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!

VSAN 6.2 GA, plus other stuff..

Blink, and you might have missed the announcements doing the rounds on Social Media about a minor release for some of VMware’s products.

Of the minor releases, the biggest one has to be vSphere 6.0 update 2 which packages Virtual SAN 6.2. Now you can get all the goodness of Dedupe & Compression, Erasure Coding (RAID 5 & 6), QoS, Sparse Swap Files, etc……

I’ve written a brief article on VSAN 6.2 for SearchVMware.com, so pop over there if you want to check out what was announced in Feburary’s Digital Enterprise event.

For more in-depth information on VSAN 6.2, point your browsers to Duncan Epping (Yellow-Bricks) and Cormac Hogan! These guys and their blogs have taught me everything I know about VSAN! =)

So without further ado, here’s what was released yesterday (and some from earlier in the month):

VMware – Enabling the Digital Enterprise – Hybrid Cloud

Part 2 of my review of VMware’s Digital Enterprise online event at the beginning of February has just gone up on SearchVMware.com:

http://searchvmware.techtarget.com/tip/Changes-and-new-features-come-with-VSAN-62-and-vRealize-Suite-7

This covers the announcements made on the 2nd day which was focused on Hybrid Cloud, Hyper-Converged Software and vRealize Suite.

Enjoy! =)

New Licensing for vSphere and vSOM

So one of the advantages of being a partner is getting hold of information about product launches, promotions and license restructures a few weeks before the official public announcement.

Anyways, now that it’s been announced it’s interesting what VMware have done with vSphere and vSphere with Operations Management.

  • VMware have dropped the Enterprise License from vSphere
  • VMware have dropped both Standard and Enterprise from vSOM
  • vSphere Standard now comes with APIs for Array Integration and Multipathing. But in order to get DRS and DPM customers are now forced to buy Enterprise Plus! (All previously available with Enterprise)
  • vCenter Server Standard will come with 25x OSI licenses for vRealize Log Insight
  • Price increase of vSOM Enterprise Plus from $4,245 per CPU to $4,395.
  • Price increase of vCenter Server Standard from $4,995 per instance to $5,995

Interesting times……

With the dropping of vSOM Std and vROps only packaged with Ent Plus, does that mean they now consider Operations Management as an ‘Enterprise Play’?

And whilst there’s a promotion for 50% discount on upgrades, a lot of customers are going to be pretty peeved at this change in licensing!

I’m not going to say more on this topic as I’ve been asked to write an article for SearchVMware on these price and license changes so stay tuned for that article…. =)

 

Upgrading vRealize Operations to 6.2

Now that vRealize Ops 6.2 has been released, it’s time to upgrade your Ops Manager virtual appliance. So how do you do that? Well, it’s pretty simple actually!

Nearly all of VMware’s virtual appliances have a simple upgrade process where you download an upgrade PAK file and upload it to the admin page of the appliance – and once uploaded it’s just a simple “click and install”….!

  1. First up, download the 6.2 upgrade PAK file from the My VMware Portal. You will required TWO upgrade PAK files, one to upgrade the vApps OS, the other to upgrade the vROps product.
    vrop01
    For an OS upgrade, the file is: vRealize_Operations_Manager-VA-OS-xxx.pak
    For the product upgrade of virtual appliance clusters, the file is: vRealize_Operations_Manager-VA-xxx.pak
  2. Before starting the upgrade it’s probably best to either take a backup or a snapshot of your entire vRealize Operations cluster as a precaution.
    Note: The cluster can be online or offline when running the upgrade.
    Log into the master node administrator interface via your web browser:
    https://<master-node-FQDN-or-IP-address>/admin
  3. On the left navigation menu, click Software Update. Note the version that vROps is currently at (for me it was 6.1). Click Install a Software Update.
    vrop02
  4. Firstly perform the OS upgrade. This updates the OS on the virtual appliance and restarts each virtual machine. Follow the wizard to locate and install the OS PAK file.
    vrop04
    Note: If you have customised the content that vROps provides – such as alerts, symptoms, recommendations, and policies – and you want to install content updates, a best practice is to clone the content before performing the upgrade. You can then select the option to reset out-of-the-box content when you install the software update, and the update will provide new content without overwriting any customised content.
    vrop03
  5. Click Upload to stage the upgrade files.
    vrop05
  6. Once upload has completed, a summary of what the PAK file contains is listed. Click Next and accept the EULA, then click Finish to start the upgrade process.
    vrop06
  7. Once the upgrade is complete, vROps will restart and you need to log back into the admin page. Navigate to Software Update and you will see a message stating what previous software update was installed.
    vrop07
  8. Now repeat the upload and installation process for the Product upgrade PAK file.
    vrop08
  9. Once again, vROps will reboot after the Product upgrade PAK file has been installed. Log back in and navigate to Software Update, you should now see that vROps has been upgraded.
    vrop09

 

There you go… nice and simple!

If you encounter any issues, then head over to the vROps 6.2 Release Notes: http://pubs.vmware.com/Release_Notes/en/vrops/62/vrops-62-release-notes.html

vSphere 6.0 update 1 and Virtual SAN 6.1 released (plus other goodies)

…. and so just a week after VMworld 2015 US, VMware have released vSphere 6.0 update 1 and a number of other product updates….. without ANY fanfare….. it was such a silent release that the first I heard about it was when all the community bloggers started posting up announcements!

Anyways, here are the products released today:

vSphere ESXi & vCenter Server 6.0 update 1 Download
vSphere ESXi 6.0 update 1 Release Notes
vCenter Server 6.0 update 1 Release Notes

Note: There has already been a KB released regarding the upgrade:
https://blogs.vmware.com/kb/2015/09/alert-important-information-before-upgrading-to-vsphere-6-0-update-1.html

In addition to vSphere and vCenter Server, all the other components of vSphere/vCenter received an update:
vSphere Update Manager 6.0 update 1
vSphere Replication 6.1

vSphere Data Protection 6.1
vRealize Orchestrator Appliance 6.0.3

The good news is that VUM is now integrated into the Web Client!! =)

SRM got an update as well:
Site Recovery Manager 6.1 Download
Site Recovery Manager 6.1 Release Notes

This brings some cool stuff to SRM like:

  • Policy-based management – offering New protection groups using vSphere storage policies for protection of VMs.
  • Support for Auto-mapping of stretched NSX networks (using Universal Logical Switches).
  • Support for stretched storage (like EMC VPLEX), that now includes the ability to use vMotion to move VMs from Site A to Site B.

Although no news on whether Site Recovery Manager Air (for vCloud Air DR) has been launched yet….. =(

Most importantly is the launch of Virtual SAN 6.1:
Virtual SAN 6.1 Download
Virtual SAN 6.1 Release Notes

This new update now:

  • Supports stretched VSAN clusters that span two geographic locations to protect data from site failures or loss of network connection (using the feature of Fault Domains).
  • Support for 2 node ROBO configurations.
  • Enhanced Replication (RPO of 5mins with vSphere Replication)
  • Support for SMP-FT
  • New hardware options (such as support for the new flash devices: Intel NVMe, Diablo UltraDIMM)

Also loads of updates to the vRealize Suite of products:
vRealize Operations Manager 6.1.0 Download
vRealize Operations Manager 6.1.0 Release Notes
vRealize Log Insight 3.0 Download
vRealize Log Insight 3.0 Release Notes
vRealize Automation 6.2.3 Download
vRealize Automation 6.2.3 Release Notes
vRealize Code Stream 1.2.0 Download
vRealize Code Stream 1.2.0 Release Notes
vRealize Business Standard 6.2.3 & vRealize Business Advanced/Enterprise 8.2.3 Download
vRealize Business 6.2.3 Release Notes
vRealize Business Advanced/Enterprise 8.2.3 Release Notes

In addition, the new version of vCloud Director was released for Service Providers (no long available for end-users) which offers vSphere 6.0 and NSX 6.1.4 support, there are also some minor Org vDC template and vApp Enhancements.
VMware vCloud Director 8.0 for Service Providers Download
VMware vCloud Director 8.0 Release Notes

Horizon also got a minor update earlier this month:
Horizon 6 version 6.2 Download
Horizon 6 version 6.2 Release Notes

VMware Online Technology Forum on Now!

VMware Online Technology Forum has started…. are you attending?

Live presentations on all the new goodies from VMware – vSphere 6, vRealize Automation/Operations, virtual SAN 6, App Volumes, vCloud Air, EVO:Rail…….

If you can’t attend today, then the content will be made available on demand from tomorrow (16th April):

MTI Webinar Series – VMworld Update Session

As you all know, VMworld took place in Barcelona last month. During this event, VMware made a series of announcements regarding its three strategic initiatives – software defined datacentre (SDDC), hybrid cloud, and end-user computing (EUC).

My company is currently holding a series of webinars in November covering VMware and complementary parter offerings, and I’ve been asked to kick-start the series with a VMworld update session on SDDC and Hybrid Cloud.

The first webinar, The software-defined datacentre & hybrid cloud, will take place on Tuesday 25th November 2014 at 11am. During this session, I will be discussing what’s new in vSphere 6.0, Virtual Volumes (vVol), EVO:Rail, vRealize Suite and vCloud Air.

If you wish to attend the webinar then feel free to register here:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1836954438946370306

…. I ask that if you do join not to heckle….. =P

(The other webinars this month will cover VMware’s EUC offering; discussing agentless security for the software-defined datacentre with Trend Micro; and EMC’s portfolio around data protection and availability – specifically RecoverPoint for VM and VPLEX virtual edition)

Tech Radar Pro Article and MTI VMware Partner Status

So the article I wrote a few months ago for MTI Times/MTI Bytes was shorten and submitted by our marketing team to Tech Radar Pro as part of an agreement to submit several articles regarding MTI’s insight of the IT Industry….. after what has seem like several months, my article has finally been published on their website! Yay…. ^_^
Funny thing is during the time between me submitting the article and TRP publishing it online VMware have rebranded vCenter Operations Manager as vRealize Operations… lol… =P
So the article is now a bit out-of-date…. =)

Anyways, you can find it here: http://www.techradar.com/news/software/business-software/what-next-for-virtualisation-in-midmarket-companies–1270546

Suffice to say that this is my only claim to fame within my IT career (so far)! =)

On another note, MTI have been invited to become a Premier Partner with VMware, which is a great honour as there are only a select few companies in the UK who have the highest Solution Provider partner status with VMware!
Interesting to see small-little MTI listed alongside the big-hitters like CC, SCC, Softcat, Kelway, Insight, etc….
To be honest, there are quite a number of bigger companies in the UK who are only Enterprise Partners, so it goes to show how much exposure within VMware we have gained in order to be bestowed with a Premier status!

I guess it’s just rewards for the amount of effort myself and my team have put into driving the VMware message to our customers and driving up our VMware business!

Although the downside to all this is that as Premier Partners we need to hold more VMware competencies, which means more training and certifications to do! >_<”
At last count MTI has achieved 6 out of 9 VMware competencies which is pretty good going!

Finally MTI’s VMworld update session will be held on Thursday 20th November 2014, our marketing team is just finalising the central London venue as I post this entry!
Hope to see you there!

Project MARVIN morphs into VMware EVO: RAIL – VMworld updates

EVO: RAIL?? Really…. Ok, someone really needs to fire the marketing guys!! =P

VMware EVO: RAIL announced.

In a nutshell, VMware and ‘a-n-other’ partner to produce a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance.
As I previously mentioned VMware are NOT going to start manufacturing and shifting tin!

So far the partners listed are Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, Inspur, Net One and Supermicro – these partners will be offering the ‘physical’ hardware for the appliance (a 2U-4 nodes hardware platform) with possibly the following specs:

  • Two Intel E5-2620 v2 six-core CPUs
  • 192GB of memory
  • One SLC SATADOM or SAS HDD as the ESXi boot device
  • Three SAS 10K RPM 1.2TB HDD for the VMware Virtual SAN datastore
  • One 400GB MLC enterprise-grade SSD for read/write cache
  • One Virtual SAN-certified pass-through disk controller
  • Two 10GbE NIC ports (configured for either 10GBase-T or SFP connections)
  • One 1GbE IPMI port for remote (out-of-band) management

VMware will be pairing the physical appliance with vSphere, vSAN, vCenter Log Insight and a new product called the EVO:RAIL engine.

VMware whitepaper: Introduction to VMware EVO: RAIL

This new appliance is supposed to be super-simple to configure and manage. Scalable to 16 nodes with new nodes automatically discovered when integrated into the rig. It even hooks up to vCloud Air (vCHS) to allow end-users the ability to utilise a hybrid approach to their environment!

Target audience – mid-market and branch office environments.

As you can imagine, EMC are not really a server manufacturer – nor are they looking at starting to produce servers…… according to Chad Sakac they could be throwing in the Phoenix platform into the EVO: RAIL appliance.

http://virtualgeek.typepad.com/virtual_geek/2014/08/vmworld-2014-evorail-and-emcs-approach.html

Availability has been punted as being the “second half of 2014”, but given we’re halfway through Q3 already, I doubt we’ll see anything till Nov/Dec time or even Q1 2015!

For more information, pop along to the VMware blogs of Duncan Epping (he of the awesome Yellow Bricks blog) and Chris Wolf (CTO):

http://blogs.vmware.com/tribalknowledge/2014/08/vmworld-2014-vmware-evorail-building-block-software-defined-data-center.html
http://cto.vmware.com/introducing-vmware-evo-hyper-converged-infrastructure-solutions/

And in case you’re wondering, (according to Duncan) the EVO represents a new family of “Evolutionary” Hyper-Converged Infrastructure offerings from VMware, and RAIL represents the “rail mount” attached to the 2U/4-node server platform. One RAIL represents the smallest unit of compute/network/storage that you can purchase within the EVO family.

Other significant news to filter out of the 1st day of VMworld:

  • VMware looks like it’s jumping on the OpenStack bandwagon by releasing it’s own version called VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIOS).
  • VMware releasing vRealize Suite which will be a Cloud Management Platform (CMP) that essentially helps you manage and deploy applications across your cloud platform (private, hybrid, public). They will be rebranding vCAC to vRealize Automation, vCOPs to vRealize Operations and ITBM to vRealize Business.
    VMware rebrands vCloud Hybrid Service as vCloud Air and announces a larger uptake of the product (and greater coverage across the globe)

As always, Derek Seaman’s blog has a great rundown of the keynote and 1st day….. http://www.derekseaman.com/