SolarWinds Virtualization Manager is a very rich reporting product, with a number of different styles of reports for getting information. There’s more than one way to “skin a cat” as it were when it comes to reporting with Virtualization Manager. We will cover the primary types of reports, as well as scheduling of those reports.
The dashboards within virtualization manager are numerous and cover a variety of different use cases, and of course, it’s easy to customize them and create your own. There are currently 11 different widget types for you to choose from. You can also create a PDF report for any of the dashboards (out of the box or ones you create) – simply click on “Create Dashboard Report” on the top right part of the dashboard view
Create a PDF of any dashboard
This provides tremendous flexibility since any dashboard you customize or create can be instantly exported to PDF (they can also be scheduled – more on that in the scheduled reporting section).
Dashboard Widget Sharing
We get a tremendous amount of positive feedback around the capability of being able to share a dashboard widget as a URL that can be sent or embedded in a portal like Microsoft SharePoint. Click on the “advanced options” arrow on a widget and select “Copy widget link” – this yields a direct URL to this widget that can be cut and pasted. A lot of administrators I talk to will embed these on a web page somewhere so that it is convenient for other teams to see information on the virtual infrastructure without those teams needing access to vCenter for example. They will also send the links via email or IM as a way to collaborate with other administrators – these links provide live views into Virtualization Manager (and therefore the underlying virtual infrastructure) unlike some other tools that only offer point in time snapshots.
Let’s share this with my manager……
The widgets can also be embedded into APM/NPM dashboards. (see Single Pane of Glass – Tying in Storage Manager & Virtualization Manager into Orion Dashboard)
Or add a widget to my Orion dashboard
Search and “Data Export”
Virtualization Manager leverages search as a foundation – and comes out of the box with more than 60 saved searches (or queries). These span configuration details as well as performance. For example, want to find all of your Linked Clone VMs? – there’s a search for that!
An out of the box saved search – and the results from running it
Pretty much all of the configuration and performance information Virtualization Manager collects is searchable – which is great for ad-hoc reporting, you don’t always know what you don’t know if you know what I mean
There’s a query builder to help you augment the out of the box saved searches or create your own – want to know how many VMs are in the production folder? – bring up a search for it in the query builder.
Using the Query Builder
What about if you’ve got a great search but want to get a hard copy of it (e.g. in Excel) or get additional details about those items, for example, maybe you want to search for all the VMs with one or more snapshots but then get an Excel report with each VM and details about every snapshot it has. That’s where data export comes in. Simply select the items (VMs in this case) you want to export to Excel and hit the “Export” button. This takes you to a screen where you can choose which attributes for each item you want to include in your Excel report. Once you’ve chosen the attributes, you can also save them as a “template” for convenient future use – we also provide a number of common ready made templates for you to use.
Found the VMs with one or more snapshots, lets export them to Excel.
“Scripted (on demand) Reports”
Scripted Reports can be found by clicking on the “Reporting” link at the top of the screen – this leads to a list of reports that can be run, typically against a given Virtual Center.
Accessing Scripted Reports
These reports will collect data “on demand” from the Virtual Center you specify. For example, the VM Aging report will collect data from vCenter to attempt to find out when a VM was initially created, and who created it. These reports generate Excel reports and you can find the generated report under the “Content” section of the product.
The “performance analyzer” within Virtualization Manager allows you to plot arbitrary items as well as their relationships. For example, a host and all its VMs with CPU and metrics, or a datastore and all of its VMs and storage IO metrics. These charts can be exported as a PNG file, and the underlying chart data can be exported to Excel by clicking on the “Save Report” link. The Excel report can be downloaded from the “Content” section of the product. The Performance Analyzer also contains options for stack charts, and graph overlays.
Performance Analyzer Charting
“Trends” and “Facet” Views
A trend is simply a search that is run on a schedule with points (search results) plotted on a chart (e.g. the number of VMs I have) and a “Facet” view is a pie chart with breakdown of items across my environment. Both of these views are widget types that can be put on a dashboard – if you drill into the widget, you’ll be taken to an enlarged view.
Trend and Facet drill down views, also known as “Business Views”
The trends can also be exported to Excel by clicking on the “Save Report” link, and like the Scripted Reports, the resulting file can be found under the “Content” section of the product.
Finally, we come to scheduling of reports. The first 3 types of reports we covered – Dashboard Reports, Data Export and Scripted (on demand) Reports can be run on a schedule and delivered via email if desired. For dashboard reports, we send out a PDF attachment but also send the email as HTML, so that you can see the report on your mobile device without having to open an attachment. Whenever you run one of these three reports, you’ll be taken to a screen that shows you the report to download, as well as provide you with scheduling options.
Report retrieval and schedules and SMTP configuration
Remember that if you want to send out your scheduled reports via email, you’ll need to have an SMTP server configured in the Administration part of the product.