VMworld 2016 Roundup: Day 5

The last (half) day of VMworld 2016. This day always incorporates one last, non-VMware specific, general session, and offers breakout sessions for about half the day until the conference closes down. Off we go.

General Session

For general session commentary, check out the Live Blog. It was encouraging to see a full lineup of women engaging the audience in talks about their science and technologies jobs. It was clear that these jobs were also their passion. As is typical for the Thursday general session, these talks weren’t focused on VMware so much as they were on topics of general interest. We were presented with thoughtful and inspirational notions and ideas, and I hope this continues at future VMworlds.

Virtual SAN Management – Time to Level Up Your Ops Game! [MGT7770]

Jeff Godfrey & Rawlinson Rivera delivered a (relatively) slide deck free presentation, opting to demo almost the entire talk. Since it was freeform, I didn’t have the benefit of a presented agenda or other structure to draw from. As such, this summary’s going to consist mostly of bits and pieces of information I was able to capture from the talk. Note that the presentation was prefaced with a disclaimer that some or all the topics presented may be forward-looking and there’s no guarantee that VMware will deliver on any or all the topics presented. Basically.

Analytics collected by Virtual SAN (VSAN) are stored in a storage object on VSAN, whose entries are overwritten on a 90 day cycle. If you want to keep the data longer (and you do), you need to roll up the data to vRealize Operations Manager. Remember that VSAN is just one part of a SDDC, so having the metrics in vROps is ideal. Also note that the performance metrics stored on VSAN storage are separate from the vCenter database, so there is no impact on vCenter performance (apparently this is a common question). When viewing VSAN data through vCenter, you can view the 90 days worth of information through what is effectively a sliding window, where you can see 24 hours worth at a time. When you roll up your VSAN data to vROps, you’ll be able to keep up to 6 months worth of data.

The VSAN management pack, needed to view VSAN data and access the default dashboards, is installed with all versions of vROps. You don’t have to have Enterprise, any version of vROps will do. Customized dashboards can be easily created by copying components from the out-of-the-box VSAN dashboards. You should install the management pack(s) for your storage devices so that you can have visibility across your entire storage fabric.

There is a 9,000 components per host limit in VSAN. vROps can provide alerts well in advance of an error, so proactive actions can be taken. The benefits of having vROps monitor those components in your VSAN clusters should be fairly evident.

If you have vRealize Log Insight, and you should since a 25-OSI pack is available with vCenter, you should have your VSAN trace logs feed into it. As of VSAN 6.2, the trace logs that are forwarded to vRLI can be made into human readable information, which will help in understanding and troubleshooting your VSAN clusters.

The audience was treated to a demonstration of a customized multi-cloud monitoring dashboard in vROps, which was built by Sunny Dua of VMware. The dashboard allowed you to drill down through the VSAN components to get further information during your troubleshooting efforts. Note that vROps can automate DRS actions, and you can migrate a VM across clusters via XvMotion. Make sure that you’re running vROps 6.3 or better to get full functionality.

Dee Abson

Dee Abson is a technical architect from Alberta, Canada. He's been working in the field of technology for over 20 years and specializes in server and virtualization infrastructure. Working with VMware products since ESX 2, he holds several VMware certifications. He is a 9x VMware vExpert. You can find him on Twitter and Mastodon.

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