Operationalizing vCenter Operations – Part 1

I’ve been doing a lot of work with vCenter Operations over the last few months. I spent a lot of time with custom dashboards, super metrics and custom widgets based on XML files and widget interactions. The environment I’m in has an operations team responsible for monitoring 15+ vCenter environments. Most of the time spent working on this project was dedicated to creating a main dashboard that displayed high level metrics for all sites and then creating a site-specific dashboard that had a more narrow view of the resources at that site. A third type of dashboard was created for resource lookup. This dashboard allows for anyone to type in the name of a resource (virtual machine, host, cluster, etc..). Any resource selected from the Metric selector will then bring up metrics in a different widget and give you certain information in another widget (this is the custom xml file) depending on the type of resource.

In this first part I want to show you the final result. I prefer showing the result first so you have some perspective of what is being done in subsequent posts. Plus, who wants to read a bunch of boring and (likely) grammatically incorrect paragraphs from yours truly? Not I.

Here’s the main operations dashboard. Each column represents a site. Each column has individual metrics for different items such as ‘Hosts Down’ or ‘Max VM Disk’. Each metric is representative of a resource type for the entire site, therefore, Super Metrics were created to find the ‘max’ of something across a resource type within that site. I’ll explain more in subsequent posts.

operations master

Next up is the site-specific dashboard. This consists of Applications (metrics pulled using Hyperic), datastores (ordered by least free space) virtual machine disk space heat map (by % free) and a host overview area for the individual hosts at that site in which each row represents several metrics for a particular host.



This next dashboard is a resource finder. It consists of a resource selector that once you select a resource it will populate the available metrics in the metric selector below, which in-turn interacts with the metric graph and populates the metric graph with whichever metrics you selected. There is also a health tree on the bottom left. Whenever you select a resource in the resource finder the health tree populates. Finally, the resource details area on the top left will populate with different metrics depending upon the resource type you select. Here’s what the resource dashboard looks like



Above, I mentioned that the resource details widget of the resource finder dashboard displayed different metrics depending on the resource selected. Here are some examples of what you will see

“World” resource”                                                                                      “Datacenter” resource

resource master_worldresource master_datacenter


“Cluster” resource                                                                                        “Host” resource

resource master_cluster

resource master_host


“Virtual machine” resource                                                                          “Datastore” resource

resource master_vmresource master_datastore


That’s going to do it for this post. In Operationalizing vCenter Operations – Part 2 I will go over the main operations dashboard in detail, to include super metrics associated with it.

Comments 3

  1. Great blog post. As a developer that develops a large number of our own vC Ops Management Packs, I always find it hugely insightful to see the thought process / logic behind other’s customer dashboards with a particular emphasis on the problem the dashboard/widget is trying to solve.

    Thanks for contributing to the community!

    1. Post

      Thanks for the reply Tommy. I have been a little slow with getting to this. I have all the super metrics for that board documented, I just haven’t had a chance to spell them out in a post. Hope to do that soon. Thanks for reading!

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