CloudHealth by VMware – Reporting & Policies

Well, this blog post has been 3 months in the works – in fact a draft has been sitting in WordPress since September when I collaborated with Kim Bottu on his article about Integrating CloudHealth and vROps, the plan was for me to write a companion blog which show-cased the same capabilities in CloudHealth that he mentioned in his vROps blog.

2020 has been a profoundly difficult and odd year for everyone, and I found myself not wanting to do anything after a busy day of zoom meetings and home schooling. The motivation to write a blog just wasn’t there, and after a busy day all I just wanted to do was chill and relax in the evenings.
There’s been a fine-line in everyone’s work-life balance this year, and everyone needs to find that little bit of time each day to just shut off and unwind (usually when the kids are in bed)!

Anyways, the Christmas holidays and having time off work has given me the opportunity to sit back down and finish the blog (plus Kim was saying I should publish it in order to help my vExpert application for 2021… hahahahha… lol…. – btw, you have till the 9th January 2021 to submit!)

What is CloudHealth?

I guess the best place to start this blog is to give a quick overview of what CloudHealth actually is, so here’s the elevator pitch I always give….

“The more organisations invest in public cloud, the more important it is to have a cloud management strategy for their success, and this is where CloudHealth can assist.
CloudHealth is a multi-cloud management platform designed to provide full visibility into your cloud environment – helping you to identify opportunities for cost savings and usage optimisation. We help you to easily analyse and control cloud costs, security, performance and governance all from one single platform.
We give you insight into your data centre, hybrid and public cloud spend – aligning costs and usage to users, lines of business or even projects and business initiatives.We help make cloud management simple.”

Sooooo, what does that actually mean I hear you ask!?!

In a nutshell, CloudHealth takes your cloud billing and usage data, process and presents it in reports that help you visualise your costs and usage. In addition, one of their USPs is the ability to create perspectives to help you categorise and filter your data.

Currently CloudHealth supports Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) and on-premise VMware environments. They also have a beta-program for VMware Cloud on AWS support.

CloudHealth is the clear leader in multi-cloud management, they’re the largest player in the market with 10,000+ customers and 230+ partners globally, managing over $11+bn in annual cloud spend.
CloudHealth has continued to be named a Leader in The Forrester Wave: Cloud Cost Management and Optimization Report.

What is a Perspective and How are They Used in Reports?

The most common way to describe a CloudHealth Perspective is that they are “lenses” through which you want to view your infrastructure. Each role within an organisation measures and evaluates the business from different viewpoints or ‘Perspectives’.
You can create Perspectives to view and group cloud assets together in order to align them with business objectives.
They provide a framework for categorising all the assets within your cloud infrastructure. For example, you could create a Perspective to group assets into Environment, Application, Department, Function, Project, or even Cost Centre.
You can build Perspectives dynamically using cloud tags or statically using the search capabilities.

For Example, the default view of a Cost History Report within CloudHealth is to show 13 months of cost data categorised by Service type (this is an example of an AWS report):

We can then take that default view and change the categorisation to a Perspective built to show Owners (this could help identify those users who spend all the company’s money on cloud!):

Or we can even change the view to categorise by a Perspective built to show Environment (IT Operation Managers are constantly looking for ways to show how much different Infrastructure Environments cost the business):

Finally, we can combine a number of Perspectives together to drill down further into our costs. In this example we’re filtering to look at just the Production Environment Perspective group, and categorising by the Owner Perspective (so helping to identify who spends the most in Production!):

Chart Types for a report can also be changed from Bar to Line – in this example we’re looking at the Cost History Report categorised by the Perspective ‘Line of Business’:

Another great Chart Type to use is the Pie Chart – as this is only 2 dimensional you will need to filter to a specific time period (eg. November 2020) and change the X-axis away from time interval (in this example I’ve used the ‘Line of Business’ Perspective):

Using CloudHealth to Generate Alerts.

Now the basics of Reporting and Perspectives are out of the way…. Let’s take a look at replicating within CloudHealth what Kim configured in vROps.

In Kim’s blog, he looked at how vROps can be configured to generate alerts based on Month to Date Cloud Spend for certain assets.
We’ll take look at how the Policy Engine works in CloudHealth to generate Alerts, and the actions that can be taken by a Policy.

Policies at its most basic is a set of rules that allow you to govern various aspects of your cloud infrastructure, such as cost, availability, security, performance, and usage.
The Policy Engine in CloudHealth is pretty powerful, it’s not just used to track cloud spend, for example:

  • you can track the launch of new resources
  • you can identify and terminate unused or underutilized assets
  • you can track unexpected cost spikes
  • you can track changes across the cloud infrastructure
  • you can identify resources that have been created out of compliance with specific rules (ie region location, OS type, etc)

At the core of each policy is a rule, which monitors for one or more conditions and, optionally, responds with an action. Actions could be to send an email to notify that a policy has been triggered, or to power off an EC2 instance or VM.

Creating a Policy to alert on Month to Date (MTD) Cloud Spend

One of the most common policies created by CloudHealth customers is a policy to identify increasing cloud costs over a set time period. When overall costs in your cloud environment increase suddenly, it could be an indicator of a larger problem – for example, a compromised cloud account where attackers have spun up a large number of EC2 instances and VMs.

You can create a policy that alerts someone via email whenever the Total Cost of your cloud bill increases by more than a certain percentage:

Or even by a fixed amount:

You even have the granularity to set the conditions to focus on a single Account (in this example ‘Test account name’):

Whilst these examples have a time interval of 1 day, this can be changed to 1 week or 1 month to suit your requirements.

Most Policies allow you to filter the rule condition to focus on a specific account (eg. Test Account name), a specific service/asset type (eg. EC2 Compute), a specific Region, or even by a Perspective you’ve created (eg. Environment = Production):

Alternatively, you can create a policy for a specific resource type you may want to focus on, in the following example we’re just looking at EC2 Instances and want to be alerted if the total costs increased by 10% over 1 month, we could then take a number of different actions – email, delete EC2 instance, stop EC2 instance, etc:

CloudHealth vs vRealize Operations

Having used both CloudHealth and vROps, I would say it’s far easier to create reports, policies and alerts within CloudHealth compared to vROps – but I might be a little biased here… =)

The Cost and Usage reports are far better in CloudHealth – the added feature of being able to use filters, categorisations and Perspectives to change the viewpoint of the report visualisation is something that stands us apart from other tools! Not to mention that changing the visualisation occurs instantly, there’s no need to wait for processing to occur to rebuild the graphical data.
Within CloudHealth you also have far greater granularity to customise the policy conditions by using the filter capabilities.

One thing I constantly get asked is whether CloudHealth and vRealize overlap each other and perform the same functions.
They’re actually complementary management solutions as they are two different products providing information for different use cases within an organisation!

vRealize offers operational efficiency and automation and CloudHealth brings collaboration, governance, and optimization. 

  • vRealize focuses on driving efficient operations (i.e., provisioning, troubleshooting, capacity planning, automation) in the private and hybrid clouds. Providing Consistent infrastructure and operations, from the data center to the cloud.
  • CloudHealth focuses on driving improved business outcomes (i.e., governance, optimization, visibility, chargeback) in the public and hybrid clouds. Breaking down public cloud silos and streamline cost, compliance and analytics operations.

It’s also worth noting that the starting point for the journey to multi-cloud can originate in the enterprise data centre or from the public cloud. Whether an enterprise is looking to expand its data centre to public or vice versa.

In the data centre, infrastructure/operation teams require tools for configuration, provisioning, automation, capacity planning and governance for all their data centre assets (ie Day 2 operations). It’s also very Capex-intensive and costs are somewhat stable and predictable. This is the perfect scenario for vRealize.

In the public and multi-cloud world, developers and lines-of-business users provision resources directly themselves. It’s very Opex-intensive and resource usage can be dynamic and unpredictable. The management disciplines needed for cloud-centric, de-centralized IT include ways to govern usage, optimise costs and deal with cloud security threats and vulnerabilities. This is where CloudHealth comes into the fore.

For example, vRealize can be used to help perform capacity planning assessments and ‘What If’ scenario modelling. CloudHealth can be used to model the cost of migrations from private to public cloud.

Anyways, I’ve realised that this has been a super long post so I’m going to end here. I hope it’s been useful reading…. I’m also hoping that I’ll get the chance to blog more often on CloudHealth and its features in the coming year! =)

For now, I hope you all have a Happy New Year! Let’s pray that 2021 will bring back some normality to the world!

VMware vExpert Community – 2020

Like many vExperts, waiting for the announcement for 2020 has been a little nerve-wrecking. 2019 was a very busy year for me, got made redundant from VMware, welcomed my 2nd child into this world and then joined CloudHealth by VMware in an EMEA-wide role, and then pretty much kissed goodbye to my free time as I was busy juggling nappies with learning about AWS and Azure…. as a result this blog got de-prioritised and I was a little worried my lack of blog content would affect my vExpert application.

Well, thankfully not and I’m proud to say that I’ve been re-accepted as a VMware vExpert again this year – my 6th consecutive year! =)

https://blogs.vmware.com/vexpert/2020/02/24/vexpert-2020-award-announcement/

Congratulations to all who have be chosen as vExperts for 2020 and welcome to all the new vExperts this year! Today there are 1,730 vExperts from 40+ countries, so it’s great to see a growing global community!

I’m not going to write much about the vExpert community as I did that last year, and I’m just going to relink to my blog entry. It’s definitely a good read for anyone looking to join the vExpert Community

VMware vExpert Community – Get Involved…

VMworld 2019 Europe

So it’s been 3 month since I last posted an entry on my blog, and as I previously mentioned it’s been such a busy period in my life, both professionally and personally! I’ve been at CloudHealth for 6 months now, and those months have flown by so quickly…. plus my youngest daughter has just turned 7 months and is rolling around and sitting up, I’m amazed at how quickly she’s grown – juggling a new job and a new baby is never an easy feat!

Now with only a few days to VMworld Europe, it would be remiss of me not to post something up, especially given that this is going to be my first VMworld as a vendor and also the first time I’m going to be speaking at VMworld! (I’m both excited and super nervous!)
It’s quite ironic that this years theme is “Make Your Mark”…. I’m hoping I certainly do that this year (and not make an ass out of myself in the process).

A few weeks ago marketing were asking for volunteers to help out at VMworld, so I stuck my hand up to help out and ended up being asked to host two Meet the Expert Sessions talking about CloudHealth Hybrid [MTE6171E]. My two sessions are at 11:15am and 4:15pm on Weds 6th November… I’ll be over at Hall 8.0 on Table 5 of the MTE area. Come and say hi if you’re in the vicinity!

Unfortunately as I write this blog, both my sessions are full – and as it’s a roundtable talk I’m not actually sure if people can just turn up and stand around and listen…. but feel free to do so if you want!

This will probably be my first VMworld where I’m not actually running around attending sessions, instead I have a ton of meetings lined up with MSPs and partners from across EMEA to talk about CloudHealth, as well as supporting some of the CloudHealth sessions being held. I’m still hoping to get myself along to a few sessions – definitely going to try and get along to The Virtually Speaking Podcast LIVE: The Future of IT – How Will You Fit in? [HCI1894PE].

Going to try and spend as much of my time with the vCommunity this year to support these great bunch of people! So expect me to be floating around VMvillage, Partner Lounge, VMware {code} and the Community Lounge areas (some friends are presenting at the vBrownBag TechTalk sessions). Hoping to be at:

  • The #vRockstar Party at the Cabaret on Sunday 3rd November. Tickets are sold out… I’ve been asked to join in a panel of folks for an informal fireside chat being hosted at the vRockstar Party, so that’ll be interesting!
  • If you haven’t already found out, #vSoccer #vFootball is coming to Europe this year, the vCommunity Football match has been arranged for Monday 4th November, 7pm-10pm not too far away from the conference centre. There are a bunch of VMware folks playing and I believe there’s still space available, so head over to vSoccer VMworld Europe to get a ticket…. I’ll be playing….. or maybe just having a beer and shouting at everyone to run!
  • I’ll also be at the #vExpert Party on Tuesday 5th November at Pez Vela, so don’t forget to say hi if you see me!

Now for a little plug – if you want to find out about CloudHealth then make sure you sign up for some of the sessions that my colleagues are running:

Tuesday 5th November

  • 11:00-12:00, Hall 8.0 Room 21 – Application Migration in Multi-Cloud Using Network Insight and CloudHealth [MCO1781BE]
  • 14:30-15:00, Hall 7.0 Solutions Exchange, VMware Stand #325 – Multi-Cloud Management with CloudHealth [VBT8026E]
  • 15:30-16:30, Hall 8.0 Room 30 – Introduction to Multi-Cloud Governance [MCO2439BE]
  • 16:00-16:25, Hall 6.0 VMvillage {code} Lounge – Using AWS Lambda Functions for Multi-Cloud Governance [CODE1785E]
  • 17:00-18:00, Hall 8.0 Room 37 – News UK Shows how to Migrate to the Cloud While Keeping Costs on the Ground [MCO1213BE]

Wednesday 6th November

  • 12:30-13:30, Hall 8.0 Room 26 – Multi-Cloud Keynote: Multi-Cloud Strategies to Operate at Scale [MC3545KE]
  • 12:30-13:30, Hall 8.0 Room 11 – Yes, Mr. CFO, IT Is Expensive — Understand Why with vRealize Operations [HBO1138BE]
  • 13:00-13:30, Hall 7.0 Solutions Exchange, VMware Stand #325 – How CloudHealth Enabled VMware to Regain Control [VBT8034E]
  • 15:30-16:30, Hall 8.0 Room 34 – Best Practices for Public Cloud Optimization with CloudHealth [MCO2418BE]
  • 17:00-18:00, Hall 8.0 Room 34 – Not Your Grandfather’s CMP: CloudHealth Modernize Cloud Management [MCO2438BE]

Thursday 7th November

  • 09:00-10:00, Hall 8.0 Room 12A – Developing Your Cloud Center of Excellence with CloudHealth [MCO2414BE]
  • 11:00-12:30, Hall 8.0 Room 31 – Master Reserved Instance Management with CloudHealth [MCO2417BE]
  • 13:30-14:30, Hall 8.0 Room 29 – Totally Bankable: Making Multi-Cloud Management a (Cost-Effective) Reality [MCO1528BE]
  • 15:00-16:00, Hall 8.0 Room 12A – Keep Track of Your Costs; It’s Imperative and Good for Your Health [MCO2435BE]

We also have a number of Meet the Expert sessions:

Tuesday 5th November

  • 12:15-13:00, Hall 8.0 MTE Table 6 – Best Practices for Managing AWS Reservations  [MTE6170E]
  • 15:15-16:00, Hall 8.0 MTE Table 5 – Everything you ever wanted to know about Azure [MTE6173E]
  • 17:15-18:00, Hall 8.0 MTE Table 3 – Multi Cloud Services with VMware Cloud Provider Hub [MTE6035E]
  • 17:15-18:00, Hall 8.0 MTE Table 6 – Controlling spend in your public cloud environment [MTE6300E]

Wednesday 6th November

  • 11:15-12:00, Hall 8.0 MTE Table 5 – CloudHealth Hybrid Overview [MTE6171E]
  • 15:15-16:00, Hall 8.0 MTE Table 6 – Controlling spend in your public cloud environment [MTE6300E]
  • 16:15-17:00, Hall 8.0 MTE Table 5 – CloudHealth Hybrid Overview [MTE6171E]
  • 17:15-18:00, Hall 8.0 MTE Table 5 – Everything you ever wanted to know about Azure [MTE6173E]

 

Finally, we also have 2 demo areas in the VMware stand within the Solution Exchange, so come say hi to the CloudHealth team!

VMworld 2019 US – Day 1 General Session Round Up

So I guess there’s no better time to dust off my keyboard and get back to blogging than talking about VMworld and what was announced during the Day 1 General Session!

This year it’s a bit funny as I’m no longer blogging as an outsider as I now work for VMware…. so without breaking any NDAs I’m just going to talk about what was announced during the keynote!

I’ve been reading a lot of tweets and comments mentioning about how flustered Pat Gelsinger looked on stage during the keynote, but considering all that’s happened within the past week or so you could probably forgive him for not practicing his presentation – especially given he probably had it re-written by marketing a few days ago post the Pivotal and Carbon Black acquisitions!

So first up… VMware Tanzu, a portfolio of products and services to transform the way the world builds, runs and manages software on Kubernetes!
Over the past year or so, VMware has really thrown their weight behind K8, acquiring a number of companies they saw as key to growing the services they could offer around containers. The acquisition of Bitnami and Pivotal now provides a platform to build, package and deploy modern applications on Kubernetes.

But the exciting announcement is what they are planning for vSphere – a re-architecture of vSphere with Kubernetes embedded as its control plane, Project Pacific (Tech Preview)! This is probably the biggest evolution of the ESXi hypervisor in decades (since the transition from VI3 to vSphere)! Now you can run containers and VMs side-by-side which means modern apps can run in containers yet link in to legacy VMs all being managed by the same vSphere client. A Single and Consistent platform for the future! You can read a Technical Overview of Project Pacific here.

The third piece of Tanzu is Tanzu Mission Control, a SaaS solution offering a single pane of glass control platform that gives admins and developers visibility and the ability to manage all their Kubernetes clusters, regardless of where they reside – ensuring that customers gain that consistency and governance by leveraging a policy engine to provision a kubernetes environment.

Next up was a product launch I’ve been following very closely (for obvious reasons) – CloudHealth Hybrid! This new service will extend the same rich cost optimization, governance and security functionality that CloudHealth delivers to public cloud environments, to VMware hybrid cloud environments – namely VMware Cloud on AWS! It’s been something a lot of customers and partners have been asking for since VMware acquired CloudHealth almost a year ago. CloudHealth Hybrid will bring together the functionality of CloudHealth Data Center and the functionality of VMware vRealize Business for Cloud (vRBC) and Cost Insight into a single standalone SaaS offering. CloudHealth Hybrid will provide a single platform with visibility into cost, usage, and performance of all hybrid cloud resources – and we’re looking at a GA in Q3!

Last up was the expansion of VMware’s Hybrid Cloud solutions…. if you haven’t already realised, it’s all about Hybrid Cloud these days! =P

  • VMware Cloud Foundation is the key building block for the hybrid cloud, providing the full SDDC on AWS, Azure, Google, IBM Cloud and numerous other cloud partners.
  • VMware Cloud on Dell EMC was announced as GA – deploying vCF on Dell EMC VxRail (my favourite HCI solution!!) – in fact my last blog was about DTW and I wrote a bit about it already (so go read that post)…
  • VMware Cloud on AWS got new HCX capabilities – enabling push-button migration and interconnectivity between VMware Cloud on AWS SDDCs running in different AWS Regions and new Elastic vSAN support further improves storage scaling.
  • We got new versions of vRealize Operations and vRealize Automation (vROps 8.0 and vRA 8.0) giving customers self-driving operations and hybrid cloud automation.

To round it all up, we heard about Digital Employee Experience and some new features in Workspace One to help put the employee at the heart of everything a business does. As well as a short message about how VMware + Carbon Black + Ecosystem = Better Together… VMware’s Intrinsic Security! (Workload Security – vSphere + Carbon Black, Workspace Security – Workspace One + Carbon Black, Network Threat Security – NSX + Carbon Black, Cloud Security – Secure State + Carbon Black)

Roll on Day 2…..

My Big Bets for 2019 – Intro

Over the Christmas period I started to plan out what I wanted to blog about at the start of 2019. I realised during my vExpert application (damn, it’s so much more stringent now!!) that I haven’t blogged as much as I used to – and that’s mainly because I didn’t want to just post meaningless blogs about how to install/configure the next iteration of vSphere or vSAN. I find there’s been a huge uptake in new bloggers just posting how to “install, configure, manage” certain VMware products and I really didn’t want to take my blog back down that path… especially since it’s very easy to just google “how to install/configure vSAN” – not to mention that VMware have now made the installations so damn easy that my 8 year old nephew could do it!! (Which kind of makes me wonder why people would want to blog about it?!?)

I decided that I wanted to take my blog in a different direction and make it more ‘advisory’ by posting my thoughts on VMware’s vision, what products are new to the market and their benefits, what are they being used for, etc. At the start of the new year I was planning on writing a blog article about products I see taking off in 2019, but due to other events that occurred in my life (like getting made redundant) my blog got put on the back burner for a while.

Now that I have a bit more time on my hands (being freshly unemployed) I’ve decided to resurrect the idea and expand it into several posts.

I decided to look over the VMware portfolio and pick out products that I think are going to make big waves in 2019 – much like how vSAN and HCI did in 2018.

So without further ado….. My Three Big Bets for 2019 are:

  1. CloudHealth
  2. VMware Cloud Foundation
  3. VMware Cloud on AWS

Why have I chosen these 3 products? Well if you look at the general market and what businesses are exploring, there’s a big sense of urgency to do something in the ‘cloud’… but many businesses have failed to execute their cloud strategy due to the problems they encounter with migrating over workloads and managing their public cloud alongside their existing on-premise infrastructure. These 3 products in my opinion now form the vision VMware has with regards to hybrid cloud… a public cloud platform, a private cloud platform, all built on the same software stack giving consistent infrastructure and now with a cloud management tool that provides consistent operations across multiple clouds!

Over the next couple of weeks (or depending on how quickly I can write the articles given my wife has a long list of chores for me to do) I’ll be blogging about each solution, what it’s used for and why I believe it will succeed in 2019.

Stay tuned! =)