Friday, July 27, 2012

Protecting vC Ops Data with VADP and SRM

If you use vC Ops to monitor and report on your environment, you are aware of how important the historical analysis and metrics collected are to getting value out of the product. 

Yesterday, VMware published three KB articles outlining ways to protect your vC Ops data.

KB 2031899 - Managing a VMware vCenter Operations Manager 5.x deployment where the vApp is broken

KB 2031890 - vCenter Operations Manager 5.0.x: Using VMware Data Recovery to Back Up and Restore a vApp deployment

KB 2031891 - vCenter Operations Manager 5.0.x: Using Site Recovery Manager to Protect a vApp Deployment

 A couple of things to call out from these KBs...

- While VDR may not be a viable option for your environment, note that it's the VADP capabilities that allow you to perform an snapshot based backup of your vC Ops vApp that is critical.  So, if you are using an enterprise backup solution which supports VADP you're in good shape.  Ideally, your backup solution will include support for vApp aware backups - but even if not you can still take advantage of VADP-based backups to protect your vC Ops data.

- Embrace the broken vApp!  As you can see from KB 2031899, the vApp is not necessary for running vC Ops as long as you are aware that things like startup/shutdown sequence as well as IP address management are going to require a little more attention.  I've had some customers ask about moving or re-IP of vC Ops and this KB should help.  This is also key information if you are using a non-vApp aware backup solution and you have to restore the two VMs - you need not worry about recreating the vApp at that point.

- Speaking of vApps - while SRM isn't going to support protection of vC Ops as a vApp, you can still protect the two VMs individually as described in KB 2031891.

Hopefully this helps customers who are concerned about losing months of collected data and analysis!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Monitoring vC Ops Upgrades

I was working with a customer this morning updating their vC Ops vApp from 5.0.0 to 5.0.2 and while everything went well it was a little frustrating because there is no feedback on the status of the update other than a "progress" animation.

To provide more detail on the status of the update, we opened a putty session on the UI and found that the /var/log/vmware/updatecoordinator.log was being updated as the upgrade progressed.

By running tail -f updatecoordinator.log we were able to get a better understanding on the progress and status of the upgrade as in the image below.

certainly a lot more interesting to watch than a progress bar!

Friday, July 6, 2012

vCenter Operations Manager - What's new in 5.0.2?

VMware released a minor update for vCenter Operations Manager yesterday evening.  The 5.0.2 release contains some bug fixes as well as enhancements for those using the custom UI in the vApp or the standalone version of the product (i.e. Enterprise or Enterprise Plus customers).  There's also a critical security fix for the vApp as well as a fix for support bundles.

Some items of interest -

A new Text widget has been created to allow personalization of the custom dashboards.  You can display plain, unformatted text or HTML from a URL or file.  Below I show an HTML configured Text widget to provide up to date weather forecasts on my dashboard.  KB 2030076 has details on configuring the Text widget.

Mashup charts widget now has three buttons to filter alerts (only active, only inactive or all alerts).  Also, there's more detail on the pop-ups when hovering over an alert.

By the way, this applies to the vSphere UI as well - check out the Operations > Events tab...

You can now configure hint text for KPI alerts.  See KB 2021380 for configuring.

The Alert widget now shows all children of the selected resource, where previously only first level decedents were shown.

You can now configure complex alert rules that evaluate multiple conditions on related resources. The example included with the update (vmware-vcops/user/conf/analytics/multi-level-alert-rules.xml) shows how to format the rule.  Basically, this allows you to create alerts based on a combination of hard thresholds (HT) and dynamic thresholds (DT).

Other enhancements include -

  • Weighted metric groups 
  • Skip resources for health rollup
  • Prioritize threshold checking over Dynamic Threshold calculation

If you are already running the 5.0 or 5.0.1 vApp, you only need to download the VMware-vcops-5.0.2-770497.pak file and then update your vApp using the Admin UI (using the Update tab).  Be sure to shut down your vApp and take a snapshot before applying the update!

For the standalone version, you will need either the .bin or .exe file depending on your OS and then install using the "reinstall" option.  See the release notes for more detail.