Please join us for a free webinar with Scott Lowe, Founder and Managing Consultant at The 1610 Group, and SolarWinds virtualization expert Jonathan Reeve. We’ll be discussing “Hyper-V vs. vSphere: Understanding the differences.”
The virtualization market is abuzz with talk of different hypervisors – most prominently VMware ESX® versus Microsoft Hyper-V®, who together own over 90% of the market. Small and medium businesses are already moving quickly toward Hyper-V, and a growing number of larger organizations are beginning to put plans in place to transition some portion of their environment from ESX to Hyper-V.
In this webcast we’ll explore the reasons for these changes and the ecosystems for these two platforms both now and in the future. We’ll also take a look ahead to what is known about Hyper-V 3.0 and why it warrants an even deeper look when evaluating hypervisors for your future virtualization deployments.
Register now for this special event!
The webcast can be found via this link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/845459393
DATE OF WEBCAST: Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 11:00 US CST
TITLE: Hyper-V vs. vSphere: Understanding the differences
LENGTH: 60 minutes
FORMAT: Webcast – slides
PRESENTER(s): Scott Lowe and Jonathan Reeve
As indicated in the “what we’re working on” Virtualization Manager–What We’re Working On, we have been hard at work with Virtualization Manager to support Microsoft Hyper-V environments.
This includes discovery of your Hyper-V hosts, performance monitoring, and many of the other features offered by Virtualization Manager.
If you have Hyper-V in your environment and you would like to try the beta, please register here.
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).
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
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 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
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.
DATE OF WEBCAST: Wednesday, January 18, 2012, 11:00 US CST
TITLE: The Journey to the Cloud: Practical Steps and Recommendations for Cloud Adoption
LENGTH: 60 minutes
FORMAT: Webcast – slides and product demonstration.
PRESENTER(s): Jonathan Reeve and Robbie Wright
Please join us for a FREE webinar with SolarWinds’ virtualization management experts, Jon Reeve and Robbie Wright who will be discussing “The Journey to the Cloud: Practical Steps and Recommendations for Cloud Adoption.”
In this webinar, we will discuss the journey to Private Cloud Adoption – from the early stages of virtualization adoption to operating a private cloud and delivering IT as a service. We’ll explore practical steps that can be taken, no matter what phase you’re in, to tackle the top management problems introduced by Virtualization and Private Cloud such as:
• VM Sprawl
• Managing Performance Contention in a shared infrastructure
• Properly planning for Capacity
• Implementing “showback” and Chargeback
Register now for this special event!
The Top 5 Things You Need in a Virtualization Management Solution
Using Virtualization Manager to Manage and Optimize your environment
Presented: November 3, 2011
Virtual environments are complex, dynamic and built upon shared pools of resources, creating new challenges that leave traditional management methods and tools in the dust. Virtualization Manager addresses these challenges with complete insight into your physical resources, the configuration of your virtual environment, and the performance of both.
In this webcast, we discuss:
Watch this educational webcast and see what's next for SolarWinds Virtualization Manager!
Last week, Virtualization Manager 4.1 went GA. The big focus of this release was in providing integration with SolarWinds Storage Manager 5.1 - The Release You've Been Waiting For but there were also a number of other notable improvements.
As we talk with customers, Storage IO performance contention continues to be one of the major (if not THE major) challenges to virtualizing mission critical applications. While VMware has done a great job of making storage instrumentation available in their platform (storage IO, latency metrics), and we provide multiple innovative ways (e.g. alerting, time travel, performance analyzer) to navigate this information in Virtualization Manager, you sometimes need to go beneath the virtualization layer to understand what is happening at the physical array level. For example, are these datastores and LUNs sharing a RAID group and contending for resources on the physical array? SolarWinds Storage Manager helps you answer these questions. In Virtualization Manager 4.1,you’ll notice that whenever you drill into an object detail view for a VM, Host, datastore or cluster, you’ll get a list of LUNs that this particular object is related to. If you configure Storage Manager integration, the relevant LUN links will have links to launch into the Storage Manager product. Maybe I’m troubleshooting a slow VM for example – clicking on that VM allows me to understand the LUN (or possibly LUNs) that back this VM. Clicking on that LUN allows you to launch in to Storage Manager in context of that LUN and access physical array performance data for it.
The look and feel of the dashboards has been improved and some of the dashboard controls have been moved to the top of the screen for better accessibility. The widget controls have been unified for consistency.
There are a couple of new widget types, these being the map widget and the performance graph widget.
The new maps widget allows you to visualize a subset of your virtual infrastructure, and the alerts relevant to it, right there as a widget on your dashboard. Maybe you have a production cluster, or a cluster running VDI for example, and you just want to get alerts relating to that cluster. You’ve always been able to do this in the map view, but now you can encapsulate that view in widget form. And just like all dashboard widgets, you get right click sharing capability to embed that widget in an external web page or portal.
Now pick any performance metric for any object in the system and plot it on a graph (just like you can select graphs in the “performance analyzer” view)
The map view has been improved to allow for higher density of information, and will now expand to fill the screen on your large screen monitor!
That’s it until next time.
Title: VMworld US Takeaways, Insights and Best Practices
Join SolarWinds for this special Geek Speak series webcast: You’ll learn why Virtualization Manager won the Best of VMworld 2011 Gold Award for Virtualization Management and how to solve the issues affecting you the most.
A number of folks have started to deploy Virtual Desktop solutions in earnest. Whether this is a solution from VMware, Citrix, or someone else – we often get asked how to drill down or provide a perspective on just the pieces of the virtual infrastructure supporting the Virtual Desktops (i.e. so we can understand CPU, memory, disk IO and network contention just on the subset supporting VDI)
So how can we identify the Virtual Desktops in our environment? One way is to look at the guest OS installed inside the VMs to infer whether this VM is a desktop (i.e. a desktop vs server OS). If you visit VMware’s supported OS page here, and filter by OS type of “Desktop” for ESXi5 – you get 38 individual OS results. In general, the majority are some flavor of Windows desktop OS (Windows XP, Windows 7 etc….) We can narrow these 38 individual OSes down into 8 categories and get:
MS-DOS (yes – it’s true!); Windows 3.1; Windows 7; Windows 95; Windows 98; Windows Vista; Windows XP; SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop
So how can we find these type of desktop OS VMs in Virtualization Manager? We can leverage the power of search to find these VMs. If we look in the query builder inside the product, we can quickly find the the property “vm.guestFullName” that we’re looking for:
It’s worth noting the description listed with this property – this attribute gives a pretty accurate description of the guest OS as reported by VM Tools (which should really be installed in your virtual desktops anyhow). We can use the Editor Mode of the query builder to chain together (using “OR”) a list of the 8 OS categories we’re looking for, so something like:
vm.guestFullName:"MS-DOS" OR vm.guestFullName:"Windows 3.1" OR vm.guestFullName:"Windows 7" OR vm.guestFullName:"Windows 95" OR vm.guestFullName:"Windows 98" OR vm.guestFullName:"Windows Vista" OR vm.guestFullName:"Windows XP" OR vm.guestFullName:"Desktop"
which should match on VMs with a desktop OS property matching that particular phrase/string. Let’s try it out:
A quick mouse over on “hits” from search results looks like it is bringing up the right VMs. We can also look at a “facet” view (by clicking more->explore to the right of the search bar) to get a pie chart of how the desktop OS types break down in our environment.
One more quick concept – I am able to search “across” object relationships, so for example to find clusters that have VMs running Windows XP, I can do a cluster search for “cluster.vm.guestFullName:"Windows XP", similarly, to find datastores being used by Windows XP VMs, I can do a datastore search for “datastore.vm.guestFullName:"Windows XP”.
So let’s get back to our original premise – how can we use this search to give us a VDI perspective?
Since almost all of the content (widgets) on a Virtualization Manager dashboard are backed by a search, we can leverage the desktop OS search above, and across object relationships, to create widgets that focus only on the subset of the VMs supporting VDI.
Let’s take one example – the Cluster Memory Utilization widget on the default “Administrator” dashboard.
The standard search here is “* AND -cluster.memload.latest:0” (the second part filters out non zero results). If we leverage our new desktop OS search, we get:
* AND -cluster.memload.latest:0 AND (cluster.vm.guestFullName:"MS-DOS" OR cluster.vm.guestFullName:"Windows 3.1" OR cluster.vm.guestFullName:"Windows 7" OR cluster.vm.guestFullName:"Windows 95" OR cluster.vm.guestFullName:"Windows 98" OR cluster.vm.guestFullName:"Windows Vista" OR cluster.vm.guestFullName:"Windows XP" OR cluster.vm.guestFullName:"Desktop")
We put this search query into the widget configuration above, and we’ve got ourselves a Cluster memory utilization widget, just for our VDI clusters (or strictly speaking, the clusters containing VMs with a desktop OS).
If we go ahead and do this for a number of widgets, we could get a (slightly updated) version of the administrator dashboard for example, focused only on our VDI/desktop OS infrastructure.
We could also do the inverse, to find the VMs NOT running one of the above 8 types of desktop OS (i.e. a search for our server OS VMs essentially), we can use a search like:
vm.name:* NOT(vm.guestFullName:"MS-DOS" OR vm.guestFullName:"Windows 3.1" OR vm.guestFullName:"Windows 7" OR vm.guestFullName:"Windows 95" OR vm.guestFullName:"Windows 98" OR vm.guestFullName:"Windows Vista" OR vm.guestFullName:"Windows XP" OR vm.guestFullName:"Desktop")
You can download these dashboards from the community content exchange
In a previous How many licenses will a move to vSphere 5 require?, we explored how to create a Virtualization Manager vSphere 5 Licensing Dashboard UPDATED that tracked the total vRAM pool, host CPU sockets and the number of vSphere 5 licenses required for each edition based on VMware’s recently announced vSphere 5.
Last week (presumably based on customer feedback), VMware announced a slight change to vSphere 5 licensing. Specifically, VMware has increased the memory (vRAM) entitlements for each vSphere edition, as well as cap the vRAM at 96GB for VMs configured with more memory than that. (haven’t seen too many VMs larger than 96GB in my travels but I guess they’re out there somewhere )
Let’s compare the initial vSphere 5 licensing with the update recently announced.
Ok – it looks like we’ll need to update our dashboard in 2 main areas.
Our old vRAM pool calculation was pretty simple, it simply added up the total configured memory across all Powered ON VMs. We need to change the logic slightly to choose the minimum of the configured memory and 96GB (i.e. VMs with more than 96GB get capped at 96GB) The updated vRAM trend now performs this logic (remember that Virtualization Manager stores configured memory in MB so we need to convert it to GB, i.e. 96GB is 98304MB)
Finally, we need to adjust the license count trends. Let’s take a look at the Enterprise Plus case.
So we take the new vRAM calculation (with 96GB cap) and divide by 96GB instead of 48GB to reflect the new memory entitlement for Enterprise Plus edition.
Let’s take a look at the results – we’ve left the old calculation on the dashboard so it can be compared to the new.
First thing you notice is that our vRAM pool hasn’t changed- we don’t have any VMs with more than 96GB of configured RAM in this environment Subsequently, the number of vSphere 5 licenses needed in this environment falls in line with the equivalent increase in memory entitlements (e.g. the number of enterprise plus licenses needed drops in half, since the memory entitlement doubled for this edition)
Download the updated vSphere 5 Licensing Dashboard UPDATED and let us know what you think.
One of the exciting new features of the recent 4.0 release of Virtualization Manager is “Time Travel”. The goal of Time Travel is to allow administrators to understand how the virtual environment configuration, relationships and performance has changed over time. The reality of virtual environments is that they are dynamic – and becoming more so – with things like VMware DRS (and recently announced Storage IO DRS), enabled by vMotion and Storage vMotion. For example, if I was experiencing slowness on a VM yesterday, there’s no guarantee that the VM in question is on the same host or datastore right now as it was when I was experiencing a problem – hence the need to be able go back in time for that VM and understand the historical performance in context of where the VM was at that time. Let’s take a closer look.
The easiest way to see the power of Time Travel is to open the map view within Virtualization Manager. The map view shows the different objects in the virtual infrastructure and how they are related, their alert status, and also allows sorting of performance data. I know we were having an IO issue on one of our datastores last night – it was probably caused by VM back-ups but I’d like to understand what VMs were on that datastore and which ones were generating the most IO last night.
Firstly, let’s put the datastore in question “in context” so that we focus on that datastore and understand the other pieces of the infrastructure its related to.
When you put a single object in context like this – you’ll see a little Time Travel box appear in the top left corner of the map view. Before we go back in time to last night, let’s see what VMs on this datastore are generating the most IO right now – simply click on the “Sort By” link and choose to sort the VMs by IOPs. Click the “descending” check box to sort from high to low. Looks like “Palm Beach” is our top talker right now.
If we now go back to 1AM around when our backups kick in (notice the Time Travel box has changed to a night view!) – we can see that the Miami VM was our top talker back at 1AM on this particular datastore.
“Time Travel” is also exposed in the performance analyzer (performance charting) within Virtualization Manager. In this case – I have selected the same datastore Tick and plotted its IOPs for a time window between 12AM and 3AM in the morning – to catch again our back-up activity.
I would like to understand the VMs that were on this datastore within this time window, and which ones were generating most IO. If I click on the related line button here – I am able to see Time Travel in action. I am able to sort the (dependent) VMs that were on this datastore in this time window, by their peak or minimum IOPs (or any other collected metric).
This way I can now see a plot of the IOPs over time for these VMs relative to the datastore itself for the time window of interest.
So with Time Travel – you can troubleshoot what actually happened in the past without assuming the environment looked the same as it does now!
There’s a lot of talk right now in the blogosphere about VMware’s recent announcement of vSphere 5 licensing, that pools of vRAM (allocated memory across VMs) will be used as a key basis for licensing in vSphere 5. This is a great opportunity to explore the flexibility of the Virtualization Manager product (previously Hyper9) to produce some widgets and a dashboard that can help. Thank you to Edward Haletky for reaching out on this.
First up – how do you calculate the total vRAM pool? The details are spelled out in http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vsphere_pricing.pdf but this is basically the total of the allocated memory across all of your Powered ON VMs. That’s really easy to create as a “trend” in virtualization manager – a trend is simply the result of a search plotted over time. Let’s start with finding all of the virtual machines in our environment that are Powered ON. The built in query builder makes this really easy:
Lets now create a “trend” out of this and add up the allocated memory of all those Powered ON VMs to give us our total vRAM pool.
Now we can save it and add it to our “vSphere 5 Licensing” Dashboard. We have our first widget.
Let’s take this a step further. Again according to http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vsphere_pricing.pdf, the vRAM entitlement per CPU socket is
We can now create trends that will calculate the number of licenses we would need of each edition, by dividing our total vRAM pool by the numbers above. Lets’ do that for the essentials case:
Memory is stored in MB in virtualization manager so we simply divide by 1024 to get it into GB and then by 24 (or just divide by 24*1024=24576) to get the the number of Essentials licenses that are needed to support the vRAM pool. We can do the same thing for the enterprise and enterprise plus editions, and add the result to our dashboard.
Finally, let’s go ahead and add the total number of CPU sockets to our vSphere 5 licensing dashboard which is a trend provided out of the box. Since a vSphere 5 license is still required for each CPU socket, it is interesting to know if the licenses required for the vRAM pool exceed the number of CPU sockets. In our case, that is clearly not the case (there happen to be a lot of Powered OFF VMs in this particular environment).
That’s all there it to it! Find the vSphere 5 Licensing Dashboard on the community exchange at vSphere 5 Licensing Dashboard UPDATED and import it into your Virtualization Manager.
Managing Virtualized Environments End-to-End – From Virtual Servers to Physical Storage
Managing a virtualized infrastructure requires visibility across all layers of your environment – from VMs down to the physical systems and storage that supports them. Please join SolarWinds for an integrated product demonstration of the new Virtualization Manager and Storage Manager products and learn how to achieve success in these environments. Learn how to:
• Identify VMware performance bottlenecks and get recommendations to fix hot spots across shared memory, CPU and storage resources.
• Take capacity planning to the next level by factoring storage and network IO into your capacity plans
• Pinpoint and resolve physical storage performance and capacity bottlenecks
• Use Virtualization Manager’s new Time-Travel feature to troubleshoot historical problems
• Manage VM I/O contention on your storage and its impact on meeting SLAs
• Forecasting shared storage capacity issues proactively
Also during this webcast we’ll demonstrate best practices and technologies from SolarWinds that help to conquer these challenges and ensure success in these environments.
Managing a virtualized infrastructure requires visibility across all layers of your environment – from VMs down to the physical systems and storage that supports them. Please join SolarWinds for an integrated product demonstration of the new Virtualization Manager and Storage Manager products and learn how to achieve success in these environments.
NA/LATAM-Thursday June 16, 2011 @ 11:00 AM CDT
EMEA- Thursday June 16, 2011 @ 1:00 PM GMT
APAC- Wednesday June 15, 2011 @ 11:00 AM SGT
What sessions will you be attending at this year’s VMworld Las Vegas? Vote now through May 18 to help determine the content!
SolarWinds submitted the three sessions outlined below. Please take a minute and show your support by giving us a “Thumbs Up.”
1. Go to http://www.vmworld.com/cfp.jspa.
2. Create a VMworld log in.
3. Once at the Session Voting page, use the Search Options and enter SolarWinds in Keywords.
4. Click on the “Thumbs Up” symbol next to the Session ID and description.
5. Thanks in advance for your support!!!