Preface of 2nd edition

First of all, thank you for the feedback on the first edition. You will see that this second edition goes above and beyond the feedback. It actually has more new content than the existing content, enabling us to cover the topic deeper and wider.

The strongest feedback Packt Publishing and I got was to make it more pleasant to read as infrastructure is a dry topic. The topics we cover in the book are complex in nature, and the book goes deep into operationalizing performance and capacity management.
Another common feedback was to give more examples on the dashboards. You want more practical solution that you can implement. You want the book to guide you in your journey to operationalize your IaaS platform.

These two feedback plus other feedback and goals made the publisher and me took a fresh look on the topic. You will find the 2nd edition more complete, yet easier to read.

  • In terms of ease of read, we have made the writing style more conversational. It should read less like a formal technical whitepaper and more like a spoken conversation among colleagues. We’ve also made the pictures clearer and added more diagrams to explain the topics better. We use more bullets and tables to improve the layout. We use shorter sentence, hence, we only use she instead of she/he in the book. It applies to both genders.
  • In terms of completeness, you will find that the topics are expanded significantly. For example, the 2nd edition has five chapters on dashboards, compared with just one chapter on the 1st edition. Chapter wise, the book now has 15 chapters instead of 8 in the 1st edition.

What this book covers

Content wise, the book is now distinctly split into three main parts. Each part
happens to have 5 chapters each:

  • Part 1 provides the technical foundation of SDDC management. It aims to correct deep-rooted misunderstanding of knowledge that is considered basic. Terms such as VM and SDDC will be redefined, and we hope that you will gain new perspective. Part 1 is also written for VMware specialists who need to explain these topics to their peers, customers, or management.
  • Part 2 provides the actual solution that you can implement in your environment. We provide the reasons behind each dashboard, so you get the understanding on why it is required and what problem it solves.
  • Part 3 acts as a reference section. If you need to know the meaning behind a specific counter and how it relates to other counters, Part 3 has over 100 pages on this topic

Chapter 1, VM – It Is Not What You Think!, aims to clear up the misunderstandings that customers have about virtualization. It explains why a VM is radically different from a physical server.

Chapter 2, The Software-Defined Data Center, takes the concept further and explains why a virtual data center is fundamentally different from a physical data center. You will see how it differs architecturally in almost all aspects.

Chapter 3, SDDC Management, covers the aspects of management that are affected with the new architecture.

Chapter 4, Performance Monitoring, takes the topic of the previous chapter deeper by discussing how performance management should be done in a virtual data center. It
introduces a new paradigm that redefines the word Performance.

Chapter 5, Capacity Monitoring, complements Chapter 4 by explaining why capacity management needs to take into account performance before utilization. This chapter wraps up Part 1 of the book.

Chapter 6, Performance Monitoring Dashboards, kicks off Part 2, where we cover the
practical aspects of this book, as they show how sample solutions are implemented.
We start by showing the steps to implement dashboards to monitor performance.

Chapter 7, Capacity Monitoring Dashboards, takes the dashboards in Chapter 6 further
by adding capacity monitoring requirement. You will see how they are closely related.

Chapter 8, Specific-purpose Dashboards, complements those dashboards by covering specific use cases. They are often used by specific roles, such as network team, storage team, and senior management.

Chapter 9, Infrastructure Monitoring Using Blue Medora, takes the dashboards
beyond VMware. It covers non-VMware components of your IaaS. Blue Medora is
contributing their expertise here.

Chapter 10, Application Monitoring using Blue Medora, completes our scope by going
above the infrastructure layer. It covers commonly used applications in your
VMware-based SDDC. This chapter also wraps up Part 2 of the book.

Chapter 11, SDDC Key Counters, sets the technical foundations of performance and
capacity management by giving you a tour of the four infrastructure elements (CPU,
RAM, network, and storage). It also maps these four elements into all the vSphere
objects, so you know what is available at each level.

Chapter 12, CPU Counters, covers CPU counters in detail. It is the first of four chapters
that cover the core infrastructure element (CPU, RAM, network, and storage). If you
do not fully understand the various counters in vSphere and vRealize Operations,
how they impact one another, and what values you consider healthy, then these four
chapters are good for you. They dive deep into the counters, comparing the counters
in vCenter and vRealize Operations. Knowing the counters is critical, as choosing the
wrong counters or interpreting the values wrongly will lead to a wrong conclusion.

Chapter 13, Memory Counters, continues the deep dive by covering memory counters.
It explains why memory is one of the most complex area to monitor and troubleshoot
in SDDC.

Chapter 14, Storage Counters, continues the deep dive by covering storage counters. It
explains the multiple layers of storage that occur as a result of virtualization. It also
explains that distributed storage requires different monitoring approach.

Chapter 15, Network Counters, completes the deep dive by covering network counters
and wraps up the book.

What you need for this book

We assume that you have the products installed and configured. VMware vSphere,
vRealize Operations, and Log Insight are the products used in this book. There
are many blog articles and YouTube videos on design, installation, configuration,
and product overview. Some of the bloggers, such as Sunny Dua, have many other
materials, which will complete your learning. At a personal level and as a father of
two young kids, I’m not keen on killing trees unless it’s really necessary.

The book takes advantage of all relevant new features in the latest release. That
means vSphere 6.0 Update 2, vRealize Operations 6.2, and Log Insight 3.3. As this
is not a product book, almost all the content of the book can be implemented using
earlier release. To assure you that you can do that, we’ve kept screenshots from older
versions whenever possible.

The detailed steps of implementation will certainly vary if you are using the older
release. For example, instead of using the View widget in vRealize Operations 6, you
will have to use the Metric Graph and XML in vRealize Operations 5.8.

If the solution cannot be implemented with the previous release, we’d highlight it.
For example, the data transformation feature in the View widget is hard to replicate
in vRealize Operations 5.8.

Who this book is for

This book is for VMware professionals. This can be a VMware administrator,
architect, consultant, engineer, or technical support. You may be working for
VMware customers, partners, or VMware itself. You may be an individual
contributor or a technical leader.

This book is an intermediate-level book. It assumes that you have hands-on
experience of vSphere, vRealize Operations, and Log Insight, and you are capable of
performing some level of performance troubleshooting. You also have good overall
knowledge of vCloud Suite, Virtual SAN, Horizon View, and NSX. Beyond VMware,
you should also have intermediate knowledge of operating systems, storage,
network, disaster recovery, and data center.

This book is also for IT professionals who deal with VMware professionals. As such,
there is a wide range of roles, as virtualization and VMware cover many aspects of
IT. Depending on your role, certain chapters will be more useful to you.

What this book is not

This book is a solution book, not a product book. It uses vRealize Operations and
Log Insight to apply the solution. You can probably use other products to implement
the dashboards.

Because it is not a product book, it does not cover all modules of vRealize Operations
Suite. vCenter Infrastructure Navigator and VMware Configuration Manager are
not covered. If you need a product book, Scott Norris and Christopher Slater have
published one. There are also many blogs that cover installation and configuration.