VMware vCenter Operations Standard- Part I: Install and Configure

Last week the launch of the VMware vSphere Client for iPad received a lot of attention. But VMware also released another interesting product: vCenter Operations.

According to VMware “vCenter Operations Standard is for vCenter administrators who want to better understand the performance of their virtual infrastructure, and to diagnose and correct performance problems easily and quickly.”

A comprehensive overview about the product and its origin can be found here on Virtualization.info.

vCenter Operations provides performance, capacity and configuration analytics for management of highly virtual infrastructures and cloud infrastructures. It does so by analyzing and correlating data across the monitored IT infrastructure in a pretty unique way: for each tracked resource, it can identify the normal behavior of every metric (which implies a dynamic adjustment of thresholds) and then automatically recognize an anomaly.

So it seems VMware is entering a market with a lot of competitors. Not only the big boys, but also with specialists like VKernel and they do not seem to be very happy, according to this post.

Enough said, let’s start. At this time vCenter Operations is available here and comes in two flavors:

  • Standard, the actual VMware vCenter Operations Standard 1.0;
  • Advanced, as Standard plus VMware vCenter CapacityIQ 1.5.1.

After downloading, you also receive a license which entitles you to play around with the products for 60 days. It is also a good idea to download the documentation, most important document is the “VMware vCenter Operations Standard Installation and Administration Guide”.

VMware vCenter Operations comes in the form of an OVF template. Deploying the template is straightforward. When it comes to “Disk Format”, it defaults to thick format, which is the highly recommended format in the Admin Guide.

After the import is finished, there is a new Suse Linux Enterprise 11 VM, that requires 2 VCPUs, 8 GB Memory and 124 GB disk space.

Time to boot the VM. When you open the console, you will notice that the boot process finishes with a  familiar interface, that we have seen before in the VMware Data Recovery Appliance.

First step after the boot process, Edit Settings of the VM, go to the Options Tab, under Settings, select “VMware Tools” and under the Advanced section,place a tick at “Synchronize guest time with host”.

By default the VM is configured with a DHCP address. In the Summary tab of the VM, note the IP address. Now it is time for the initial configuration.

vCenter Operations Standard requires certain browsers for different operations. Internet Explorer version 7 or above suits all situations. So start IE and enter the IP address from the previous step.

vCenter Operations welcomes you with a login screen. The default account is admin, password admin. After a successful login, the first action is changing the Admin password.

This first-time password change also sets the same password for the root account. Note that Future changes to the administrator account do not affect the root password!

Next opens the dialog box to register vCenter Operations Standard with a vCenter Server system.

  • Type a descriptive name to use for the vCenter Server system in the vCenter Operations Standard view. This name is for your reference when you monitor the vCenter Server system and does not affect the object in the actual virtual infrastructure.
  • Type the IP address or fully qualified domain name of the vCenter Server system to monitor and from which to collect information.
  • Type the registration credentials for vCenter Operations Standard to use when connecting to the vCenter Server system. The user you provide must have administrator privileges on the vCenter Server system.
  • Type the collection credentials for vCenter Operations Standard to use when collecting data from vCenter Server objects. You can use the same registration credentials that access all of the vCenter Server objects or limited credentials for a subset of the inventory.
  • Click Save to apply the changes

Hint: Use the Test button to test the credentials before you save them.

Note: It seems that the maximum number of vCenter Server that can be registered with vCenter Operations Standard is only one.

You are now prompted to assign a license key. Return to your vSphere Client, click Home and notice that under Solutions and Applications, vCenter Operations Standard already showed up. But first go to Licensing, click Asset and assign the license key. It seems that the license is based on the number of monitored VMs.

Now, in the vSphere Client, return to Home, go to Solutions and Applications and start vCenter Operations Standard. In my case, I received a message telling me that “This product is unlicensed. Use a vSphere Client to connect to the vCenter Server and assign a license key.” But after a click on Reload, the home screen of vCenter Operations Standard shows up.

In a new post, more on the features of this product. I will continue and describe some additional configuration tasks. Return to Internet Explorer and enter an URL like: https://<IP address>/adminMain.action.

  • The first tab, Setup is familiar, here you can change the vCenter Server.
  • On the SMTP tab, you can enable email alerts. In contrast to vCenter Server, in vCenter Operations, you can configure decent SMTP authentication.
  • In the Logs tab the administrator can view and configure all vCenter Operations Standard log files, and generate support bundles to send log and configuration files to VMware for troubleshooting assistance.
  • On the Status tab, you can check the status of vCenter Operations Standard components to ensure that they operate normally.
  • vCenter Operations Standard collects metrics about its own performance, as it does for other objects. You can view a health chart for the vCenter Operations Standard object on the tab Self Info.
  • Besides the admin user is the one and only user account in  vCenter Operations Standard. On the Account tab, you can change the password of the Admin account.
  • The last tab SSL Certificate, allows you to import a certificate.

In the upper right hand corner, you can click on OS Configuration. Now login with the root account.

On the System tab, you can view information about the VM, reboot or shutdown the VM and set the correct time zone.

On the Network tab, you can see set a fixed IP address and configure proxy settings.

The last tab, Appliance Administration, there is a feature to restart the vCenter Opeartion Service and a option to upload upgrade files. For both actions, you have to supply the root password in advance.

This post is about installing and configuring the new VMware vCenter Operations server. In a new post, I will go into detail and discuss the features of this product. I hope you like this post, I welcome your feedback.

2 Responses to VMware vCenter Operations Standard- Part I: Install and Configure

  1. Jack says:

    After watching the demo of VMware vCenter Operations, I would say it’s just another monitoring and diagnostic tool besides the leading two: vfoglight from Vizioncore and Veeam Monitor from Veeam, nothing really special, but it does present the trouble ones in an intuitive way by using color icons.

    Personally, I found Veeam Monitor Free Edition is already more than enough to identify the problem and find out where the latency is, the key is to look at the lowest or deepest layer, in other words, into VM itself, as the problematic VM is the most fundamental element causing the contention on Resorucs pool, ESX Host, vCenter, etc.

    Then I ask myself why would VMware release such product while there are already two great products in the market? Well, I will leave this question to you in the comment.

  2. […] my previous post about vCenter Operations Standard (from now on vCOPS), I showed you how to install vCOPS and do […]

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