How to Extend Visibility From NetApp FAS to Virtual Infrastructure

by bluemedora_editor on May 9, 2017

By: Brock Peterson


Mapping your NetApp FAS environment to your virtual infrastructure within VMware vRealize Operations (vROps) can provide essential insight into how your NetApp performance impacts your virtual environment. Specifically, the ability to map key NetApp resources like ESXi hosts, virtual machines (VMs) and datastores.

To garner deeper visibility into your NetApp resources, accessing dashboards and reports within vROps can transform your operations. In this blog post, I’ll highlight three key dashboards and resources that you can leverage to dig into your NetApp performance.


High-Level View: Overview Dashboards

The overview dashboards offer high-level views into your NetApp FAS environment, showing important things like datastore information, NetApp FAS resource health, and a storage topology.  The NetApp Storage Topology dashboard, for instance, maps NetApp FAS resources to your virtual infrastructure.

NetApp Storage Topology Dashboard from Blue Medora

Figure 1: Sample NetApp Storage Topology Dashboard


The Environment Selector widget, located on the left side of the dashboard, allows users to select any NetApp resource they wish, including volume, LUN, LUN virtual volume, storage virtual machine, aggregate, system or cluster.  Once you select the NetApp resource, the other widgets dynamically populate. As a result, you can determine the general topology surrounding your NetApp resource and view important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) at a glance. In the top right-hand-corner, you can select any relevant metrics and generate sparkline graphs.

The Environment Selector widget also allows the user to visualize relationship mapping by dynamically highlighting resources related to each other. You can test this for yourself by selecting various resources and watching as the widget changes. For example, this allows users to determine what NetApp volumes are supporting which ESXi Hosts and/or virtual machines.


A Granular View: Detailed Dashboards

The detailed dashboards provide the user with a more granular view into their environment. All five detailed dashboards have their own use cases, but in this post, I’ll cover the NetApp VM Performance Dashboard — which is ideal for troubleshooting issues between NetApp and the virtual infrastructure. As shown here, this dashboard allows you to start with the virtual machine and work your way through the NetApp FAS layer to determine what may be affecting performance problems.

NetApp VM Performance Dashboard from Blue Medora

Figure 2: Example of the NetApp VM Performance Dashboard


In the top left, you can select the virtual machine that you want to dig into. Once selected, all other widgets will dynamically populate, including those resource details widgets in the right-hand column. From here, you can see essential relationships, like the VM to NetApp Volume to host system to datastore to NetApp Aggregate.   


Extend visibility: Custom Dashboards

If you need to go beyond out-of-the-box dashboards, vRealize Operations makes it easy to create custom dashboards. Following is an example of one that I put together to give a client visibility into their NetApp FAS Clusters and the related virtual machines — all in one dashboard.  

Example custom dashboard for NetApp in vROps

Figure 3: Example custom dashboard


You can see the health of the NetApp FAS clusters and the attached virtual machines, along with several metrics specific to these virtual machines. As a result, you can see how your NetApp FAS cluster performance and health affects the underlying virtual machines — simplifying troubleshooting quite a bit and allowing you to get to the root cause of the issue faster.


Drill into metrics: Custom Groups

Another great way to extend visibility into your NetApp FAS resources and virtual infrastructure comes with an update in vRealize Operations 6.5 — custom groups. Through this, you can create a custom group of metrics so you can track those that you leverage most frequently.


Navigate to a target resource, your NetApp FAS Aggregate in this case, and select the “All Metrics” tab > gears icon > “Add Group” option:

How to add a custom group in vRealize Operations 6.5

Figure 4: How to add a custom group in vROps 6.5


Once you access “Add Group,” you will be able to name your group. In this case, I named it “Test Group.” Once you have a name, you can drag and drop the metrics into this group.

How to add the metrics you want to see in your custom group

Figure 5: Once you have a group, you can add the metrics you view most frequently


For many clients, this offers a simple way to access the metrics that you view the most. I’ve found that this complements the ability to view key metrics in dashboards and reports, giving you an alternate perspective on key information like capacity definitions and relationships.

To learn more about the dashboards and reports available for your NetApp FAS resources, please visit the True Visibility Suite for VMware vRealize Operations page on Blue Medora’s website.


This post first appeared on the VMware Cloud Management Blog. Read the full post here.

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