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

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VMware Continues as #1 Vendor in Worldwide Data Center Automation

The latest IDC report is out and it should come as no surprise that VMware is once again in the top spot globally for datacenter automation software. If you are unfamiliar with IDC&#rsquo;s market share report on &#rsquo;Worldwide Datacenter Automation Software Market Shares&#rdquo;, it&#rsquo;s based on examining the leading vendor shares and market trends from the previous year. In this case, it&#rsquo;s for all of 2016.

VMware has been the market leader in the space, as shown by IDC, for many years and for this past year IDC has once again ranked VMware as the #1 vendor after we garnered the largest market share of 28.6% and estimated revenues in the space of $668.9 million. Beyond this the entire market continues to grow and IDC currently estimates it at $2.3 billion, up 3.5% from last year.

As the market evolves and customers continue to automate their datacenter (or cloud) workloads, VMware has the software to make it happen. This should come as no surprise since we have been able to maintain our leadership and investments in this area. VMware&#rsquo;s vRealize Suite delivers a comprehensive cloud management platform for this purpose. It can manage hybrid (multi-cloud) environments across on-premises and public clouds. It speeds up the delivery of IT services through automation and pre-defined policies, providing high level of agility and flexibility for developers and lines of business while maintaining governance and control.

As customers move towards an automated IT environment, we often see the following 3 use cases:

  • Intelligent Operations - VMware delivers intelligent operations from applications to infrastructure to help organizations plan, manage and scale their SDDC across private and public clouds.
  • IT Automation - VMware delivers day one service provisioning and day two operational capabilities across a hybrid cloud. These capabilities help IT organizations automate core IT processes, speed up infrastructure and application delivery and get the most out of both hardware and people resources.
  • Developer Cloud –VMware gives IT teams the ability to give their developers access through API, Catalog or CLI to traditional and cloud native application resources while simultaneously giving developers the freedom to use the tools of their choice.

Additionally, vRealize supports heterogeneous environments that are a mix of both traditional and Cloud Native applications, across VMs, containers and bare metal, running on private and public clouds.



Learn More

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

Complete results from IDC can be found in their most recent report: Worldwide Datacenter Automation Software Market Shares, 2016 (IDC #US41372217, June 2017)

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Automate IT Sessions at VMworld 2017 Las Vegas

VMworld 2017 Las Vegasis only one week ahead! August 27-31 is going to be crazy in Las Vegas. The week will hold a lot of exciting news, a great number of new features and a slew of great talks and sessions. We are all geared up for “Automate IT” related events and activities. Here is the list you can’t missif you are keen to learn how to improve IT agility through Automate IT. It is time to register and mark your calendar in advance!

Monday, Aug 28

Session ID
11:00-12:00 [MMC3110PU] How IT Can Enable Businesses to Build Apps on AWS, Azure, and VMware Without Compromising on Costs and Security
Businesses today rely on IT organizations to deliver applications more quickly than ever. Learn how customersare balancing the need to help their lines of business build apps in the cloud while ensuring end-to-end visibility over public and private cloud infrastructure, costs, and security.
11:30-12:30 [MGT1761BU] Swisscom Modernizes Its Cloud for Enterprises with VMware
Four years ago, Swisscom started its cloud journey. As Switzerland&#rsquo;s largest service provider, it is dedicated to delivering it customers the latest technologies for their business. In 2016, this led to the decision to start the second-generation cloud solution based on the VMware vRealize Automation platform.

[MTE4731U] vRealize Cloud Automation with Naomi Sullivan
Ask Naomi Sullivan, Director of Product Management, about VMware cloud automation technologies. Discuss how vRealize Automation can help you streamline and standardize your infrastructure and applications provisioning, build a self-service IaaS portal, and ultimately increase the agility and shorten time-to-market.
2:30-3:30 [MGT3038GU] Get the Most Out of vRealize Automation: Embracing the vRealize Automation Ecosystem
The VMware vRealize Automation platform is designed with flexible architecture that enables customization and extensibility. Join the group discussion to learn about the latest plug-ins you can leverage. More excitingly, let us know what we should build next to expedite your infrastructure and application stack design.
5:30-6:30 [MGT2751PU] vRealize Automation Experts Panel: How to Win over App Developers and End Shadow IT
Learn how customersdeliver legacy and modern applications alike across distributed infrastructures and leverage some of the latest vRealize Automation capabilities to radically change how IT delivers these services.
5:30-6:30 [MGT3168GU] From Developer Laptop to Production: Managing Containers with vRealize Suite
Containers are all the rage for development teams. However, many IT teams are struggling to figure out the best way to move containers from developer laptop to production. This group discussion will look at how VMware vRealize Automation plus VMware vRealize Admiral can be used to solve this dilemma.

Tuesday, Aug 29

When, Session ID Description

[MGT3137SU]Multicloud is Eating the World. Join the Party!
The IT world of tomorrow will be multicloud, we know that much. But how do you automate, secure, and analyze your IT in that new world? In this roadmap-level deep technical session, VMware Cloud Management product teams will share their existing technology and near-term vision for the management solutions for the multi-cloud world! In an &#rsquo;American Idol&#rdquo; contest style, they will present several solutions covering a number of pain points and use cases

[MTE4731U] vRealize Cloud Automation with Naomi Sullivan
Ask Naomi Sullivan, Director of Product Management, about VMware cloud automation technologies. Discuss how vRealize Automation can help you streamline and standardize your infrastructure and applications provisioning, build a self-service IaaS portal, and ultimately increase the agility and shorten time-to-market.
1:00-2:00 [MGT2875BU]Manage, Govern, and Extend VMware Cloud on AWS with vRealize Automation
Join this breakout to discover how VMware vRealize Automation adds service authoring and delivery, governance, lifecycle management, and enterprise extensibility to your VMware Cloud on AWS service.

Wednesday, Aug 30

Session ID

[MTE4731U] vRealize Cloud Automation with Naomi Sullivan
Ask Naomi Sullivan, Director of Product Management, about VMware cloud automation technologies. Discuss how vRealize Automation can help you streamline and standardize your infrastructure and applications provisioning, build a self-service IaaS portal, and ultimately increase the agility and shorten time-to-market.
10:00-11:00 [MGT1776BU]vRealize Automation Solves the Container Onboarding Conundrum
Customers looking for a strategy for on-boarding Gen-3 apps (containers) without abandoning critical business processes finally have a solution to do so. Join this session to dig into this exciting new feature delivered by vRealize Automation and gain insight into the technical details of its integrated container management.
1:00-2:00 [MGT1799BU]Full-Stack Automation: Streamlining, Delivering, and Managing App-Centric IT
Executing on the SDDC is not limited to simply delivering best-in-class compute, network, and storage virtualization technologies, but also about execution of the vision. That vision—where dynamic infrastructure is wrapped around the unique requirements of every application—comes to life through the primary interface of the SDDC: the cloud management stack.
1:00-2:00 [MGT3166BU]A Simplified Approach to Lifecycle Management for vRealize Suite
Hear from some of our major customers&#rsquo; CIOs about the challenges they met, and the solutions they have put in place. Learn about VMware’s usage of our own DevOps to drive efficiencies into its own organization while improving products for our customers.
3:30-4:30 [LDT2590BU]Speed is now a Core Competency for Enterprises: VMware IT Framework to Leverage Emerging Tech and CNA Platforms to Accelerate Delivery Speed
Waves of technology advances are hitting enterprises faster than ever before. In this session, VMware IT shares a framework that they use to leverage new technologies to drive digital transformation.
4:00-5:00 [MGT2231BU]How VMware implemented the Self-healing Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipeline using vRealize Suite
This session is all about how VMware devised a mechanism to detect CI/CD pipeline failures and automated remediation through a self-healing solution.

Thursday, Aug 31

Session ID
12:00-1:00 [MGT1847BU]What’s New with vRealize Automation 7.3
The newly released vRealize Automation 7.3 continues to enhance the integration with VMware software-defined data center and introduces increased support for containers and configuration management solutions to ease moving applications from dev-test to production. Join the session to learn more.
12:00-1:00 [PBO1437BU]Infrastructure Automation in VMware Cloud Foundation Using vRealize Automation
VMware Cloud Foundation offers the easiest way to deploy an SDDC. Adding vRealize Automation on top of Cloud Foundation allows customers to immediately derive the benefits of its day 2 operations automation. This session goes into details of vRealize Automation deployment and its integration with VMware Cloud Foundation workload domains.
12:00-1:00 [MGT1311BU]Deep Dive: VMware vRealize Automation and ServiceNow
VMware vRealize Automation and ServiceNow are commonplace in most enterprise data centers today. In this session, you’ll learn the differences between the common integrations and how they work together to unify your daily IT automations.

Again, please go ahead toregister now!Looking forward to seeing you all there, soon!

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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.


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Come and Participate in VMworld Design Studio!

Dear vRealize Operations Customers,


Would you like to help define the next generation of vRealize Operations? We invite you to participateintheVMware Design StudioatVMworld 2017 US.


What Kind of Study Is This?

In the VMware Design Studio, we will show a few key product directions and design prototypes. This is a unique opportunity to get your voice heard and interact in a small group or 1:1 session with the product teams.


This year there will be three topics for vROps: 1) vRealize Operations – New and Improved Capacity Management; 2) vRealize Operations – Exploring New Ways for Application Management; 3) vRealize Lifecycle Management. Customers can sign up for one or more sessions based on their time availability or interests.


What&#rsquo;s in it for YOU?

Upon completion of the session, we will offer you very cool &#rsquo;VMware Design Partner&#rdquo; swag!


Where and when is Design Studio?

The sessions will be held in in Mandalay Bay Convention Center – 3rd Floor – room Palm H from Monday 8/28 thru Thursday 8/31


To schedule a session, contact Ashley . Or go to this link to signup:www.bit.do/vrops2017


Plus if you want to learn about other VMware products, please check out other cool sessions here:https://uxresearchers.github.io/lv17-blog/


Please act quickly as we will be able to work with just a small set of customers – thank you for your time and your interest in improving VMware products!


Thank you! We look forward to hearing from you!


Ashley Pan ()

User Experience Researcher @VMware

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Recent Updates to the VMware Operations Management Portfolio

VMware announced upcoming releases for its portfolio of operations management products – vRealize Operations 6.6, vRealize Log Insight 4.5, vRealize Business for Cloud 7.3 and vRealize Network Insight 3.4.

vRealize Operations 6.6

This release delivers several game-changing innovations, redesigned user experience, and greater/deeper integration across software-defined data center technologies and multiple public clouds. VMware vRealize Operations 6.6 delivers core capabilities around:

  • Application-aware SDDC and multi-cloud monitoringto help customers accelerate adoption of SDDC and integrate public clouds.
  • Automated and proactive performance managementhelps customers simplify operations, avoid disruption and free up time for more strategic tasks.
  • Cloud Planning, capacity optimization and compliancethrough atight integration with vRealize Business for Cloud, which appears as &#rsquo;Business Management&#rdquo; tab within the vRealize Operations UI.

For more information on vRealize Operations 6.6, please visit the Cloud Management Blog.

vRealize Log Insight 4.5

VMware vRealize Log lnsight delivers heterogeneous and highly scalable log management with intuitive, actionable dashboards, sophisticated analytics, and broad third-party extensibility. With this new release, you’ll experience:

  • Full Integration in-context withinvRealize Operationsprovides directlaunch into Log Insight Dashboard and Log Insight Interactive Analytics mode, and object and vRealize Operations Alerts auto-initiated log management
  • New Server Capabilitiesincluding vUpdated Log Insight RESTful APIs and vComprehensive SSO support
  • Improved agent capabilities through vAgent multi-destination

Other new features and capabilities of vRealize Log Insight 4.5 can be found here.

vRealize Business for Cloud 7.3

The new release of vRealize Business for Cloud 7.3 continues to improve the ease-of-access and ease-of-use for private cloud cost management and delivers more visibilityinto public cloud spending. This new release allows you to:

  • Easier cost management with improvements to navigation, decision making tools, insight tools, and IT service pricing
  • More visibility to optimize cloud management with enhancements to usage and cost visibility

Details about the vRealize Business for Cloud 7.3 announcement can be found on the Cloud Management blog.

vRealize Network Insight 3.4

vRealize Network Insight 3.4 allows you to plan micro-segmentation, troubleshoot across virtual and physical infrastructure and manage and scale NSX deployments. Other capabilities of this new release include:

  • Manage public cloud security with visibility into your AWS infrastructure
  • Troubleshoot across the virtual and physical infrastructureby providing layer 2 network visibility in the VM to VM path and enhanced traffic and security analytics
  • Customize for maximum deployment flexibility by integrating with log management products

Full description of new features and capabilities of vRealize Network Insight 3.4 can be found here.

The post Recent Updates to the VMware Operations Management Portfolio appeared first on VMware Tech Alliances (TAP) Blog.

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I AM…all about modernizing data centers

VMworld 2017 Europe is getting closer (11-14 September). So start preparing your trip and go quickly to the content catalog to make a selection of program components that interest you the most! In some previous blogs, we have already made suggestions about transforming security, and digitizing the workspace, but also when looking for information about modernizing data centers, there are some interesting sessions.

Modernizing data centers
Technological developments are fast-pacing each other. So to remain competitive, organizations must invest in the digital transformation of all business processes. This transformation begins with the infrastructure, with data centers being crucial.

Cloud Management
Want to know more about modernizing data centers and cloud management? Don&#rsquo;t miss the following program components:

  • Break-out session: Case Study: How a Leading Health Insurance Provider Uses vRealize Business to Transform Its Cloud Initiative into a Cloud Business Management Practice [MGT1816BE]
  • Break-out session: Configuring a Hybrid Cloud with VMware Cloud Foundation: A Technical Deep Dive [PBO1757BE]

From cloud to cloud management tools? Then you need to follow the sessions on the vRealize Suite and vRealize Automation:

  • Hands-on Lab: Automate IT - Make Private Cloud Easy [SPL180602E]
  • Break-out session: Case Study: VMware Cloud Foundation-Powered Private Cloud, Including Hands-On Labs [PBO2864BE]
  • Break-out session: Cloud Management Platform: Can I Get There From Here? [MGT2231BE]
  • Breakout session: Effectively Operating an Automated Cloud [MGT1758BE]

Cloud Management discussion
Are you looking for other IT experts to exchange ideas about cloud management and modernization of data centers? Then join the different group discussions:

  • Intelligent Operations Jam Session: SDDC Performance and Availability, Unified Management [MGT2588GE]
  • Modernizing Your Data Center with VMware Cloud Foundation: Group Discussion [PBO1224GE]
  • Using vRealize to Manage AWS as Part of Hybrid Cloud [MGT3169GE]
Register now and discover everything about modernizing data centers!
Book your ticket for VMworld 2017 Europe here!

Read more..

PCI-DSS & HIPAA compliance with vRealize Operations

Hardening and Compliance for vSphere

For some time now vRealize Operations has been able to check the vSphere environment against VMware&#rsquo;s vSphere Hardening Guidelines – vRealize Operations vSphere Hardening.


More and more organizations have the need to meet certain regulatory requirements, namely PCI-DSS, HIPAA, and others. With the recent release of vRealize Operations 6.6 VMware has also introduced PCI-DSS and HIPAA compliance for vSphere. This is available to clients with vRealize Operations Advanced edition and higher.



Download and Install the Management Packs for PCI-DSS and HIPAA

Lets start by where you need to go to get this content. Simply go to VMware&#rsquo;s MarketPlace (also known as VMware Solution Exchange) https://marketplace.vmware.com. A simple search on PCI-DSS or HIPAA will get you to the vRealize Operations Management Packs.


Install the Management Pack(s) you desire. This is done in the ADMINISTRATION page under SOLUTIONS


Enable PCI-DSS and HIPAA compliance for vSphere

Now that the solution management packs are installed simply make sure they are turned on. This is done in the policy by enabling the alerts. Go to step 6 in the policy, and do two searches, the first for PCI DSS and the second for HIPAA

Change the STATE column from &#rsquo;Inherited Blocked&#rdquo; to &#rsquo;Local Enabled&#rdquo; to enable the alerts (essentially enabling the compliance checking)


Leveraging the vSphere Hardening Compliance dashboard you will now be able to see any alerts related to PCI DSS and HIPAA in addition to the already available (if turned on) vSphere compliance alerts.



Object Level View

From here you can also drill into an object check on it’s compliance posture!




After installing these solutions Management Packs you will notice that each has installed a compliance report. One for PCI-DSS and the second for HIPAA. This is a great way to check on your compliance posture and make sure that you are trending upwards with time (getting to PCI and HIPAA compliance doesn&#rsquo;t happen over night). Here’s a report snippet below.




vRealize Operations Current Standards Coverage

  • vSphere Hardening Guidelines for 5.5
  • vSphere Hardening Guidelines for 6.0
  • PCI DSS 3.2 for vSphere (as of July 2017 – download the management pack)
  • HIPAA for vSphere (as of July 2017 – download the management pack)
  • vSphere Hardening Guidelines for 6.5 (Management Pack is Planned, but I can’t provide any dates - sorry)




Want to harden your vSphere environment? Do you need to adhere to PCI-DSS or HIPAA regulatory requirements for your vSphere environment? Visit the VMware market place today! https://marketplace.vmware.com



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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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How VMware Cloud Management Helps You Get the Most out of Your ServiceNow Investment

First, a hat tip where it&#rsquo;s due: ServiceNow is a leader in the ITSSM space, claiming the #1 spot in the much-coveted magic quadrant in Gartner&#rsquo;s ITSSM Magic Quadrant (Gartner: 24 August 2016 G00291752), and with an easy to use GUI and out of the box integrations for popular vendors including VMware, it&#rsquo;s no wonder ServiceNow is so popular for self-service cataloging in the IT service delivery space. Indeed, many of our customers enjoy a complementary relationship between ServiceNow and VMware, using the former for ITSSM and VMware&#rsquo;s cross-cloud management platform to automate and orchestrate their fully integrated software-defined journey.

ServiceNow recently made a spate of announcements including a Cloud User Portal, apparently aimed at expanding their footprint beyond ITSSM. To recap briefly, ServiceNow last month announced a roll-up dashboard of cloud services, costs and health information under its catalog hierarchy. It&#rsquo;s Cloud Services Catalog now includes additional governance over certain cloud resources and supports VMware-based clouds as well as others.

This is a good moment to reexamine the depth and breadth of VMware&#rsquo;s platform for complete cloud management, which I&#rsquo;ll expand on below.

For what it&#rsquo;s worth, in the same report that Gartner gave such high marks to ServiceNow for ITSSM leadership, the analysts wondered aloud whether the company wasn&#rsquo;t getting somewhat defocused away from its core competencies.

Briefly, here are 3 ways VMware&#rsquo;s Cloud Management remains the most compelling complement to ServiceNow&#rsquo;s deep catalog expertise for cloud manmagement:

  1. VMware offers a fully integrated Software-Defined Data Center
  2. VMware features sophisticated automation and policy-based orchestration
  3. VMware Cloud Management avoids added risk of using third party tools at enterprise scale

Fully integrated Software-Defined Data Center

Introducing any ServiceNow cloud management abilities into a customer&#rsquo;s SDDC could degrade the benefits of software-defined initiatives by introducing custom work streams with added complexity and cost. Moreover, any attempt to work around vRealize Automation can negate the value of the SDDC, especially in areas such as policy automation, control and blueprints.

NSX Blueprint in vRealize Automation

To realize the vision of the self-healing data center requires a management control plane that delivers accurate and actionable data; only a policy-based approach, rather than a rules-based approach, can properly discern what is really critical.

Sophisticated automation and policy-based orchestration

vRealize Operations provides full polling, analysis, alerting and reporting for monitoring of vSphere and surrounding infrastructure. vRealize Operations includes machine learning and dynamic thresholding out of the box, capacity analysis including reclaimable space, and automated remediation. vRealize Operations can push discovered objects and attributes to ServiceNow APIs and can push Alerts and updates to ServiceNow APIs for incidents, including a URL for launch in context back to vRealize Operations for more information. Learn more on GitHub.

Minimize risk of third party tools at enterprise scale

As an enterprise evolves in its software-defined journey, the risk in using third party tools actually grows; this is because a fully virtualized stack, with storage, networking and compute, is a lot more complicated than just server virtualization. Orchestration and policy-based automation become critical and we&#rsquo;ve seen time and again that third party tools that work okay as you scale up—don&#rsquo;t work well as you scale out to the order of tens of thousands of VMs.

The only way to ensure the high levels of certainty needed for business-critical applications is with an automated control plane that&#rsquo;s natively integrated with your stack. In short, VMware and ServiceNow are a great combination, with VMware doing the heavy lifting for cloud management and offering deep integrations for the ServiceNow catalog.

As the undisputed leader in datacenter automation—IDC recently named VMware as the market share leader with 28 percent of a $2.3 billion market (June 2017, IDC #US41372217)—I offer a note of caution for enterprises considering using any third party tool, especially unproven ones, along with their cloud management platform.

ServiceNow + vRealize Automation Integration

For our part, VMware&#rsquo;s isn&#rsquo;t holding still either, by the way. Our recently-announced integration for ServiceNow in vRealize Automation delivers that much-coveted &#rsquo;single pane of glass&#rdquo; with best-of-breed prebuilt integrations.

I would share a lesson learned from the hard experiences of some less-than-lucky enterprises: it&#rsquo;s good to be cautious of depending on third party tools, especially unproven ones, for a cloud management platform.

The post How VMware Cloud Management Helps You Get the Most out of Your ServiceNow Investment appeared first on VMware Cloud Management.

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