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Part 2: vCOps Custom UI – Customizing the Heat Map Widget

Part 2: vCOps Custom UI – Customizing the Heat Map Widget

My first detailed post shows how to utilize the Generic Scoreboard within the Custom UI (custom dashboards). My second post will show how to use the Heat Map widget within the Custom UI in vCenter Operations Manager. The Heat Map can be used to easily identify problem areas in your environment. For example, Heat Maps can display all your VMs in a single pane and change their respective colors as selected metrics change. Metrics can be pulled from anything from CPU, Memory, Disk, Network, and many more. A few examples include CPU usage, CPU Ready %, or Co-Stop to metrics about memory such as Guest Active Memory (%), Ballooning, or even Overhead.

Like most other widgets, the Heat Map can automatically refresh content on a set interval to ensure you always have the latest information at your disposal. The Heat Map widget is also a fantastic choice to populate statistics within the Metric Graph using Interactions. It can also be configured to display a variety of different data based on additional configurations (as shown below). As always, below are some examples followed by a detailed explanation of how to configure this widget.

A few examples of the Heat Map:

heat map example

VM CPU Ready %

1) As with all widgets you’ll need to Edit the Dashboard and add the Heat Map widget. Drag & drop the heat widget to the right side as shown below. Click Ok.

add heat map


2) You should now have a blank Heat Map widget on your dashboard. Click the highlighted Edit Widget button to start configuration.

blank heat map

Within the Edit ‘Heat Maps’ widget window you’ll notice a Configuration section – this is where you’ll need to start. As mentioned above, the same Heat Map widget can be used to display a variety of data based on adding multiple configurations. The first example we’ll configure the Heat Map to display VM CPU Usage (%).

3) Type the desired configuration name in the blank text box highlighted below. This will be the name show on the live dashboard – so make it meaningful 🙂

heat map name

4) Click the Save button next to the name. This will create the first configuration for this widget and will now show up in the drop-down list under Configuration. If desired, create your other configurations. All the configurations you create will be available in the live dashboard within this widget as a drop-down list. Screenshot can be seen later in this post.

saved name


5) The next screenshot is quite busy but shows all the changes that should be made ton complete the configuration. Details for each change are as follows:

  • Widget Title: This is the widget as a whole – not the individual configuration name.
  • Refresh Widget Content: Decide if you want the widget to auto refresh
  • Widget Refresh Interval: Time (in seconds) to refresh the information shown in the widget.
  • Group By: Decide on how you want the objects grouped within the widget. For example, if you choose Datacenter it’ll group then by Datacenter within the widget and display the Datacenter names as well. You can also leave it as –Not Selected–
  • Then By: Secondary grouping option
  • Mode: General mode shows a colored rectangle for each selected resource which can change in size depending on the value. The color will also change based on the value of another selected attibute. Instance Mode displays a rectangle for each individual instance of the selected metric as resources can have multiple instances of the same metric (think multiple CPUs, disk, etc). The rectangles are all the same size and the color is based upon the value of that instance.
  • Resource Kinds: Select the type of Resource you wish to display data about.
  • Attribute Kinds: Select the attribute that you want to display within this configuration.
  • Select which tags to filter: This allows you to filter down the results. In this example, we only want to display VMs that are powered on so we’re selecting the PoweredOn:all tag.
  • Colors: You can customize the colors of the rectangles if desired. For example, I changed the ugly dark green to yellow/orange for the center color to better match the regular UI color scheme (green–> yellow –> red)

heat map config

6) Once you’ve made all your choice above be sure to click the Save button (next to your configuration name). Like most products, if you attempt to leave without saving it’ll remind you to save. Click Ok to complete the widget. You should now have your Heat Map configured and displaying data regarding your VMs (or whatever data you selected).

Multiple Configurations:  As I stated above, the same Heat Map widget can be used to display different types of data by use of the Configuration dropdown on the live widget. In the example below, I’ve added both a CPU Usage (%) and CPU Ready(%) configuration to this widget, allowing me to quickly change the displayed data based on what I’m looking for. It’s also important to note that on the CPU Ready (%) configuration I’ve modified the scale to 0 – 10 as anything above 5% is generally an indication of host CPU over-committment.

heat map multiple configs



About The Author

Bryan Krausen

Bryan Krausen is currently working as a Technical Architect with experience in a vast number of platforms. Bryan has been active within the VMware vExpert community for several years and is the leader of the Louisville VMware User Group (VMUG) and Louisville AWS User Group.

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