VMware Operations Manager

By - January 7, 2015

Solution Overview

How do you monitor your VMware Environment? If you are like most administrators, vCenter is your primary means to monitor its performance. Perhaps you look through the object inventory looking for the dreaded red error icons. Maybe you get a call from end users complaining about server performance. Either way, manually monitoring your environment is reactionary and does not allow administrators to proactively correct issues before they are service affecting.

The good news is VMware has a solution that can assist you with this critical task. VMware Operations Manager is a predictive monitoring solution that provides administrators with predictive analysis technologies that allows administrators to discover infrastructure problems before they become service affecting. These alerts are presented to the administrator in the Operations Manager console using simple color coded badges. Alerts can be configured to send notifications via e-mail, but Operations Manager handles these alerts differently than most monitoring applications. Rather than sending the administrator an e-mail for every alert, Operations Manager collects and correlates alerts and combines related alerts into a single e-mail avoiding those annoying e-mail storms.

VMware Operations Manager is also able to monitor other non-VMware systems like Microsoft Hyper-V and physical servers and workstations using the Operations Manager agents. Additionally, software applications can also be monitored provided a vendor specific management pack is available for the application.

As with many of the VMware products, Operations Manager is available in several different versions. Operations Manager Foundation is a free version of the tool that can be used with any VMware vSphere license. It provides basic monitoring and alerting, but lacks the ability to monitor software applications and generate comprehensive reports. The product is also available in Standard, Enterprise, and Enterprise plus versions. The following URL provides detailed information on the features available in each version http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/compare.

Unlike most management applications, Operations manager can be installed and configured in less than one hour. The solution is made available as a vApp containing two virtual appliances. Once imported into vSphere and given an IP address, the solution is ready to collect data. This makes the solution a cost effective solution that requires no Windows servers to maintain and very little ongoing maintenance.

What Does Operations Manager Monitor

Operations Manager is organized into three major performance groupings or badges. Each major grouping has associated minor badges. Badges are color coded so administrators can quickly identify issues effecting infrastructure performance. Major badges are organized as follows:

  • Health – Provide statistics on the overall health of you environment. Contains data on virtual machine workload, system anomalies, and server faults.
  • Risk – Monitors metrics effecting system stress and infrastructure capacity.
  • Efficiency – The efficiency badge provides server efficiency data that provides insight into the consolidation ratio of you virtual environment.

One of the biggest advantages of Operations Manager is its ability to monitor virtual machine efficiency. One of the most common configuration issues I see when working with clients is the incorrect provisioning of virtual machine RAM and processor. Most administrators configure virtual machines with the incorrect resources because they do not know what the machine actually needs. Rather than risk performance issues, administrators typically over allocate RAM and processor to make sure they perform at an acceptable level.

Operations Manager can provide the necessary information to solve this problem. Using the efficiency data, administrators can tune their resources allocation to maximize consolidation while insuring performance.

Operations Manager is an essential component of a healthy virtual infrastructure. Proper use of the solution can maximize you return on investment and insure servers or workstations are meeting your user’s needs. If you would like additional information on Operations Manager, please contact us.

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