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19 Posts authored by: jonathan.reeve

Hypervisor Support

One of the additional things we’re working on is Hypervisor support beyond VMware.  We are looking at Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix Xen Server – most likely in that order.  We also see more prevalence of 2 or more Hypervisors being used in some of our customers, so having a unified and vendor independent way of looking at your Virtual Infrastructure is becoming very important.  If you have requests for Virtualization Manager Hypervisor support – please post them in the comments section below.

Storage Integration

As many of you know – there is a very tight linkage between virtualization and the shared storage back end.  There is a clear need to understand the virtualization layer and its dependence on the physical (and logical) storage underneath.  With that in mind, we are working on linkages between Virtualization Manager and Storage Manager so that users can seamlessly navigate from the virtual to the underlying physical entities.  For example, from a virtual standpoint, it may seem like a good idea to Storage vMotion this VM to another datastore – but if an analysis of the underlying physical storage shows us that these 2 datastores are sharing a common overloaded RAID group for example – that vMotion isn’t going to help us much!


Other Priorities

Some of the additional items we are considering for future releases include:

Role Based Access Control - The ability to tie a subset of the virtual infrastructure to a user account - for example a set of clusters, or VMs in a particular resource pool or folder.  By tying an implicit search to a given user, that user's scope can be restricted and all search based content (dashboards, alerts, trends etc...) should be automatically applied to only the chosen search scope.



PLEASE NOTE: We are working on these items based on this priority order, but this is NOT a commitment that all of these enhancements will make the next release.  We are working on a number of other smaller features in parallel.   If you have comments or questions on any of these items (e.g. how would it work?) or would like to be included in a preview demo, please let us know!


NA/LATAM-Thursday April 21, 2011 11:00 AM CDT

EMEA- Thursday April 21, 2011 1:00 PM GMT

APAC- Wednesday April 20 11 AM SGT

To sign up:

NA/LATAM- https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/200908976

EMEA- https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/344221472

APAC- https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/197966576


Learn about the common pitfalls that you will encounter as you progress on your Virtualization journey towards Private Cloud computing.  Join SolarWinds Head Geek Josh Stephens as we discuss the changes that these Virtual Environments have caused and how they affect management best practices. Some of what he’ll cover will include:

· Best practices for management as you progress on your Virtualization journey

· Identifying and Resolving Performance and Capacity Bottlenecks

· Conquering the inevitable VM Sprawl that will arise

· Preparing for management of your Private Cloud

Also during this webcast we’ll demonstrate key technologies from SolarWinds that help to conquer these challenges and ensure success in these environments.

In the transition to private cloud computing, Chargeback is becoming one key property that differentiates a highly virtualized environment from one that offers a true private cloud.  Whether you plan to formally bill folks for their usage of the environment or simply perform some kind of “showback” or “shadow billing” (how much would it cost?), you need to be able to create dashboards that reflect those costs.


There are a few typical ways that we can potentially charge for computing resources:

  • Fixed – The most simple method is to charge some fixed cost per Virtual Machine, this approach is easy to understand, and likely most similar to any chargeback that may have occurred for physical servers.
  • Allocation – This method charges based on the resources allocated to a Virtual Machine such as the number of vCPUs, memory or storage space allocated.
  • Usage – The most sophisticated, charge based on the resources that are actually being used or consumed such as CPU cycles, memory and storage consumption, and/or network and storage IO.
  • Combo – An arbitrary combination of the previous 3 methods


Creating a Chargeback or Showback Dashboard


So how do you create widgets and dashboards in Virtualization Manager to track these costs?  Fortunately, since Virtualization Manager is built upon a search based platform, you have a tremendous amount of flexibility to model all of the above scenarios.


Let’s take a simple scenario – we want to charge based on the amount of memory allocated to a VM nd the amount of storage being used – note that the storage used by a VM could be different to what it has been allocated if you are using thin provisioning for example.  We’ll assume $25 per GB of memory and $10 per GB of storage space.  To do this, we’re going to use a feature called “Trends” – Trends are simply a search that runs on a schedule and plots the result on a graph.


To start with we search for all of our VMs and hit the “Trend” button – this will take us into the trend configuration screen



On the trend configuration screen, we want to plot out the cost based on allocated memory so we’ll select that we want this trend to be based on an attribute.  If we click on the find button, type in “memory” and the attribute we want should come right up, the memory configured/allocated for the VM.



Memory is stored in MB so we’ll need to divide by 1024 to get it into GB and multiply by $25 for each GB to get it into dollars (you can put any Xpath supported operation in here which is where the “div” for divide comes from) – we want to show the results in $ (units of “currency”)  and we’re going to get a total (aggregation function of “total”) across all VMs in our search.  At any point, you can hit the “preview” button to get a sanity check of your calculation.



Finally, let’s mix this up a bit.  In many companies, folks are using Folders and/or Resource Pools within vSphere to group VMs by owner, department, project, line of business etc….  Since Virtualization Manager collects the Folder and Resource Pool membership and makes them searchable, we can “segment” our trend, or get a cost by folder or resource pool.  We’ll break our cost down by resource pool and run that preview one more time.  Looks good – let’s save it.



Let’s go ahead and do the same thing for the storage space used – we’ll skip the intermediate steps.



Now we can add these trends to our dashboard and we’re good to go.  Don’t forget that any widget on the dashboard can be simply shared into a Sharepoint or other portal, simply right click on the top of the widget to get a URL.



EC2 Cloud Cost Estimator

Finally if you need some more examples, check out the EC2 Cloud Cost Estimator dashboard that estimates what it would cost to run your VMs on Amazon EC2.



Cloud Cost Estimator Dashboard

The reality with most products is that customers will more often than not take an initial product concept, and extend and use a product in ways that were never imagined at the outset.  So it has been for Virtualization Manager.  As Thwack and many other online communities can attest to, the whole really is more than the sum of the parts!


Since Virtualization Manager is based on a data driven search based platform, “content” (such as a dashboard) created within Virtualization Manager can be exported from one instance and imported into another.  This has allowed the Virtualization Manager product to iterate very quickly in anticipation to market needs – many of the dashboards you see in the product today such as the “EC2 Cloud Cost Estimator” dashboard that estimate what it would cost to run your VMs on Amazon EC2, evolved out of sharing content this way with customers.

ScreenHunter_16 Mar. 07 17.04

The Cloud Cost Estimator Dashboard


Of course, the great part is that you are not limited to receiving content from SolarWinds – any Virtualization Manager customer can export the great content they’ve created and share it with other customers.

So what do we mean by “content” – what kind of things can be exported and imported? - some of the most important are:

  • Queries – or Searches – the building block for a lot of the Virtualization Manager content
  • Alert – Pretty much what you’d expect, really a search that is run on a schedule that meets certain conditions.
  • Trends – A search whose results are plotted over time, a powerful way to trend the performance and configuration of the environment.
  • Templates – A set of properties that can be used to generate a report
  • Dashboards – Export or import a complete dashboard with all the widgets!


Exporting or importing a dashboard in particular can be very effective since it will export all of the widgets on that dashboard.  So how do you export and import content in Virtualization Manager?


To Export Content

Firstly, navigate to the “content” part of the product that lists all of the different content known to Virtualization Manager – you can get there by clicking on the “content” link at the top of the screen:



Select the item you want to export (in this case, we’ll export the EC2 dashboard), select it and select export from the top right.



From here, you can save the file as an XML file to your computer (giving the file an .xml extension is helpful)



To Import Content

Importing content is just as easy – at the bottom right of the content screen, you’ll find an “Import Content” button – select it and you can choose the .xml content file to import.



That’s all there is to it – so what are you waiting for?  Let the sharing begin!  http://thwack.com/media/75/virtualization-manager-content/

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