Tag Archives: VCops

Free Course – VMware vCenter Operations Manager Fundamentals

For those that may be interested there is a new course on the mylearn portal called vCenter Operations Manager Fundamentals.  I went though this course over the last few weeks and it is pretty awesome…  It takes you through the installation and configuration of vCOps and explains the major/minor badges, describes how to use all the tabs effectively and also walks you though setting up Smart Alerts and reporting.

So, if you get some spare time go and check it out.  It's an eLearning course so you can come and go as you please picking up right where you left off, or simply skip to the areas that are of interest to you…  And, it's free, so why not?  Head on over the mylearn.vmware.com and login and get yourself enrolled…

Below is the course outline…

Course Description

This e-learning course covers how to install and configure vCenter Operations Manager as well as how to use its many robust features. The course consists of five modules:
  • Technical Overview of vCenter Operations Manager covers the vCenter Operations Manager 5.0 vApp architecture and resource requirements, the vCenter Operations Manager 5.0 vApp installation considerations, and introduces you to the major and minor badges.
  • Installing and Configuring vCenter Operations Manager discusses how to install and configure vCenter Operations Manager.
  • Using the Dashboards and Badges explains the main function of the major and minor badges, how to interpret the badge results, and how to configure thresholds and notifications.
  • Operations and Planning describes how to use the Operations tab and the Planning tab.
  • Working with Smart Alerts and Reports covers how to configure and use smart alerts, how heat maps are used, and how to work with reports.

vCenter Operations and Virtual Machine Faults

Every morning I like to fire up vCOps and have a look at my environment and when I do this, I like to see nothing but green (maybe a bit of yellow :))  For the past week or so that hasn't been the case…  Not that I have any performance issues, but I do have what is called a 'fault' on a few of my Virtual Machines.  I've been troubleshooting an issue as of late with something causing a few of my hosts to become disconnected, and HA has been attempting (and failing) to restart a few of my VMs, which in turns generates an alarm on the VM and a fault inside of vCOps.  Well, the issue has since been resolved and everything is running fine again, however vCOps is still hanging on to those faults for some of the VMs.

Now I don't see this as a bad thing, it certainly is nice to have a record of these issues inside of vCOps, but being the persnickety fellow that I am when I log into my vCOps and see those VMs showing up on the heat map coloured in red, well, it drives me a little mental…  I thought maybe if I leave it for a week things would clear up, and while some did, others didn't.  So I guess a little manual intervention is involved.

Basically, a fault in vCOps is triggered by an event occurring from within vCenter Server.  VC Ops will hang on to this fault until vCenter Server reports that the issue has been resolved, thus resulting in a red VM like the one above, and a lower health score to boot!  In some cases (cases like mine) you may need to manually cancel and remove a fault from vCOps.  So in the case you ever need to, the following is how to do so…

Either select your VM, or any inventory item that is higher up on the inventory view and navigate to the Alerts tab.

 

In the Alerts table below, sort, filter, re-arrange however you want and select the fault(s) that you want to cancel and click the 'Cancel' Icon.

Presto!  That's it!  If you navigate back to your dashboard and heat map now you should hopefully see that wonderful greenish tint of all that excellence (after everything refreshes)!  Or in my case there is still more work to do πŸ™‚  Happy Troubleshooting!

Skewed Usage Reports in VCops 5 – No problem!

A couple of years ago I downloaded and installed a trial of CapacityIQ.  It wasn't necessarily the capacity planning for the future capabilities that I was looking for, but more for the under/over sized VM reporting that it included.  Honestly, I didn't get a lot of time to evaluate it and all I really did was run a few reports and determine that we were heavily oversizing our VMs.  Although I found it useful, I couldn't justify a recommendation to gain budget for just the functionality that CapacityIQ provided.

Fast forward to last year.  I now find myself participating in a beta for VCops 1.0. I was extremely excited about this product the first time I seen it at our local Toronto VMUG.  Ever since then I've been using VCops on almost a daily basis to monitor and keep track of events and changes within our environment.  

And now here we are today with the recent release of VCops 5.  This release, now including CapacityIQ reporting and metrics has taken me back in time to those days I was evaluating CapacityIQ by itself.  And so I find myself once again looking at those under/over sized VM reports (with a little more time and focus this time around) and kind of scratching my head a bit.  A lot of the recommendations it was making around over provisioning vCPU's were correct, however I do have some VMs containing 2 vCPU's that it was recommending to drop to 1.  Now I know these VMs need 2 vCPU's as we have ran them with a single vCPU before and the performance just wasn't there.  So why is it recommending 2?  Well, by default VCops collects usage data of the VMs 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, so when you think about, in this case, these VMs basically do nothing at all during the night and on weekends, but still, there usage data for those off times was being used in the overall calculations, thus, bringing the total average down.  Thankfully there is an option to change this, follow the steps below to do so…

Log into VCops and click the 'Configuration' link in the top right hand side of the screen.  From there you will be presented with all the configurable options for VCops.  Under Planning & Reports click the 'Usage Calculation' link.  By default 'All hours on all days' will be selected, meaning VMs usage data is being used 24/7.  To change this, simply select 'Specific Hours and Days' (as shown below) and select  your desired days and hours…easy!.

 

 

There you have it!  Your VMs usage outside of the hours and days that you define here will now be excluded in your report calculations.  Keep in mind that this is a global setting and will apply to all VMs.  There isn't a way to do this on a per-VM basis that I can find, but would probably be beneficial in some cases.  These settings are not only useful when trying to exclude idle time, but you can also use them to exclude times when they might be busier than normal (A backup or maintenance window)  As always, any comments, questions, concerns, suggestions are more than welcome in the comment box below.

VCops 5 – IP Changes and IP Pools – Huh?

So I finally decided to to decommission my old VCops 1.0 install and run fully on VCops 5.  I've had VCops 5 monitoring our environment for a couple of months now and during my initial install had set it up to use DHCP just due to the fact that I didn't (and still really don't) know that much about IP Pools and how they interact with the VMs.  So I went about the task of switching both VMs that come with VCops to a static IP.   Honestly, I didn't think this was going to take much, and really it isn't…so long as you read the required documentation πŸ™‚  (which of course, I didn't!)  So, the following is basically derived from a couple of great blog posts;  Duncan Epping's post about IP Pools and William Lam's post regarding 'vcops-admin'.

So as I said, my first problem was skipping  the documentation and thought I would be 'smart' and just go and change the IP's from within both of the consoles.  Not knowing much about IP pools and how they function this was probably a bad decision.  I changed the IPs of both the UI and and the Analytics VM, restarted the networking services and quickly realized that I had lost connectivity between the two.  A first I thought it was simply an advanced setting somewhere within the UI VM that specified the IP of the Analytics VM…well, wrong there.  I couldn't find anything like that anywhere within the UI VM.  So, I decided that a reboot was in order to have both VMs come up clean however on the power on operations I experienced the following error dealing with IP Pools.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I followed Duncan's post on getting my IP Pools setup properly making just a few adjustments.  I wanted to only use the two static addresses (200 and 201) that I assigned to the VMs so I imputed my range as seen below.  Also, be sure to move the Associations tab and actually associate this IP pool with your desired Virtual Machine Network or you will end up getting the same exact error as above.
            
 
So after making all of these changes and configurations I was able to get my VAPP to power on once again, however after coming up I seen the following in the UI VMs console. "SSH: connect to host secondvm-external port 22: No route to host".  It was still trying to connect to my Analytics VM on its' old IP address.  Knowing that I could not find a setting anywhere within the GUI (which I couldn't connect to anyways) I turned once again to Google and found a great article on William Lams blog about changing the IP's which outlined a command line tool called 'vcops-admin' which controls just that setting I was looking for.  Only problem being is that I couldn't seem to get into the console (either through direct, failsafe or SSH) of my UI VM as it continued to display the no route to host.
 
So, the quick fix for me was to set the Analytics VM back to its original DHCP address, which in turn allowed the UI VM to once again connect to the Analytics engine.  Then it was a simple as following the steps outline on William's blog post
 
Once the UI VM had booted I went back to the Analytics VM and changed the IP back to the static address that I wanted using the 'Configure Networking' option on the console.  Then, it was back to the UI VM to run the command to make it aware of the new Analytics IP. As per Williams post, if you experience any error such as 'This program must be executed as an admin user' then make sure you sudo to the admin account using 'su admin'.
 
First off, stop VCops if it is running with the following command
 
vcops-admin stop
 
Secondly, make the UI VM aware of the new Analytics IP using
 
vcops-admin repair –ipaddress [new.ip.of.analytics]
 
This will in turn do the updates from within the UI VM that need to be done and start the VCops services again.  After this you will need to log in to your VCops administration page and click 'Update' on the registration page in order to update the registration with vCenter.
 
So, whether you are changing the IP of the analytics VM, the UI VM, or both of them, you will need to ssh into the UI VM and run that vcops-admin repair command in order to let the two VMs establish their trust.  Basically, VCops established a secure tunnel or trust between its VMs inside the vApp and by simply changing these IPs breaks that trust.  

vCenter Operations 5 – First Impressions

Following the Twitter feed from VMworld Copenhagen this year there seemed to be a common theme coming out of all the buzz – operations and management.  Product wise it was  AppBlast and Horizon that really took center stage in Vegas, but it was vCenter Operations 5 that stole the show in Europe.

i have been a VCops user since the beginning (well, since VMware purchased Integrien) beta and have been completely sold on the product ever since. Although the production environment i look after is relatively small in the eyes of VMware (150 VMs or so) that doesn't mean that the day to day operations and performance of those VMs isn't just as important as the larger environments. To be completely honest, VCops filled a huge gap between the standard vCenter alarms and performance graphs and our traditional monitoring software.

Alerting
This was certainly an item that came out of the version 1 beta. The metrics that VCops collects is crazy and the analytics behind determining health and workload scores is insane. But the issue with v1 was that i never knew if my VM or host was experiencing a low health score unless I actually logged into the application. This was addressed in v5 with the system now sending out email alerts. Now beware when just simply enabling all alerts, you may end up with an astronomical amount of emails. This is certainly a feature that you will need to tune in order to only receive those alerts you want to act upon.  We all know what happens when you start to receive too many alerts…filters get created and alerts end up being ignored.  So be sure to fine tune your alerts to meet the needs of your business.

 

 

CapacityIQ
A few years ago i pulled down a trial copy of CapacityIQ and gave it a whirl. Mainly i wanted to check out some of its over and under provisioned VM reports. I thought the reports were great but at the time couldn't justify the cost of the application for what it was providing. Well now I'm happy to see that it has been simply ported into VCops. Honestly its a great fit for this product as now you can gain visibility into not only health and workload, but capacity, utilization, efficiency and risk.

 

 

New Dashboards
Here is where VCops really shines. I have never seen so much information collected and analyzed be presented in such a simple interface. I've solved issues with our environment using VCops in basically, minutes. I mean, a host is red, click it. It drills down and shows you the VMs. You can see if its just one VM causing the issue or if all VMs are experiencing issues. You can see sibling hosts and VMs. VMs on the same datastore to determine if it might be a storage problem. This is all done within less than a minute from logging in.

 

 

Honestly these are only a few of the new features that are included in VCops 5. There is a slew of other features including Chargeback, Configuration Manager, Application Dependencies to name some.  For a full list check out the official VCops VMware page here as well as a launch anouncement on the Management Blog here.  As well the product is now branded as vCenter Operations Suite now including not just VCops but vCenter Infrastructure Manager as well.  I haven't had a whole lot of time to explore everything it has to offer yet but will definitely do an update when I have.  For now, go and pull down the trial for yourself