Monthly Archives: January 2016

Monitoring NetApp With vRealize Operations

This blog is contributed by my friend Luciano Gomes, a VMware PSO Consultant in Rio de Janeiro Area, Brazil. Thank you Lucky!

Continuing in our series of blog posts about the “extensibility” of vRealize Operations to monitor the “Physical World”, this time we will show you how to monitor your Netapp Systems. We’re using the NetApp management pack by our partner Blue Medora.

Pre-requisites

Ensure you have the NetApp management software installed. You can read the pre-requisite from the official Installation guide available in here. You can also see the NetApp DFM installation here.

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You need have an ID in NetApp that vRealize Operations can use to login and retrieve information. The table below shows the minimum permission.

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You need the license to try this management pack. Contact Blue Medora before to start the installation.

Netapp: Object Relationship:

The NetApp adapter recognizes the following NetApp storage objects:

  • Cluster
  • System (host)
  • vFiler
  • Aggregate (the container that owns volumes)
  • Volume (which may contain multiple LUNs)
  • LUN
  • Storage Virtual Machine
  • Disk

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Copying from the official installation guide, the adapter collects data from Netapp DFM / OCUM Systems on each data collection cycle (5 minutes). It runs queries to get the data.

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Installation

After all prerequisites are done, download the Netapp Adapter from Bluemedora website. To install the Netapp Adapter, go to Administration –> Solutions and click green plus icon. See the numbers in the screenshot below

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Follow the installation wizard.

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Make sure the signature is valid.

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The usual EULA.

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At this stage, just wait until the installation end. It might take a few minutes. Time for some fine Brazilian coffee! 🙂

 

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Configuration

Give the system enough time to finish the installation. Don’t close or finish without the message that the installation has been completed with no errors. Once done, follow the instructions below to configure the Netapp Adapter, go to: Administration->Solutions

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Follow the numbers in the screenshot below.

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Choose Netapp and vRealize Credentials:

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Generally speaking, for NetApp DFM/OCUM, you must use the same user ID that you use to instal it. In this case below, Windows AD username

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Always click Test Connection before click Save Settings and Close.

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After this configuration, you should to see this status of your Netapp Adapter:

Collection State: 201601241354.jpg

Collection Status: 201601241354.jpg

Don’t panic! The above is because I have not applied the license. Here is the proof.

Connect in the vRops appliance via SSH and check this log. The log location is:

/storage/vcops/log/adapters/NetappAdapter/

Look at the content by issuing a tail command, as the error should at the end of the log file

tail -f /storage/vcops/log/adapters/NetappAdapter/NetAppAdapter_144.log

Bingo! I saw this error message – Invalid License

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So let’s apply the license key. Follow this screenshot:

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Click on green plus to add the license:

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After click validate, you should to see this message below.

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Create a License Group for Netapp Adapter:

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Give it a name

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Add all instances below the “NetApp Adapter Instance”, as shown below:

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When you finish adding all Netapp Options, click Next.

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Review the result. If it’s good, click Finish.

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Now, check the collection status of Netapp Adapter. It should show data is being received.

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You’re done!

Time to see the beauty of this adapter. A lot of very useful Dashboards:

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This concludes the installation and configuration of Netapp Blue Medora Adapter for vRealize Operations. In the next article, we will explore the metrics and dashboards that comes from this amazing adapter.

Enjoy Netapp Bluemedora Adapter!

Why you can, and should, write a book

I see more people are writing a book. This is good, because it is one of those achievements you will remember many years from now. You may forget the company you work for, but you won’t forget the book you’ve written. It’s like your baby, because the amount of effort required to write it. It’s also like your children, because you can see yourself in it. Your book has more connection to you than the companies you work for, because it comes from you.

And yes, it’s a item that deserves to be in your Bucket List.

I will not kid you that writing a book is simple. It is a test of your perseverance. You will doubt yourself along the way. It is normal.

So how do you approach it?

First, learn from others. Google “why write a book” and “how to write a technical book”, and you will find plenty of lessons learned from others who have walked down that painful journey.

I gave some tips in this blog post, so I will not repeat them. Instead, I will complement and summarise the post, now that I have more experience (and pain) from it. My 2nd edition should be announced soon. No, 2nd edition is not easier for me, as I decided to expand significantly.

A book has many stages, which first time author will find overwhelming. That’s why the google in the first step is important, so you have knowledge of what you sign up for.

  1. Preparation
  2. Approach
  3. Contract & Publisher
  4. Writing
  5. Reviewing and Editing
  6. Publication & Marketing
  7. Sustaining

Preparation

If you are not sure that writing a book is for you, then test your ability and seriousness.

Have a blog. If you cannot even write 5 blogs on the same topic (of a book), you cannot write a book. A small book of 100 pages equals 25 blogs. If you cannot even write 5 blog in a month, it will be a very long journey. A blog complements your book, so it’s something you should do anyway.

Write 1 chapter. Writing a chapter is much harder than writing a series of blogs. Be a small Contributor of someone else book. Even 1 chapter, which should be around 20 pages, is not a small undertaking.

Approach

  • Work with a close friend who have published before. It is good to have a coach or leader.
  • Aim small. Just 100 pages is a good start.
  • Be clear on the Primary audience and Secondary audience. It will prevent confusion later on when you are writing.
  • Once you are ready to be the main author, try to do it alone. Working with multiple authors can have its complication.
  • Avoid content that will get outdated soon. Try not to tie to a specific version of products. Products such as VSAN changes every 6 months!
  • Develop a Table of Content. For every chapter, write 3-7 points it will cover. It should not have too few points or too many points.

Contract & Publisher

  • Choose an Acquisition Editor (AE) that understands your topic well. I tried working with a large Publisher that knows VMware very well. Unfortunately, they only had 1 AE, and she did not understand VMware business, let alone my topic. So I had to explain VMware, virtualization, vSphere, and then justify why vRealize Operations is a topic that readers wanted to pay. After months of trying to justify the viability of the book, I decided to go with Packt. Vinay, the AE from Packt did not need any convincing as they knew vRealize Operations.
  • Be careful with the IP. Make sure you retain the right to change publisher in your 2nd edition. This is just in case. I’m happy with Packt.
  • If your book is based on your blog or other work, check that the Publisher can accept it. Some publisher only allow 10% public content.
  • If money is important, discuss in details on the level of transparency of the royalty. You might be shocked that there is very little transparency given to you. Ask them for a sample report. Ensure they have a website where you can login and check on demand.

Writing

  • Decide the writing style. For my case, in my region a lot of readers don’t speak English well. I remember how I myself struggled with basic English when I first learned it.
  • Make it consistent. Do you use I or We or You?
  • Use the publisher template. You should be able to get one without signing a contract. If you are writing for Packt, I can pass you the template.
  • If your book needs to have content that will get outdated, try to make that part a standalone blog. You then refer to the blog in the book. It’s much easier to update a blog than a book

Reviewing and Editing

  • Since you are writing technical book, you want to minimize Time To Market. You also do not want to drag beyond 1 year as you will lose momentum. One way to speed up is to have parallel process between Technical Review and Editing. This requires more work though.
  • The editor may not be someone familiar with the topic. So be prepared for feedback that is probably not relevant. You will work with probably 5 different people in the Publisher organization.

Publication & Marketing

  • Discuss the marketing strategy with the Publisher. Be prepared that this is a different person who may not have heard your book at all.
  • Ask exactly how much money will be allocated to market your book, and where the advertisement will be placed. Remember, the Publisher is getting the lion share, often >84%.
  • Have a person for the Foreword. You should allocate 2 weeks here, as it’s not simple to write one.
  • Avoid making it your personal book. If you work for a company, make sure your senior management appreciates what you do. A book that it relevant to your work should be supported by your company.

Sustaining

  • A book is not a one off engagement between you and your audience. You have blog, twitter, LinkedIn, etc. to keep that new relationship going. Use this media to keep them updated, and also to update your content.
  • A blog is also a good place to add complementary materials. You should give all the screenshots, codes, etc. so readers can reuse them.

Be an author. You can do it.

Monitoring Physical Switches with vRealize Operations

This is a blog contributed by my friend Luciano Gomes, a VMware PSO Consultant in Rio de Janeiro Area, Brazil. Thank you Lucky!

 

If you were, like I was, dreaming of the possibility to monitoring physical network devices using vRealize Operations, your dream has finally come true! VMware released the Management Pack for Network Devices. I’m going to call it MPND for brevity.

It complements the Management Pack for Storage Devices (MPSD). These 2 are not just a standalone management. Think of them as the core or foundation adapters, that other management pack can leverage. For example, NSX uses MPND, and VSAN uses the MPSD.

Copying from the official Release Notes, it collects data on data center switch objects with the use of several different protocols and API’s. These include neighbor switch to switch objects via CDP and LLDP, and health, operations and performance metrics via SNMP.  This management pack discovers and collects data for all the leaf switches and spine switches in your physical network environment, and discovers the relationships between these switches and vCenter objects, namely hosts and VM.

The following diagram shows the architecture. I got this from a presentation in our intranet, but not able to figure out the colleague who did it (likely it’s our Product Manager Bill Erdman). As you can see, it collects standard properties/metrics via SNMP, and proprietary properties/metrics via vendor specific adapter.

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I’ve tested both V2 and V3. While not supported, it can actually collect from non-directly connected switch.

BTW, if you are using NSX, you do not need to install this management pack. It’s automatically installed when you install the NSX Management Pack 3.0. Yes, it install both solutions automatically so you get to see the physical layer too. Romain Decker has shared a great post on the NSX Management pack here.

We know that all v1.0 products are released with a lot of space to improvements. For example, the five minute collection intervals remains, so this not a real time SNMP monitoring or trap alerting. In my opinion, this ability to see physical device is a big step. It finally closes the gap in the visibility area for VMware administrators. It provides basic functionalities, such as

  • Physical Network Overview (main visibility dashboard)
  • Network Device Connectivity (troubleshooting dashboard)
  • Standard resource mapping tree views, operation scores, spark lines
  • Problem alerting, based on HA redundancies within data center switch fabrics
  • Topology visualization with underlying traversal spec determining neighbor relationships
  • Troubleshooting for network connectivity tracing
  • Top N leaf and spine switch by traffic volumes

In this blog I will explain in a few steps how you can monitor them:

Pre-requisites

Take note of the pre-requisite before you eagerly deploying this new cool toy.

  • vRealize Operations 6.1 and above. Yes, 6.0.x is not supported. Here is an upgrade guide.
  • vCenter 5.1 and above
  • LLDP or CDP enabled and configured on all switches. Someone has written a guide here. The blog does not have the owner name, so if you know him/her, let me know and I’ll add the name here.
  • IP address advertising enabled
  • TTL enabled
  • IPv4 addresses must be configured on all switches. IPv6 is not supported.

Installation

After configuring both your Physical and Virtual Switches, download the MPND from Solutions Exchange. To install the MPND, go to Administration->Solutions and click green plus icon:

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Follow the wizard:

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1) Click Browse and choose the PAK file
2) Click Upload
3) Click Next and wait
4) Finally, click Finish

Configure the adapter:

Click Management pack for Network Devices

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Click Configure, and you will get the following dialog box.

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You must provide the information from your Physical Switch. If you are using SNMP v3, you must provide the username and password. In my case, I was using just SNMP v2.

Click on green plus icon and provide your community and click ok.

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Click Test Connection to ensure it works. Click Save Settings. You should see the status of the MPND like what I have below.

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Go for your well deserved coffee break. Come back and you will see your physical switches!

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Things to note if you are using NSX Management Pack. From the MPND official Release Notes:

You cannot install the Management Pack for Network Devices on top of the Management Pack for NSX for vSphere version 2.0. If you want to use both management packs to manage your network environment, you must upgrade to the Management Pack for NSX for vSphere 3.0. This management pack automatically installs the Management Pack for Network Devices.

Enjoy MPND ☺