Friday, 19 January 2018

VMware vROps 6.6 - A New Look

vRealize Suite components (namely vRealize Operations (vROps)vRealize Log Insight (vRLI)and vRealize Business for Cloud (vRBC) had an update GA release.  With this latest release of vROps a big focus has been on “simplifying the user experience” and “quicker time to value”.

VMware announced the release of vRealize Operations Manager (vROps) 6.6. vRealize Operations is one of the three critical pieces of the vRealize Suite that provides Intelligent Operations for the software-defined datacenter (SDDC). The latest vRealize Suite is made up of vRealize Operations 6.6, vRealize Log Insight 4.5, and vRealize Business for Cloud 7.3 

 vROps is VMware's popular Cloud and Software Defined Datacenter (SDDC) monitoring and analytics solution. With VMware moving to a more agile development model for vROps, we have seen each dot release getting dropped quarterly, which is a huge improvement from vCOps days. The quarterly release cycle has also delivered major new features each time, besides the now expected usability and stability improvements. It looks like vROps 6.6 kept the momentum going with a major UI redesign, the addition of several new capabilities, and improvements to many existing features. Congrats to the product team on a job well done!

Let's take a quick inventory of what's new and improved.

Redesign user interface provides modern look and improved user experience
·                     New HTML5 user interface provides an easier and consistent experience.
·                     The Getting Started dashboard allows for quick navigation.
·                     Persona-based dashboards provide answers in one place. Dashboards are separated into categories such as Operations, Capacity and Utilization, Performance Troubleshooting, Workload Balance, and Configuration and Compliance.

Fully Automated Workload Balancing
·                     Ensures performance across the datacenter's with fully Automated Workload Balancing, across Clusters, and across Datastores.
·                     Ensures DRS Configurations and provides the option to view and set DRS automation level for individual objects to deliver better balance.
·                     Predictive DRS takes action to preempt and avoid resource contention.
·                     Utilizes operations analytics to optimize initial placement of workloads through vRealize Automation based on business needs.
·                     vRealize Automation Management Pack is included OOTB.

vSAN Management Pack is preinstalled and ready to roll
·                     Allows for centralized management across stretched clusters.
·                     Coverage for stretched clusters, deduplication/compression, resync traffic.
·                     Ensure vSAN readiness from a single console.
·                     Deploy and manage vSAN with confidence with complete visibility down to individual physical disk level.
·                     Operationalize vSAN with performance and capacity monitoring.
·                     Complete vSAN management, which includes administering performance, capacity, logs, and configuration and health.

Updated SDDC Health Management Pack
·                     Single pane of glass to monitor health of all SDDC components and infrastructure
·                     SDDC app oriented views with Health status for each product.
·                     Correlation of SDDC app component to the underlying infrastructure health deployment instance and corresponding VM health.
·                     Enhanced OOTB Health and Compliance Alerts with Recommendations.

New Service Discovery Management Pack
·                     Discover and list services and display the relationship between selected service and other services on other VMs.
·                     Visualize relationship of selected VM with other VMs
·                     Service Breakdown Across Environment
·                     Validate SRM protection group and recovery plan membership

All new Federation Management Pack
·                     Ability to have visibility into multiple SDDC Deployments through a single pane of glass. These deployments are usually monitored by individual vROps instances which creates complexity for the end users
·                     Provide a summary of Performance, Capacity, and Configuration of the Virtual Infrastructure to Senior Executives and VI Admins across all SDDC deployments
·                     Provide summary views of Health and Configuration of SDDC Management Stack to Senior Executives and VI Admins across all  SDDC deployments
·                     Provide a unified view of events triggered across the SDDC environments into a single page for making it easier for Network Operations Centers (NOC) / Helpdesk to initiate action
·                     Ability to create a data warehouse where the user-selected set of metrics could be stored for data archiving and reporting use cases. Users should have an ability to select the desired set of Objects and their metrics and properties to be forwarded to the Federation instance of vROps
·                     Ability to create reports for capacity and configuration for the Senior Executive and exporting of data out of vROps.

Additional out-of-the-box compliance capabilities
·                     Ability to tackle compliance problems through the new vSphere hardening dashboard
·                     Extends compliance through PCI & HIPAA compliance for vSphere.
·                     Ensures business configurations through new cluster, host, and VM configuration dashboards

Complete in-context integration with vRealize Log Insight
·                     Faster troubleshooting in vROps with in-context logs from vRLI.
·                     Direct launch of Log Insight Dashboards.
·                     Direct launch into Log Insight Interactive Analytics.
·                     Object auto-initiated log management.
·                     vROps Alerts auto-initiated log management

Updated vRealize Business
·                     Cost analysis for all services on AWS and Azure.
·                     VM Level usage visibility into public clouds.
·                     Fine-grained cost analysis for private cloud.
·                     Makes capacity optimization quantifiable.
·                     Procurement planning.

vRealize Operations 6.6 has made some incredible improvements inspired by many of you out there that continue to challenge VMware and the Cloud Management Business Unit to do better!  Thank you!  Simplification; quicker time to value; persona-based dashboards and troubleshooting flows; enhanced fully automatable workload balancing; improved alerting to resolve issues quicker, and better securing the SDDC, are just scratching the surface of what vRealize Operations and vRealize Suite can help you with.  I hope you enjoy this release!

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Differences from vSphere 5.5 to 6.5

vSphere 5.5
vSphere 6.0
vSphere 6.5
Released date
 March 2015
Physical CPUs per host
Physical RAM per host
4 TB
12 TB
12 TB
VMs per host
vCPU per VM
vRAM per VM
1 TB
4 TB
6 TB
62 TB
62 TB
62 TB
Cluster Size
High Availability
Reactive HA
Reactive HA
Proactive HA
vSphere Integrated Containers
VM Hardware Version
VMFS Version
vSphere Web Client (c#)
vSphere Web Client (c#)
vSphere Web Client -HTML 5 Client
Authentication Management
Single Sign-On 5.5
Platform Services Controller
Platform Services Controller
vMotion restricted to Datacenter object
vMotion across vCenters
vMotion across vCenters
vMotion across vSwitches
vMotion across vSwitches
Cross-Cloud vMotion
vMotion Network Support
L2 Network
L3 Network
L3 Network
max. 10ms RTT
max. 100ms RTT
max. 100ms RTT
Win to vCSA Migration
vCenter 5.5 to vCSA 6.0
vCenter 5.5 to vCSA 6.0
vCenter 5.5 to vCSA 6.5
vCenter 6.0 to vCSA 6.5
Content Library
VM Encryption
Certificate Authority (VMCA)
Virtual Volumes
 Virtual Volumes 1.0
Virtual Volumes 2.0
Virtual SAN
VSAN 5.5
VSAN 6.0 / 6.1 / 6.2
VSAN 6.5
vCenter Type
Windows - Linux VCSA
Windows - Linux VCSA
Windows - Linux VCSA
vCenter HA
vCenter Native Backup
vCSA Scale (vPostgres)
100 Hosts
1000 Hosts
2000 Hosts
3000 VMs
10000 VMs
25000 VMs
vCSA Operating System
SUSE Enterprise
SUSE Enterprise
Photon OS
vCenter Linked Mode
Windows only
Windows & VCSA
Windows & VCSA
Microsoft ADAM Replication Native Replication Native Replication
All-Flash VSAN
VSAN Scale
32 Nodes
64 Nodes
VSAN Fault Domains
FT Supported Features
HA, DPM, SRM, VDS, Hot Configure FT, H/W Virtualization, Snapshot, Paravirtual Devices, Storage Redundancy
HA, DPM, SRM, VDS, Hot Configure FT, H/W Virtualization, Snapshot, Paravirtual Devices, Storage Redundancy, Improve DRS integration,Host level network latency reduction,Multiple NIC aggregation

Saturday, 10 September 2016


First thing to do in a vSphere 6.x deployment is to understand the new deployment architecture options available on the vSphere 6.0 platform, which is somewhat different from the previous versions of vSphere. The below will highlight key information but is not a complete guide to all the changes..etc. For that I’d advise you to refer to the official vSphere documentation (found here)

Deployment Architecture

The deployment architecture for vSphere 6 is somewhat different from the legacy versions. I’m not going to document all of the architectural deference’s  (Please refer to the VMware product documentation for vSphere 6) but I will mention few of the key ones which I think are important, in a bullet point below.
  • vCenter Server – Consist of 2 key components
    • Platform Service Controller (PSC)
      • PSC include the following components
        • SSO
        • vSphere Licensing Server
        • VMCA – VMware Certificate Authority (a built in SSL certification authority to simply certificate provisioning to all VMware products including vCenter, ESXi, vRealize Automation….etc. The idea is you associate this to your existing enterprise root CA or a subordinate CA such as a Microsoft CA and point all VMware components at this.)
      • PSC can be deployed as an appliance or on a windows machine
    • vCenter Server
      • Appliance (vCSA) – Include the following services
        • vCenter Inventory server
        • PostgreSQL
        • vSphere Web Client
        • vSphere ESXi Dump collector
        • Syslog collector
        • Syslog Service
        • Auto Deploy
      • Windows version is also available.
Note: ESXi remains the same as before without any significant changes to its core architecture or the installation process.

Deployment Options

What’s in red below are the deployment options that I will be using in the subsequent sections to deploy vSphere 6 u1 as they represent the likely choices adopted during most of the enterprise deployments.
  • Platform Services Controller Deployment
    • Option 1 – Embedded with vCenter
      • Only suitable for small deployments
    • Option 2 – External – Dedicated separate deployment of PSC to which external vCenter(s) will connect to
      • Single PSC instance or a clustered PSC deployment consisting of multiple instances is supported
      • 2 options supported here.
        • Deploy an external PSC on Windows
        • Deploy an external PSC using the Linux based appliance (note that this option involves deploying the same vCSA appliance but during deployment, select the PSC mode rather than vCenter)
    • PSC need to be deployed first, followed by vCenter deployment as concurrent deployment of both are NOT supported!
  • vCenter Server Deployment – vCenter Deployment architecture consist of 2 choices
    • Windows deployment
      • Option 1: with a built in Postgre SQL
        • Only supported for a small – medium sized environment (20 hosts or 200VMs)
      • Option 2: with an external database system
        • Only external database system supported is Oracle (no more SQL databases for vCenter)
      • This effectively mean that you are now advised (indirectly, in my view) to always deploy the vCSA version as opposed to the Windows version of vCenter, especially since the feature parity between vCSA and Windows vCenter versions are now bridged
    • vCSA (appliance) deployment
      • Option 1: with a built in Postgre SQL DB
        • Supported for up to 1000 hosts and 10,000 VMs (This I reckon would be the most common deployment model now for vCSA due to the supported scalability and the simplicity)
      • Option 2: with an external database system
        • As with the Windows version, only Oracle is supported as an external DB system

PSC and vCenter deployment topologies

Certificate Concerns

  • VMCA is a complete Certificate Authority for all vSphere and related components where the vSphere related certificate issuing process is automated (happens automatically during adding vCenter servers to PSC & adding ESXi servers to vCenter).
  • For those who already have a Microsoft CA or a similar enterprise CA, the recommendation is to make the VMCA a subordinate CA so that all certificates allocated from VMCA to all vSphere components will have the full certificate chain, all the way from your Microsoft root CA(i.e. Microsoft Root CA cert->Subordinate CA cert->VMCA Root CA cert->Allocated cert, for the vSphere components).
  • In order to achieve this, the following steps need to be followed in the listed order.
    • Install the PSC / Deploy the PSC appliance first
    • Use an existing root / enterprise CA (i.e. Microsoft CA) to generate a subordinate CA certificate for the VMCA and replace the default VMCA root certificate on the PSC.
      • To achieve this, follow the VMware KB articles listed here.
      • Once the certificate replacement is complete on the PSC, do follow the “Task 0” outlinedhere to ensure that the vSphere service registrations with the VMware lookup service are also update. If not, you’ll have to follow the “Task 1 – 4” to manually update the sslTrust parameter value for the service registration using the script (available on the PSC appliance). Validating this here can save you lots of headache down the line.
    • Now Install vCenter & point at the PSC for SSO (VMCA will automatically allocate appropriate certificates)
    • Add ESXi hosts (VMCA will automatically allocate appropriate certificates)

Key System Requirements

  • ESXi system requirements
    • Physical components
      • Need a minimum of 2 CPU cores per host
      • HCL compatibility (CPU released after sept 2006 only)
      • NX/SD bit enabled in BIOS
      • Intel VT-x enabled
      • SATA disks will be considered remote (meaning, no scratch partition on SATA)
    • Booting
      • Booting from UEFI is supported
      • But no auto deploy or network booting with UEFI
    • Local Storage
      • Disks
        • Recommended for booting from local disk is 5.2GB (for VMFS and the 4GB scratch partition)
        • Supported minimum is 1GB
          • Scratch partition created on another local disk or RAMDISK (/tmp/ramdisk) – Not recommended to be left on ramdisk for performance & memory optimisation
      • USB / SD
        • Installer DOES NOT create scratch on these drives
        • Either creates the scratch partition on another local disk or ramdisk
        • 4GB or larger recommended (though min supported is 1GB)
          • Additional space used for the core dump
        • 16GB or larger is highly recommended
          • Prolongs the flash cell life
  • vCenter Server System Requirements
    • Windows version
      • Must be connected to a domain
      • Hardware
        • PSC – 2 cpu / 2GB RAM
        • Tiny environment (10 hosts / 100 VM- 2 cpu / 8GB RAM
        • Small (100 hosts / 1000 VMs) – 4 cpus / 16GB RAM
        • Medium (400 hosts / 400 VMs) – 8cpus / 24GB RAM
        • Large (1000 hosts / 10000 VMs) – 16 cpus / 32GB RAM
    • Appliance version
      • Virtual Hardware
        • PSC- 2 cpu / 2GB RAM
        • Tiny environment (10 hosts / 100 VM- 2 cpu / 8GB RAM
        • Small (100 hosts / 1000 VMs) – 4 cpus / 16GB RAM
        • Medium (400 hosts / 400 VMs) – 8cpus / 24GB RAM
        • Large (1000 hosts / 10000 VMs) – 16 cpus / 32GB RAM