart under them, so that you can also quickly see historical trends.

Next, you can dig into some configuration and performance information for any vSAN cluster by selecting a cluster (2) and viewing summary information (3). Key performance indicators for latency, IO and throughput are provided (4) in a time-series graph. Finally, while you would not use this dashboard for troubleshooting, it is good to know the alert trending for your vSAN cluster (5). If I see Critical alerts start to trend upward, it may be time to bring the VI admin into the conversation and start doing some digging.

Even More Content

I will not go through each dashboard in detail, since another feature of vRealize Operations 6.6 is the helpful links to in-product videos that walk you through each of the dashboards included in the “Getting Started” dashboard. You can find the video playlist from the “Getting Started” dashboard in the top right corner.

If you like, you can also view the dashboard videos on YouTube in the new vRealize Operations 6.6 Dashboard Videos playlist.

I mentioned some new capabilities in the vSAN 6.6/vRealize Operations 6.6 combination that give you deeper and better visibility. Here is a highlight of those features and where you can find them in vRealize Operations 6.6.

SSD storage is expensive. This is why many customers with all flash vSAN clusters prefer to enable compression and deduplication. But, what is that really doing for you? The answer can be found in the “vSAN Capacity Overview” dashboard!

 

You can easily see, overall Total vSAN dedupe and compression savings (top charts) as well as detailed dedupe/compression information for each vSAN cluster. Keep in mind, the MORE data stored the better you will benefit from dedupe and compression!

I mentioned physical disk visibility earlier in this post. You can find that in the “Troubleshoot vSAN” dashboard by scrolling to the bottom. Two heatmaps for the Cache and Capacity disks provide adjustable configurations to view Bus Resets, IO Aborts and SMART data for all physical disks in a cluster. This allows you to do full-stack troubleshooting of your vSAN environment from a single view!

This augments the DDH feature of vSAN 6.6, giving you visibility into which disks are at risk and for what types of issues. Each block in the heatmaps above represents an individual disk (SSD or MD). Green is good, indicating no problems.

Take It For A Test Drive

There is much more to explore and view with this powerful new integration ofvSAN and vRealize Operations manager. If you are already a vSAN customer, but do not currently use vRealize Operations, you can easily download and deploy a trial to see for yourself how vSAN management is quick and easy with vRealize Operations!

The post vSAN Gets an Upgrade to First Class appeared first on VMware Cloud Management.

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