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Getting Value from VMware Operations Manager

Getting Value from VMware Operations Manager


It should come as no surprise that when you own the number one virtualization software you release award winning tools to manage and maintain it. VMware’s vCenter Operations Manager provides an operational and management portal with capabilities far beyond what it’s vCenter server can natively provide. By providing performance, capacity, risk, and efficiency management into one suite, it’s easy to see how vCenter Operations Manager can be an enabling tool for any vSphere administrator, regardless of knowledge or experience. vCenter Operations Manager’s capabilities go far beyond typical monitoring suites and provide users invaluable data to make quick decisions on their virtual infrastructure. Within it’s default view, administrators are able to see overall health, risk, and the efficiency of their environment and quick drill down to details of each. Capacity management, anomalies, and waste are also automatically calculated for the user, giving them details on items such as the number of additional servers it can handle, where you can reclaim critical resources, and if guest servers are behaving abnormally compared to it’s historical usage. These features make up just a fraction of the feature set vCenter Operations Manager bring to the table.

First and foremost, vCenter Operations Manager is an unparalleled monitoring tool for vSphere environments. Utilizing statistics from vCenter server, the application immediately begins storing historical data on every resource configured within vCenter. All aspects of the hosts are analyzed including CPU and memory usage all the way down to the physical NICs and HBAs utilization. Historical data is then used to create a baseline on each resource, giving it the ability to notify users when specific objects and performance metrics are abnormal. Users are able to easily identify problem areas right from the default view and quickly drill down to the respective resource in question. In a matter of a few clicks, you can navigate from the default view and be examining network usage on a single physical NIC in a specific host. This gives the vSphere administrator very powerful tools to quickly identify and resolve problems.

In addition to the standard, default interface it provides, vCenter Operations Manager allows administrators to create custom dashboards using a multitude of widgets and metrics. This ability to create environment-specific dashboards is invaluable to both infrastructure teams and application owners alike, giving teams a high-level overview of the health of critical resources they deem important to them. The custom user interface even includes the ability to create custom metrics needed to provide business owners pertinent information that typically wouldn’t be available otherwise.

advanced health example

Example of Custom Monitoring for Tiered Application

Reporting is a critical component to any application and vCenter Operations Manager provides a number of built-in reports to help identify ways to improve the environment. One of it’s premier reports, in my opinion, is the “Over Sized Virtual Machines” report which gives the administrator a list of servers which have been allocated too many resources. Using this report, along with it’s provided suggestions, allow the administrator to instantly identify waste and quickly reclaim CPU, RAM, and disk. Reducing the amount of wasted resources enables the administrator to provision more virtual servers on existing hardware, increasing the overall consolidation ratio, and decrease the need to purchase additional physical hardware, reducing both CAPEX and OPEX expenditures. How’s that for instant value?

over sized VMs

Example of Oversized Virtual Machines Report

Equally as important, although frequently overlooked, is the concept of capacity management for the current environment. Common questions such as “How many virtual machines can be provisioned before running low on critical resources?” or ” At it’s current growth rate, when will additional hardware need to be purchased?” can be answered with vCenter Operations Manager’s capacity management feature. In a single dashboard, administrators can view the estimated time remaining on resources such as CPU, memory, disk, and more and take action to ensure critical resources aren’t depleted without warning. Combing this information with data retrieved from reporting, administrators can make decisions on the most effective way to increase capacity, whether that means reclaiming wasted resources from idle and over allocated VMs or simply add additional hosts to the cluster. Last but not least, administrators can combine built-in capacity management metrics, or even super metrics, with custom dashboards to create a completely customized, clear-cut view of their environments, all in a single view.

capacity

Example of Capacity Management Planning

With all the features vCenter Operations Manager brings to the table, it’s easy to see how the application can yield a multitude of benefits to both the vSphere administrator and the business itself. Taking into account the high cost of enterprise-level hardware, vCenter Operations Manager has the ability to provide a return on investment remarkably fast. Providing detailed visibility into the infrastructure, along with customized features and options, it’s easy to see how valuable vCenter Operations can truly be.

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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