Smart Monitoring for Nimble SmartStack with vRealize Operations

by bluemedora_editor on September 9, 2016

Nimble SmartStack is the result of a joint effort between Nimble and Cisco to create a series of infrastructure and application solutions which are optimized and validated on Cisco UCS compute, Nimble Adaptive Flash storage, and Cisco Nexus switches. This provides customers with an architectural reference that is pretested and pre-validated to meet the needs of numerous workload types.

One gap in the SmartStack reference architecture is operational monitoring. Supporting production workloads on Nimble SmartStack really requires a single tool to monitor the entire stack, from the hypervisor (SmartStack has reference architecture for Hyper-V and vSphere) down through the compute, network, and storage layer. This allows for streamlined troubleshooting and root cause analysis, which leads to lower MTTI and MTTR.

Enter VMware vRealize Operations Manager and the Blue Medora Management Packs for Cisco UCS, Cisco Nexus, and Nimble Storage. vRealize Operations Manager delivers intelligent operations management with heterogeneous application-to-storage visibility across virtual, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures.  With vRealize Operations Manager and Blue Medora Management Packs, users can achieve full operational visibility into their SmartStack infrastructure with:

  • Performance monitoring
  • Predictive analytics and dynamic thresholding
  • Capacity management
  • Configuration and Compliance management

The Nimble Storage, Cisco UCS, and Cisco Nexus Management Packs for vRealize Operations ship with a number of out-of-the-box dashboards which provide great insight into your storage, compute, and networking environment for SmartStack.  These dashboards provide visibility and troubleshooting capabilities that otherwise would require multiple consoles to attain.  They include:

  • VM to Nimble array troubleshooting
  • VM to Datastore to Nimble Volume IOPs
  • Cisco UCS Blade, Chassis, and Fabric Interconnect
  • Cisco Nexus Switch and Port performance


One thing missing from the dashboards provided with the Nimble, UCS, and Nexus Management Packs is something that ties them all together.  A single dashboard which allows one to find a resource within the SmartStack infrastructure, see it’s health, capacity, and performance, and identify all of the infrastructure dependencies related to that resource.  With vRealize Operations, it’s easy enough to create one though! Enter the Nimble SmartStack Troubleshooting dashboard:


Figure 1 - Nimble SmartStack Dashboard

Figure 1: Nimble SmartStack Troubleshooting Dashboard


Using this dashboard, a user can filter and select the Nimble SmartStack resource using the “SmartStack Resources” widget, created using the “Object List” widget.  Once selected, the “Widget Interactions” on this dashboard will update the other widgets.

On the bottom left, a topology shows the resource selected.  This was created using the “Topology” widget.  Note the square on the bottom right side of each resource, which is colored green, yellow, orange, or red.  This indicates the overall health of that particular resource.


Figure 2 - Nimble SmartStack Topology

Figure 2: Topology


In the top-right widget, we see the top alerts for the selected resource, created using the “Top Alerts” widget.  This shows the top alerts – that is, those with the most significance – opened for this resource.


Figure 3 - Nimble SmartStack Top Alerts

Figure 3: “Top Alerts” Widget


Next up is the “Key Indicators” widget, which presents sparklines for the key health, capacity, workload, and performance of the selected resource.  This is created using the “Sparklines” widget.


Figure 4 - Nimble SmartStack Key Indicators

Figure 4: “Key Indicators” Widget


Last but not least, we have the “Anomalies” widget, which shows us the count of anomalous metrics for the given resource.  Using vRealize Operations’ analytics engine, this widget will give us an indication of “strange” behavior for a given resource.


Figure 5 - Nimble SmartStack Anomalies

Figure 5: “Anomalies” Widget


The Nimble SmartStack Troubleshooting dashboard, along with the out-of-the-box dashboards included with the Nimble Smart Array, Cisco UCS, and Cisco Nexus Management Packs gives us everything we need to support a Nimble SmartStack environment.  As you can see, it’s easy to create a dashboard that ties together multiple interrelated resources. For more information on the solutions in this blog, please visit Blue Medora’s True Visibility Suite for vRealize Operations product page.[ultimatesocial_false share_text=”Share: ” networks=”twitter,linkedin,facebook”]

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