Why the upcoming vCenter Operations Management Suite has me excited

I would like to start off by saying that it’s nice to see VMware starting to bundle up some of their offerings into more complete packages. Many of these tools were acquired recently and it takes time to integrate them with their own applications. I have not looked recently to see if there is any price advantage to buying the bundle versus the apps separately. The main thing is that they continue to add functionality by tightly integrating the apps to work together.

The new vCenter Operations Management Suite has 4 versions available for the package, you can view the table here to compare versions. The highest version available is the Enterprise Plus, it looks like maybe VMware is starting to standardize on their version naming to match what vSphere has been using for years. This version offers the performance monitoring of vCOPs, Infrastructure Navigator, Chargeback manager and Configuration Manager. Until recently you would normally have to purchase these all separately and the cost was per VM based and could be pretty expensive for large environments.

One of the features that has me most excited was the integration between configuration manager and vCOPs. I saw a demo and cannot find it again right now. It showed that when viewing a host for example that is experiencing a performance issue you can correlate the change in performance with any configuration changes that took place at the same time the issue started. So if another team member or maybe yourself was updating a value on network cards and it did not produce any noticeable errors during the change. But vCOPs was tracking a change in performance the new suite will help brings these 2 separate tracks of information together to help fix issues and find root causes faster. Once I can find the screen shot again I will try to remember to update this post with it.

 

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

Read More

What could vCenter Operations for VMware View mean or help with – vCOPs

The world is just now starting to get a glimpse of what vCenter Operations for View could be like. I really hope that this product comes out of the gate with a strong feature set and delivers a big win for VMware. This would really strengthen their VDI offering.

The ability to monitor performance of the connections between the endpoints and the VMs running in the data center is a vital metric that needs to be tackled by VMware. This is something that Citrix is already delivering with XenDesktop and I like what they are doing so far. You can see the latency measurement between the connection and also information like client version, IP addresses and broker that it connected through. All very helpful information for troubleshooting performance and connection issues.

I like the fact that VMware has added counters for Windows that can be monitored using Perfmon inside the OS, and you can always fire this up to look at something. But I think this needs to continue to develop further to make these connection and performance issues easy to continually monitor and troubleshoot. In the preview videos that VMware posted on this blog post are mostly centered around monitoring the infrastructure, this is what vCOPs already does. The last video did show some tasty nugguets about PCoIP monitoring which looks promising. But some type of a client summary page would be very helpful so Admins do not have to drill down into 10 screens to get the picture unless they want that level of detail. It also needs to provide performance monitoring for client connections and end user experience. Below is a list of things that I think would be very helpful in a VMware View deployment to monitor.

  • PCoIP connection latency
  • VM login times
  • Client version
  • Connection server client is connected through
  • Connection type (PCoIP vs. RDP)

 

Below is a sample of what Citrix is offering today with their XenDesktop product. From this session screen you can shadow session which I wish VMware would add into View Manager. Then there are details about latency, connection type, endpoint details, which items are enabled within the HDX/ICA protocol. Overall a pretty good looking and helpful console from Citrix.

The lower part of the same screen shows you some hypervisor and broker health status. There is a simple graph that shows you CPU, Memory and Network usage for the VM that you are looking at.

 

 

 

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

Read More

VMware showing off more on Storage IO control coming in vSphere 4.1

With more talk about Storage IO Control (SIOC) each month, VMware is starting to leak more details about the feature. The best write up on the feature was by Scott Drummonds last month that you can read here.  With SIOC you will be able to have almost a quality of service for VM’s in regards to storage IO control. With a very simple setup showcased in the video below you can level the playing field so that something happening in one virtual machine does not monopolize all of the storage bandwidth and starve other machines.

A few things to keep in mind for now. That SIOC is enabled per datastore, does not have a reservation limit at this time, only enforces limits when a threshold is reached and can enforce limits for IOPS when specified at the VM level.  Thanks to Duncan for these details.

In the images below you can get an idea of how Storage IO Control is working along with Shares applied to Virtual Machines to stop any VM from hogging all of the IO.

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

Read More

Clean up Virtual Machine after Physical to Virtual migration – P2V

By now I’m sure that you know how to do a P2V or Physical to Virtual migration. There are several quality tools available including VMware Converter available as a Free download. But after you have converted your physical machine there will be some further clean up to do on your new virtual machine. This clean up is necessary to make sure you will have a stable and error free VM.

What exactly do you need to clean up? Well since a migration to virtual is a exact copy of the physical machine there will be left over applications, device drivers and non present devices left over. These all can affect the performance and stability of your virtual machine.

The first step you can perform is to remove and vendor specific applications or device drivers installed. You can remove these as you would any installed applications. These could be video drivers, nic teaming applications or management agents. They should all be removed as they will no longer work in your virtual machine and are likely to cause issues.

The next step is to remove any old devices that are no longer present and are not showing up in Device Manager. To do this you will have to enable the ability to see non present devices. I have list two methods below to enable this ability on Windows servers. These commands must be run from your newly created virtual machine.

Method 1:
Open a command prompt
Set devmgr_show_nonpresent+devices=1
Then open up Device Manager
Click View and then click Show Hidden Devices
Expand each section and look for devices that are dimmed
You can then right click them and choose Uninstall to remove

Method 2:
Right click on My Computer icon and select Properties
Click the Advanced tab
Click the Environment Variables button
In the lower part of the window just below the System variables box click on the New button
Variable Name = devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices
Variable Value = 1
then click OK to create the new variable
Click on OK buttons on remaining windows to close out of them
Now you will be able to start removing old devices
Then open up Device Manager
Click View and then click Show Hidden Devices
Expand each section and look for devices that are dimmed
You can then right click them and choose Uninstall to remove

Hope this gives you a start on your clean up process for freshly converted virtual machines. There are sure to be some other tasks that might be worth doing also, take these and create a process that works for your environment.

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

Read More

How to use ESXplot to read your ESXTop reports

How to use ESXplot to read your ESXTop reports

By now everyone should know that esxtop is a great tool that you can use to find out what might be causing performance issues on your ESX host. I don’t plan on writing a post on how to use esxtop. You can refer to Duncan’s ESXtop post for details on thresholds or to VMwares esxtop bible for good base information.

This post is more of a starting point on what ESXplot is and how to install and use. By now most of you should know that ESXplot was born out of the mind of Geoff White of VMware. Geoff is a coworker of Scott Drummonds the well known ESX performance expert.  Esxplot is a GUI application that lets you explore the data collected by esxtop in batch mode. The program takes a single command line argument which is the esxtop batch mode output file.

Why would you want to use esxplot? Well in the past your options to examine these files were to use Excel or Perfmon. Both options were very slow, sometimes taking hours to import the file before viewing. With esxplot your dump file will open within seconds usually. For more details you can read Scott’s post on version 1.0.

If you are using Windows to view your files you have 2 options. You can use the Windows binary file or run the python script. If you wish to run the python script you will need the following applications installed.
Python 2.6 or higher but not Python 3.x – Download
wxPython – Download
NumPy is also needed – Download

Once installed the application is very easy to use. First thing to do in capture some data from esxtop in batch mode using the command below. Then copy the file over to your workstation that you will run esxplot on. Open the app and the File ->Import->Dataset option from the menu to view your file. Then from the lower left section that will list your Hosts name open the tree to view all the captured values.

esxtop -b -d 2 -n 100> esxtopcapturefile.csv

You can download esxplot from here.

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

Read More

Looking to improve your understanding of VMware ESX performance

Myself along with many other admins supporting Virtual Infrastructures are always looking to increase their ability to diagnose performance related issues. As new software and hardware technology is released we get more tools to help and more things to think about.

To help with the issue VMware has published a few helpful documents.  I have broken down the different documents and included links to the originals at VMware.

Hyper-Threading is a common question about how ESX handles this technology. I’m going to assume that if you are reading this that you know what HT is.  Hyper-Threading has been supported in ESX since version 2, since ESX is aware of HT it treats logical cores different than physical cores.  Using HT does offload some of the SMP calculations from the OS and allows the processor hardware to do the work at a faster rate.  You can read the whole documente here.

The next VMware article covers the ESX Monitor modes available. It breaks down the different Hardware Virtualization options supported for different ESX features, guest OS and processor families. See full article here.

Next in line is Guest OS based performance. Due to the fact that VMware removes the hardware layer from the VMs touch. This in turn makes Windows perfmon or Top in Unix return results that are not very accurate.  So this brings up the question are you using your tradition tools that you would install on your physical servers? If so they are unaware of the benefits being realized by the virtualization software. The tools do not have an accurate view of cpu resources since each VM is getting a fraction of CPU time. See the document here.

The next big item to cover is CPU read time. This value always gets a lot of questions and is confusing to many. To make it as clear as I can Ready Time is the amount of time a Virtual Machine waits to run a process but has not be provided CPU resources on which to execute. There are two ways to get a value for ready time, you can use Esxtop or Virtual Center. If you use Esxtop you will get a percentage value and Virtual Center will give you a time value in milliseconds. To give you an idea 1,000 ms in VC’s report is equal to 5% fom esxtop.  Read more on full article here.

Read More
%d bloggers like this: