Upgraded from 6.4 to 6.6.
There's not much to state about the upgrade procedure. It took about two hours to do both the OS and application update combined, which went without a hitch.
My main concern was whether the Horizon pak would carry through and work, which it did.
The new HTML5 interface is absolutely awesome - a vast improvement on previous versions. The layout is far simpler to navigate and makes a lot more sense. Even the Horizon dashboards seemed to jump out as a lot more useful, even though the widgets haven't changed.
The OOB dashboards are so much cleaner and useful than previously, and the intergrated management packs, like VSAN, is a very nice touch.
It gets a huge thumbs up from me at the moment.
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I'm sharing my customer experience here in Brazil. They were running vRealize Operations Manager 6.4 with three nodes: two data nodes with HA enabled (one Master and one Master Replica) and one data collector. Their environment has about 2.000 VMs being monitored by vROPs, and each data node has 780GB.
First we checked all appliances for free space. Then we took cluster offline, powered-off all appliances, took a snapshot, then we started the appliances and the cluster. Bear in mind that you can be surprised by a "File System Check". Please, add to your planning one-two extra hours.
In our first try, the upgrade of operating system failed. We were using Internet Explorer, the upload of the OS-VA PAK file finished successfully, but we got stuck in web browser about one hour with no progress. So, we went to Google Chrome and canceled the installation. We checked all appliances, and we found that the PAK file was distributed just to one data node.
We started a new installation using Google Chrome, and the VA-OS PAK was distributed to all nodes, and the upgrade took about 40 minutes to finish with success !
Then we started the vRealize Operations Manager upgrade. The VA PAK file was uploaded successfully, and the whole process took about one hour to finish with success.
So, when everything finished we deleted all snapshots and checked all appliances for free space.
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We upgraded from 6.5 to 6.6 in our test environment first to validate all solutions were playing nicely with each other. After a few days with no major issues, we were confident to roll this out to our Production cluster. Following best practices, we took snapshots being sure to uncheck the virtual appliance memory and quiesce the guest operating system options as well as backup all customized content.
The update was a breeze and there were no hitches with the installation procedure. It was a very straight forward procedure! I was also very pleased to find that everything including views, reports, dashboards, super metrics, and policies were still left intact. The only things we had to redo were to re-permission groups to allow viewing of the Home Page and re-share dashboards since all groups inherited a lot of the unassigned dashboards which we didn't want for some of our users. So my advice is to take note of how you share your dashboard prior to upgrading.
Our main motivation for upgrading was to take advantage of the newest dashboards and HTML5 UI which are really sleek and very easy to navigate! Honestly, I get quite frustrated at any big changes to the UI, but it took me only a few hours of poking around to discover how the new layout was reorganized. My manager thinks the same and really likes the new "Workload Balance" overview on the Home page, but I thought it could have been combined with the dashboards. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of the new Home Page as it doesn't seem to allow much customization and if you choose to disallow the permission altogether, the user is faced with the error, "Missing Privileges: Home/View Home Page" when they logon since it's the first landing page. Also, there is no obvious way to hide the "Recommended Actions" which could be confusing to users who don't have permissions to certain objects in the environment. What I am excited about is the PDRS (available on 6.5 and onward) which we are taking advantage of starting today in our development environment! Hopefully we can avoid contention, better balance our clusters, and take the guess work out of learning the varying workloads we support.
Further update: Having used 6.6 at a couple of sites over the past week now, I've only found one area that I don't like - sharing dashboards.
This seems very buggy at the moment and is a bit of a nightmare to customise. Pre-6.6 this worked very well - remove dashboards from the everyone group and then share them with particular groups only knowing that they would not be able to see anything else. With v6.6 this doesn't seem to work very well. Firstly the dragging and dropping mechanism fails quite often when adding to groups, and the interface seems to stop working often regardless of what browser is used. It also fails to properly list the dashboards and is very random in what is displayed.
I've had to create some custom access profiles at each site, and at both the issues were consistent. Even worse, when logging in with a test account, we could usually find a way to view dashboards that we had specifically not shared with a group, or even disabled outright.
My other gripe in regards to this level of customisation comes with creating custom roles. We have certain groups that we don't want to see the Home tab, who we would prefer to default straight to the dashboard page at logon; however, it doesn't seem like that is possible. If you deny permissions to the home page, the user simply gets a permissions error when they logon. It would be grand if there was somewhere where we can set the default start page based on user group to get around this. If that already exists, I haven't found it yet.
I'd also like the ability to re-order the dashboard groups too.
Otherwise, everything else so far is a huge improvement on previous versions.
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My story with vRops started in 2015, when it was in version 5.6. At this time, resources were delivered without any criteria and analysis. We had no management of the environment, so we could not know whether we would need new investments to acquire hardware and software resources.
Over time, we have had a very significant gain with the implementation of the capacity management using vRops, where we were able to improve our knowledge and implement improvements in the environment. Today, in version 6.6,
I can safely say that we would not be able to reach the level of maturity we have without the benefits brought by vRops.
Some of these benefits are:
- Optimization in the delivery of resources, through the creation of proposed scenarios in relation to new projects and also, through the creation of a process of capacity management;
- Reduction of hardware and software acquisition costs, through the implementation of the capacity management process;
- Work proactively, reducing unavailability, through the use of customized alerts and notifications, easily implemented;
- Have the visibility of the environment, through the customization Useful dashboards that help in monitoring the environment;
- Creation of automated reports for presentation to the company executives, allowing to know, in a simple way, the indicators regarding the availability of resources.
Why upgrade to vRealize Operations 6.6
- Categorized Dashboards made it easier and faster to go straight to the key informations of environmental management;
- Improvements in alerts, allowing problem resolution to occur quickly, reducing incident response time significantly;
- The ability to predict bottlenecks preventing resource contention by automating workload balancing, ensuring datacenter performance;
- The new interface allows a unified and objective view, being possible to clearly visualize the health of the environment;
- Automatic updating of data collection agents will allow the environment to remain standardized in relation to the data that helps in the deeper analysis of application performance and availability.
Without the implementation of vRops, today we would undoubtedly be without reliable information for making decisions about new investments, proactive management.
Best practices I recommend:
- Have a well-defined capacity management process based on best practices, using the potential of valuable resources offered by vRops;
- Understand the need for hardware resource demands. Sometimes, we realize that the need is not for adding resources but rather for improving a process or optimizing it;
- explore all the possibilities of the vRops, such as native dashboards and also the various options to create new custom;
- Explore alerts and notifications, customizing according to the need of environmental management;
- Use of the various blogs from VMWare who share many documentationsclarify doubts and give valuable tips.
- Use the Projects option to help simulate new what-if demands, and it is possible to estimate if the environment will support these demands
- Explore the Capacity Remaining from Analisys option to know if the environment can supports new virtual machines and see what is the most constrained resource that can generate bottlenecks, helping the administrator to act proactively to avoid unavailability in the applications.
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Being fairly new to the VMware space (approx. 3 years or so), I cut my teeth on an inherited 5.x deployment in our multi-site 1000+ VM environment. Being responsible for overall health, forensics, and capacity management for our entire virtual stack – a deep dive was imperative.
We all know that vRealize Operations is a beast – not just the learning curve required to understand what it presents, or how to apply metrics and data to business decisions, but the tall order of its purpose: ingest asonishing amounts of data across numerous layers and transform them into consumable entities for both ends of the complexity spectrum, from subject matter experts to senior leadership seeking a simple 35,000 ft. view. Blogs like this one, frankdenneman, virtuallyghetto, and virtual-red-dot have proven priceless in an attempt to peel the onion.
Not going to lie, the sole reason for our 6.6 upgrade was the UI. Former positions at previous companies I delved in web development and overall I have a high desire and attraction to clean interfaces, especially if it’s an interface my eyeballs are glued to on a daily basis. With the clarity theme being the magnet it is, and honestly without much additional motivation I snapped the existing 6.5 appliances (primary and remote collectors) and took the leap. Upgrades went without a hitch. Beautiful. Data still in tact on the other end and without errors? Even better.
I had already learned to not modify existing alert definitions or apply customizations to out-of-the-box objects as upgrades will reset them, so I knew my views and dashboards I implemented from Iwan Rahabok’s virtual-red-dot were going to be fine. Actually, the new dashboards out-of-the-box with 6.6 proved to be as useful and provide some similar insight.
I’ve kicked up some questions through our TAM channel and hope they make their way to feature requests – a lot of them dealing with capacity and projects. Here’s hoping that now with the UI getting the well-deserved TLC it needed, capacity management and planning specifically is next on the hit list for some love; being able to manage project scenario implementation dates in bulk, or manage through API, or even change project capacity containers to view different consumption models (i.e. demand, consumption, and allocation).
Integration with vRealize Log Insight and vRealize Business is a huge plus… at this moment I’m being tasked with carving up data for senior leadership to display the sorts of data these two integrated products provide, as well as a combination of the new out-of-the-box dashboards and management packs from Blue Medora we are currently testing.
And last but not least, the hardening report capabilities provided our Information Security team with the required insight needed to ensure compliance based on the controls approved by our infrastructure team. It's really as easy as modifying the hardening alert definitions to suit your environment, provide tailored least-privilege access to the dashboard, and set up automated distribution of the hardening report via the report scheduler.
Tip of the hat to the vROps crew for an amazing update, can't wait to see what's in the pipeline!