Blue Medora ServiceNow Management Pack For VMware VRealize Operations

by bluemedora_admin on September 6, 2019

This article originally appeared on TFIR.

By Monika Chauhan.

IT monitoring integration company Blue Medora recently introduced new ServiceNow capabilities in its True Visibility Suite for VMware vRealize Operations at VMworld US. The idea is to help enterprises looking for simpler as well as comprehensive insights into their IT environments from an application or business-centric context.

The new ServiceNow Management Pack for VMware vRealize Operations is said to link application and business owners to tailored views of overall system health and resource usage. These new views simplify the identification of orphaned assets and time to cost reduction within your IT infrastructure, the company said.

The ServiceNow management pack superimposes the data in ServiceNow’s configuration management database (CMDB) onto VMware vRealize Operations view of infrastructure, heightening and broadening the value of both datasets.

Last week’s VMworld 2019 also saw David Kritschgau, IT Director at IHS Markit, and Scott Walsh, Blue Medora Senior Solution Architect talking about “Creating a Cohesive Monitoring Strategy with IHS Markit”. They discussed how IHS Markit’s strategy to use VMware vRealize Operations with Blue Medora enabled them to run their business smarter and more efficiently.

Blue Medora Rolls Out Significant VMware vRealize Operations Enhancement at VMworld 2019

by bluemedora_admin on August 26, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. – August 26, 2019 – Booth #1862 – Blue Medora, the leading provider of enterprise-grade IT monitoring integration solutions, announced today that it will unveil new ServiceNow capabilities for VMware vRealize Operations at VMworld US in San Francisco, August 25 through 29.

“Our customers continue to look for simpler but more comprehensive insights into their organization’s IT environments from an application or business-centric context,” comments Greg Pattison, General Manager of Blue Medora’s True Visibility Group. “Our new ServiceNow Management Pack for VMware vRealize Operations links application and business owners to tailored views of overall system health and resource usage. These new views simplify the identification of orphaned assets and time to cost reduction within your IT infrastructure.”

For many customers, ServiceNow is a source of truth for IT support ticketing and configuration management (ITSM) and VMware vRealize Operations is a powerful tool for IT operations management (ITOM). The ServiceNow management pack superimposes the data in ServiceNow’s configuration management database (CMDB) onto VMware vRealize Operations view of infrastructure, heightening and broadening the value of both datasets. 

Blue Medora would also like to invite attendees to join David Kritschgau, IT Director at IHS Markit, and Scott Walsh, Blue Medora Senior Solution Architect as they discuss “Creating a Cohesive Monitoring Strategy with IHS Markit”. This informative session will be held on Monday, August 26th at 3:30. David and Scott will discuss how IHS Markit’s strategy to use  VMware vRealize Operations with Blue Medora enables them to run their business smarter and more efficiently. David will share how implementing a core monitoring strategy has helped him troubleshoot faster, gain visibility into infrastructure supporting critical applications, and easily share executive-level insights in a single tool. Session ID: HBO1649BU

Session attendees will receive the dashboard templates from the session for full stack application infrastructure performance, application troubleshooting and consumption, capacity planning and others to implement their own cohesive monitoring strategy.

About Blue Medora 

Blue Medora’s pioneering IT monitoring integration as a service addresses today’s IT challenges by easily connecting system health and performance data–no matter its source–with the world’s leading monitoring and analytics platforms. Blue Medora helps customers unlock dimensional data across their IT stack, otherwise hidden by traditional approaches to metrics collection.

Contact:
Ann O’Leary
Blue Medora
ann.oleary@bluemedora.com
P: +1 650 996 0778

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3 Tips for Building a Custom Dashboard in vROps

by bluemedora_editor on July 24, 2017

By: Scott Walsh

 

Custom dashboards transforms your vRealize Operations experience, but it can also be challenging if you have never built them before. After working with several customers to build dashboards, I’ve learned a few things that I’ll share in today’s post.

Tip 1: Remember what is important!

Don’t:  Forget that your dashboard is a problem solving tool.

It is easy to get caught up in the details of how widgets work, what data is showing, and how our visualizations lay out on the page. But sometimes it is important to step back and remember why the specific dashboard exists. Put yourself in the end users’ shoes, and think of it from their perspective.

 

Do:  Figure out what your users’ are afraid of.

What are users really concerned with. Here’s a summary of common customer concerns:

Costing – With a little (a lot actually) of help from VMware, we can help customers with their costing. Maybe we can tell the user when more capacity is needed now and a year from now. How could you find out which services are using the most resources? Is server {X} consuming more power than I want? Can I power {X} down or move {X} to low-powered hosts?

Uptime  – This is the biggest concern for obvious reasons, and it’s not quite as simple as “Is it on or off?”. Uptime is determined by the ability of {X} to service a request. Let’s say a host system is experiencing high storage latency. Is the host system overloading the storage or does the storage system have a saturated network interface and thus can’t reliably service a request. If {X} cannot service a request, {X} maybe not be ‘up’.  Many of our customers have Service Level Agreements (SLA) requiring them to maintain a certain amount of uptime. 99.9% uptime only gives you ~8 hours out of the year for maintenance and other follies. We can help a customer reach a SLA goal by providing insight and context to the stack.

Performance – Only a problem when something is not performing. I’ve often heard that diagnosing performance problems are like trying to find a needle in a haystack. The problem arises with the information given relating to the problem. “VM {X} is slow.” requires plenty of detective work before you can give a definitive answer to the problem. Dashboards can make this process much easier by providing a new context.

Scaling / Consolidation – How can an admin determine if they need to scale?  How would you know when you’ve reached the limit for a service? How could you identify under used resources in your environment? Can I fit more ram in a system without overloading the cpu? Can my storage keep up with a new rack? We can’t say “You need {X}.”, but we can give the customer more data to help them make a more informed decision. Interestingly, some of this question is born out of concerns for keeping costs down while maintaining performance. How much longer can I maintain performance? How much would {X} new hardware reduce my operating costs?

 

Tip 2:  Review your dashboards in the ‘real world’

Don’t:  Forget that your dashboards require context.

We can easily get caught up building dashboards for every scenario that comes to mind, but did you ever step back and view a dashboard with real data only to find out that it really isn’t that helpful? Whether you have peers or customers review your dashboards, don’t forget that without the proper context, your dashboards will not be impactful.

 

Do:  Show historical data when it is valuable.

One of the widgets that I have not leveraged enough, but am starting to love is the sparkline widget. Sparklines are a compact way to show historical data. When multiple sparkline widgets are stacked and on the same timeline, it gives you a nice picture of how multiple resources are performing over time. Do not underestimate a human’s ability to spot visual patterns. Showing a simple object list on the left, with a sparkline widget on the right can be impactful in and of itself.

 

Tip 3:  Learn what is acceptable in your environments

Don’t:  Make assumptions about your users’ environments and usage.

This tip is focused more on creating dashboards for users other than yourself. Obviously, we have situations as SysAdmins where we need to create our own monitoring dashboards. However, as the EngOps world continues to evolve, we find ourselves creating dashboards to share with various users and groups throughout our organization. Remember, they may have very different views of what acceptable performance is in their environment.

 

Do:  Review dashboards with users.

It never hurts to sit down with your users and take a look at the data in the wild. Maybe your development group has a different definition of ‘acceptable’ in development versus production. Maybe they are purposely performing load testing and require different thresholds to be set. They may even think that balancing the load across various servers is less important due to batch jobs that periodically run. The key is that you will not know what is important to your users unless you sit down and view the dashboards with them.

 

With these three tips, you can make your custom dashboards even more useful and ensure you are getting the most out of your vRealize Operations environment and the True Visibility Suite from Blue Medora.

 

Blue Medora Labs is the professional services arm of Blue Medora.  We provide custom integration with various components of the vRealize Operations Suite, as well as professional services utilizing more out of the box functionality.  We help our customers and partners provide a user experience which is more customized to their unique business challenges.

vRealize the most on your investment.  Get up and running fast with Blue Medora Professional Services.  For more information, visit http://go.bluemedora.com/proservices.

 

Grouping and Filtering Application Stack Dashboards

by bluemedora_editor on July 10, 2017

By: Scott Walsh

In my previous blog post, I discussed using an application group to show a cross-stack dashboard focused on a single application. For instance, you can create an application group for a standard n-tier web application with tiers for web, application, storage and network.  Within these groups, you can add out-of-the-box VMware objects, as well as objects from various management packs, to each tier. It is a pretty straightforward capability, but very powerful.

As a result, you can generate a dashboard with a topology widget in the top left, designed to drive various metrics and health-driven widgets throughout the rest of the dashboard. This offers a great top-down view, but once you implement the solution, a deeper dive may be more helpful. To that end, this blog will provide a few tips that will help when building out an application-focused dashboard.

Figure 1: Dashboard featuring a top-down view with topology widget

In the dashboard shown above, the topology widget drives an alerts widget, health widget, and an object list widget that shows the objects within selected tier. In turn, this object list widget drives a second object list widget that shows children of the selected object. Let’s simplify this by looking at an example.

In our example, we have a topology widget as shown in figure two below. From here, let’s select networking.

Figure 2: Example of the topology widget

 

Our networking selection populates our object list with our Cisco Switch.

Figure 3: Select the associated Cisco Switch

 

In turn, our Cisco Switch selection populates our object children list with the ports for the selected switch.

This all looks great! So, what’s the problem? Well, what if our application only utilizes certain ports on the switch? Or, what if it utilizes multiple switches, do we wade through hundreds of switches to find the ones we are looking for? One answer to this is to filter our lists so that only the results (ports) that we want to see show up. So, how do we do this?

The way I will describe here utilizes a combination of a custom group and tagging in order to limit the objects my list can choose from. First, I will describe how I do it, and second, I will discuss why.

How:

Step 1, setup a custom tag to group application objects  

Go to Administration > Inventory Explorer, and click on the Manage Tags icon. The window below will pop up. Click the icon to create a new tag. Note:  A tag can have multiple tag values. For instance, I could create a tag for web applications and a tag value for each web app:

 

Now that I have my tag values, simply drag objects over the appropriate tag value.  You can see that I have dragged 21 objects into my Blue Medora web application 1 tag value:

Step 2, create a custom group to house my tagged objects

Browse to Environment >  Custom Groups and click the + icon to add a new group.

 

The window that pops up will take some practice to work with.  For our use case, we want our group to contain objects from two areas:

  • Our original application group (Web App 1 within the applications tab in environment > custom groups)
  • Our tag value within our new Tag (Blue Medora Web App 1)

 

Name your custom group with something descriptive, and create the following rules in the membership criteria.  Essentially, this is telling our custom group to contain descendents of our original Web App 1 and children of our net Blue Medora Web App 1 tag value:

 

WHY:

The above approach provides some flexibility in how you add new objects. Let’s look at a couple of ways I might add new objects, and how this setup might satisfy each requirement.

  • If I want to add a new tier to my environment, perhaps to monitor my hosts, I can simply add the new tier in the application group. The objects I add to the tier are automatically added to my custom group based on the rules I set up.
  • If I want to add new objects to my application, I can just tag them appropriately using the approach described above. They will be added to my custom group.
  • Lastly, what if I want to add new objects dynamically based on a rule, such as adding a new block of VMs based on an IP range? Because I am using a custom group, and not just tagging, I can add a new rule to my custom group and extend it as needed.

In conclusion, hopefully this simplifies grouping and filtering application stack dashboards so you can get the insight that you need.

 

vRealize the most on your investment.  Get up and running fast with Blue Medora Professional Services.  Learn more here.

 

Creating an Application Stack Dashboard in vRealize Operations Manager

by bluemedora_editor on June 26, 2017

By: Scott Walsh

 

In this blog, we are going to take a look at building an Application focused dashboard by leveraging custom groups and application groups within vRealize Operations Manager (vROps). One of the advantages of working with Blue Medora Labs is that our customers get the benefit of our experience with a wide array of other customers, and as such, a wide array of requests.  We spend a lot of time building dashboards, and automating business workflows, so our toolset expands rapidly.  In this blog, I will quickly cover one such technique that we use to provide what we refer to as an application stack dashboard. The intent of this dashboard is to provide visibility into a single, business critical application, but you will probably see that the same technique could be used to organize a variety of dashboards.

 

What do we mean by Application Stack?

Think of an application stack as every component that an organization would want to monitor to ensure the health of a business critical application.  In our example, we are using our VDI environment. Most management packs in vROps focus on a single technology.  The key to an application focused dashboard is that we aggregate these technologies in an organized way so that the complete environment can be monitored.  One way we do this is by utilizing Custom Groups and Application Groups.

 

What are Custom Groups and Application Groups?

Management Packs within vROps collect data related to the specific technology being monitored.  As a part of this data collection, the management pack creates relationships between objects.  Sometimes these relationships cross from the management pack technology to include VMWare objects, but there are also cases where you need objects to be related to each other but the relationship was not created as part of the normal management pack data collection.

One way to relate different objects is using a custom group. Navigate to the environment tab to see out of the box custom groups, and create your own groups. Custom groups can be dynamic or static. Using tagging, or property thresholds you can create groups that will auto-update as new objects are added to your environment. Or, you can simply create your group, and assign objects to the group manually.  Alain Greenrits created a great blog here that shows more information on creating custom groups.

Within the same area you will see the option to create application groups.  Application groups differ from custom groups in that they are utilized to organize various tiers of a business application in order to provide a more logical view of the application environment for monitoring purposes.  

In our use case, we are monitoring our VDI environment.  As you can see in the image below, you can organize tiers based on how you want to view/monitor them, as opposed to relying on natural relationships between the objects.

From here, we can create a simple dashboard utilizing the topology widget to view our environment in a clear and organized fashion.

From this dashboard, you can dive into deeper analytics related to each tier.  This is a fairly simple example, but the methodology can be extended and utilized in a multitude of scenarios where application specific monitoring is required.

 

Blue Medora Labs is the professional services arm of Blue Medora.  We provide custom integration with various components of the vRealize Operations Suite, as well as professional services utilizing more out of the box functionality.  We help our customers and partners provide a user experience which is more customized to their unique business challenges.

 

vRealize the most on your investment.  Get up and running fast with Blue Medora Professional Services.  For more information, visit http://go.bluemedora.com/proservices

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