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.


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:


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.


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:


Follow the wizard:


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


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


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.


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


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


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 ☺

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