Monthly Archives: January 2013

First Look: CloudPhysics – Datastore Contention Card

I first came across CloudPhysics just before VMWorld 2012. For a general overview, go here: I am a massive fan of analytics and trend metrics and I use a number of systems to gain a wide overview of the performance and monitoring of our Hosting and Cloud Platform…as well as extending out to client systems.

I love the deep/complex analytics of VMware Operations Manager but sometimes I feel a sense of being overwhelmed with the sheer amount of data presented by the default views of vCOPs and working with the Custom Dashboards can be a frustrating exercise if you don’t have a heap of time and patience.

This is where I have found CloudPhysics comes into it’s own…via it’s brilliant presentation of things that matter. I’m not going to go through the setup and config, but in a nutshell…from the site, register, login, download and deploy the VMware Probe Appliance, give it an IP and enter in your email address as it relates to your CloudPhysics login. It’s one probe per vCenter, but you can deploy multiple probes to multiple vCenters and links them back under the same username and CloudPhysics App.

When you log in, you are presented with the home screen below:

From relatively humble and basic default cards released around the VMWorld launch the team has been adding more complex and useful cards. HA Cluster Health and SnapShots Gone Wild are my personal favourites and offer a view into key areas of vSphere management. What’s also great about these cards is that they offer external jump links to VMware KB’s and offer basic information about subject matter. The organisation and presentation of the data pulled by the probe is simple yet effective in allowing you to get an understanding of how your environments are performing and which areas are under stress.

Released today was the DataStore Contention Card which looks at the performance of VMFS Datastores in your environment. The Default view selects the DataStore that needs the most attention. In my case I was surprised to see the Datastore below exhibit combined read/write latency that was off the chart!

The interface allows you to select a block of time at any level and see which VM may be contributing the most to the Performance Metric selected. Those metrics are shown below and include Latency, Outstanding I/O’s, IOPS and Bandwidth. You also have the ability to  Filter the view by vCenter, Datastore Cluster and Datastore.

The screen grabs don’t do the CloudPhysic’s Web Application interface justice so head over the site and download the probe to get started. It must be said that the product is only in BETA so use at your own risk, but I’ve had no issues with the Probe VM who’s specs are 2vCPU, 4GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.

2013

Just thought I’d open the new year with a quick post about my expectations for 2013 from a technical/personal point of view. I’ve been a little slack in my Blog Posting over the last couple of months, but this has been mainly due to an intense work load due to a surge in large client hosting projects and ongoing maintenance on the Anittel Hosting platform…as a team we found the last 2 to 3 months of the year frustrating in that every time we managed to scrape out some clear air to work on outstanding internal projects something would come up…usually in the form of a fire that needed putting out or a new critical client project that needed completing yesterday.

From my discussions in and around the IT industry there seems to be a serious trend towards IT staff being overloaded due to resource constraints, cut backs or “fiscal management”…too few people being held accountable/responsible for too much without the ability to delegate or hand off. In our industry we work our asses off to keep systems running…one step forward…two steps back! I’m focused on controlling the crazy and giving myself enough time to not only wrestle back control of my workload, but also allow myself to pursue a more balanced work/life existence.

This world we live and work in can consume us…

In any case I am looking forward to 2013 on many fronts…the hosting industry is at a crossroads I believe…the move towards greater automation in the Software Defined space is about to come to the fore and it will be interesting to see if we, as Hosting/Cloud/Infrastructure professionals can keep up with what’s been forced upon us by industry trends…the continued merging of Networking into the Cloud Stack is still one I am not sure we are totally ready for…you only need to look at the requirements for VXLAN to be introduced into the stack to realise that it’s not something that can be easily retro-fitted into an existing/mature platform…

Public Cloud is an area I have a firm hate/love relationship with…but with Amazon Web Services taking hold in Australia and the rise of other Public offerings…this is the year where I learn to accept their existence and embrace the public platform as a necessary evil and one which must be looked at as a viable alternative to Service Providers Hosting Offerings…VMware, as an example is assisting vCloud Providers to bridge that gap by having solutions such as vCloud Automation Center allow automated workflows to provision, migrate and manage VM workloads across heterogeneous platforms such at AWS to vSphere. It’s also time for me to start looking at extending backup and DRaaS options into the Public Cloud to offer more variety and data resiliency.

I’ve come to the realisation that at some point you have to look beyond your means and look outside your platform for service options…That is to say that the hosting industry is leaning towards outsourcing the outsourcers…vendor partnerships are key.

As Hosting/Infrastructure Professionals it’s hard to push clients to use Public Offerings

To round off, I’ll be jumping back on the Certification bandwagon this year…I will need to complete my VCP first off…and then from there I’ll look at continuing to pursue higher levels of VMware Certification…and while the idea of working my way towards a goal of attempting a VCDX seems challenging and beneficial given the high regard that certification has in the industry…the reality is that I might not have enough time between work and home commitments to get to that level…

I look forward to continuing to post technical and opinion blog posts and hopefully I’ll be able to secure a vExpert for 2013 along the way…it’s been a great ride this last 8 or so months and the VMware community is by far and away the best and most engaged community in IT.