Tag Archives: operations management

How to monitor ESXi host hardware with SNMP

The Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is a protocol for monitoring and configuration of network-attached devices. SNMP exposes data in the form of variables and values. These variables can then be queried or set. A query retrieves the value of a variable, a set operation assigns a value to a variable. The variables are organized in a hierarchy and each variable is identified by an object identifiers (OID). The management information base (MIB ) describes this hierarchy. MIB files (simple text files) contain metadata for each OID. These are necessary for the translation of a numeric OID into a human-readable format.  SNMP knows two devices types:

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Lean ITIL Service Operation

The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of pre-defined processes and common practices (I try to avoid the word “best practice” when talking about ITIL) for the IT service management (ITSM).

When I talk with customers about ITIL, they often complain about the overhead of ITSM processes, that were designed according to ITIL. I already wrote about this in one of my previous blog posts (Is lean ITSM a myth?). Companies mainly have three problems during the implementation and/ or operation of ITIL processes:

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Industrialize your IT – after you have done your homework

Today a tweet from Keith Townsend (@CTOAdvisor) has caught my attention:

Keith wrote a nice blog post and I really recommend to read it. His point is, that automation enables business agility.

The point of automation is to enable business agility. Business agility isn’t achieved by automating inefficient processes. The start of an IT automation project begins by examining existing processes and eliminating inefficiency.

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Solving problems: A structured approach

What is a problem? A problem is an obstacle, that has to be surmounted. Solving a problem is connected with obstacles. Or more general: Problem solving is a process to get from an unsatisfactory to a satisfactory situation.

Most of us get paid for solving problems. It’s irrelevant if you are paid for solving technical problem (e.g. My computer doesn’t work), or if you are paid to create solutions for customers (e.g. design infrastructure for a Citrix XenApp farm). At the end you solve a problem.

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Certificate-based authentication of Azure Automation accounts

Before you can manage Azure services with Azure Automation, you need to authenticate the Automation account against a subscription. This authentication process is part of each runbook. There are two different ways to authenticate against an Azure subscription:

  • Active Directory user
  • Certificate

If you want to use an Active Directory account, you have to create a credential asset in the Automation account and provide username and password for that Active Directory account. You can retrieve the credentials using the Get-AzureAutomationCredential cmdlet. This cmdlet returns a System.Management.Automation.PSCredential object, which can be used with Add-AzureAccount to connect to a subscription. If you want to use a certificate, you need four assets in the Automation account: A certificate and variables with the certificate name, the subscription ID and the subscription name. The values of these assets can be retrieved with Get-AutomationVariable and Get-AutomationCertificate.

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A brief introduction into Azure Automation

Automation is essential to reduce friction and to streamline operational processes. It’s indispensable when it comes to the automation of manual, error-prone and frequently repeated tasks in a cloud or enterprise environment. Automation is the key to IT industrialization. Azure Automation is used to automate operational processes withing Microsoft Azure.

Automation account

The very first thing you have to create is an Automation account. You can have multiple Automation accounts per subscription. An Automation account allows you so separate automation resources from other Automation accounts. Automation resources are runbooks and assets (credentials, certificates, connection strings, variables, scheudles etc.). So each Automation account has its own set of runbooks and assets. This is perfect to separate production from development. An Automation account is associated with an Azure region, but the Automation account can manage Azure services in all regions.

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How to migrate from VMware vCOps to vROps – Part 3

I wrote about what’s new in vROps 6 and about the deployment of the virtual appliance. I also described how to migrate the data from the old vCOps vApp. Part 3 covers the decommission of the old vApp.

Enter the IP or FQDN of your UI VM into the browser. Login as admin into the administration UI.

remove_old_vcops_01

Before the vApp can be removed, the vCOps needs to be unregistered from the vCenter. Click “Unregister”.

remove_old_vcops_02

A confirmation pop-up appears. Click “Yes”.

remove_old_vcops_03

The process can take some time, depending on your environment. In my case the unregistration took about 5 minutes.

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How to migrate from VMware vCOps to vROps – Part 2

Part 1 of this series has covered a short overview over vRealize Operations Manager 6.0 and the initial deployment of the virtual appliance. Now it’s time to bring it to life.

Open a browser and enter the IP of your newly deployed vROps appliance. You will get this nice initial setup screen. “New Installation” is always a good start. Click “New Installation”.

migrate_vrops_01

Within five little steps, the configuration of vROps will be done. You may have noticed the “Migrate Data” icon on the right of the screenshot. This will be important later. Start with clicking “Next”.

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How to migrate from VMware vCOps to vROps – Part 1

VMware presented the vRealize Operations Manager 6.0 at the VMworld 2014 in Barcelona. In early december, vROps was available for download.

vROps 6.0 is the successor of VMwares IT Operations Management suite vCenter Operations Manager, or vCOps. VMware has aligned the naming scheme with other products, so this release is the first release under the new brand vRealize.

VMware has made some major improvements to this release. One of the biggest advantages is the ability to scale-out. In prior releases you had to deploy multiple vApps to scale. Now you can add additional vROps instances to a cluster. These appliances provide computing resources, as well as redundancy. This allows you to scale beyond the limits of vCOps 5. Redundancy is provided by a concept which is based on master, replica and data nodes. The fist node in a vROps deployment is the master node. By adding a replica node, you can add redundancy for the case that the master node fails. Master and replica node work in a active/ standby relationship. The data nodes are the secret behind the scalability of vROps. A data node has only one task to perform: Collect data based on the assigned adapter.

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Resurrected from the dead: Why it is sometimes better to repair vCOps

Today I was at a customers site. My attention was initially directed on a vCOps deployment. vCOps is a good startpoint if you need a quick overview over a vSphere environment. Unfortunately vCOps wasn’t working any more. The license was expired and the login page wasn’t accessable, but the admin login page was workingI restarted the vApp but this doesn’t solve the problem. The customer owns a VMware vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise Plus license and it would be a shame, if he wouldn’t use vCOps in his environment (> 15 hosts).

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