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Look Mom, I’m Virtual!

Level 18

With Orion NPM 10.0 (currently in Release Candidate phase), we’ve extended NPM’s virtualization monitoring support to VMware ESXi and vSphere 4.0 (a.k.a., ESX 4.0).  This is in addition to NPM’s existing support for VMware ESX 3.5.   We’ve heard from a lot of customers that are excited that they’re now able to monitor their entire VMware Host stack (ESX 3.5, vSphere, ESXi) from a single pane of glass.  However, the next logical question for many of them was how do I get all of my VMware infrastructure to show up on a single dashboard view?  Well, the good news is whether you’re looking to create a dashboard to appease management, other teams (e.g., the app and server folks), or you just want to show your Mom how virtual you are, it’s possible in Orion today with just a little elbow grease.   Here’s how…

First, you’ll want to create a new Orion view for your VMware dashboard

1. Navigate to Admin > Manage Views

2. Click Add View and enter a dashboard name (e.g. My VMware Dashboard) and click Submit


3. Use the “+” icon to add the All Nodes Resource and several custom HTML resources.   Add as many of the custom HTML items as you think you’ll need to display graph data from different ESX servers.


4. Click on 'Preview' and this new view should come up in a new window. You should see your All Nodes resource and all of your Custom HTML resources.


Next, customize your new VMware Dashboard view to show data from your ESX servers
1. Click Edit on your All Nodes resource and change the title to “All ESX Servers”

2. Enter MachineType='VMware ESX Server' into the Filter Nodes (SQL) field and click Submit


3. Using another browser window, open the Orion website and navigate to the first ESX server you want to show data for in your dashboard

4. Find a graph you’d like displayed on your dashboard and click on the graph title to open it in a new window 


5. In your browser, click on 'Show page source' to see the HTML code for the graph (e.g. in Firefox, use View > Page Source).

6. Do a text search for “img src” until you find something like the following:

<img src="/Orion/NetPerfMon/Chart.aspx?ChartName=VMNetworkTrafficArea&Title=&SubTitle=&SubTitle2=&Width=640&He..." />

7. Copy this line including the closing “/>”

8. Go to your other window that has the preview of your VMware dashboard and click Edit on the custom HTML resource where you want that graph to appear.

9. Paste the html code into the ‘raw HTML’ field, change the titles as appropriate, and click Submit.


10. Repeat this process for every ESX server graph you want to appear on your dashboard. You’ll notice in my dashboard below I’ve included several gauges from different ESX servers in addition to graphs.


Finally, add your new VMware Dashboard view to your menu bar so you can easily navigate to it

1. Now that you have the items on the dashboard that you want to display, copy the URL address from your browser (e.g. /Orion/SummaryView.aspx?viewid=29).  

2. Navigate to Admin > Customize Menu Bars

3. Edit “Admin Menu Bar” and click Add New at the bottom left


4. Enter in a name for the menu bar item, the view URL you copied from the previous step (/Orion/SummaryView.aspx?viewid=29), and a description

5. Click OK and then drag and drop your VMware Dashboard menu item onto Selected Items list on the right


6. Click Submit and you should see your new VMware Dashboard link appear on the menu bar


And, you’re done!!

Fear not, we’re certainly looking at streamlining the process moving forward…but, in the interim, isn’t it nice to get what you want today? And, the good news is once you’ve mastered this process, you can use this exact same approach for accomplishing many other use-cases (e.g., showing multiple data from multiple interfaces on the same page).  

If you’ve got other cool dashboard ideas, we’d love to hear them!   Please post them in comments.


About the Author
Standing side by side with teammates, jumping up and down, waiting to exit the tunnel as tens of thousands of fans rise to their feet and erupt with the thunderous roar of clapping in unison...this was one of my fondest memories from my time at the University of Texas. Unfortunately, I was just one of the clapping fans. At five foot eight and a buck fifty, it's probably better that way. I will spare you the long job history... Before I went to the dark side (of product marketing):  IBM RS6000 division  IBM Global Services Transitioning (the force was strong):  Tivoli Systems (assimilation into IBM) May as well have been Darth Vader: PentaSafe (startup acquired) -> NetIQ Identity Mgmt Division in Sun Microsystems SolarWinds - 2nd PM UnboundID SolarWinds (Yes, I couldn't stay away, so I'm back!) So, I've now been at SolarWinds for a long time (especially if you don't count my brief sabbatical) - long enough to have been involved in PM'ing virtually every Orion platform-based product in the portfolio. More than you ever wanted to know about me... I could eat sushi every day. I prefer Cabernets and Merlots over Pinots, despite the guidance from Sideways fanatics. I've intentionally avoided playing WoW for fear I would never stop. I disagree vehemently with my wife that watching college football all day Saturday and then NFL all day on Sunday is excessive.