VMware vCenter Operations Standard – Part 2: First look

In my previous post about vCenter Operations Standard (from now on vCOPS), I showed you how to install vCOPS and do some initial configuration.

After completion it is time to discover the features of this tool. My first action was to configure SMTP. As a regular user of tools like Nagios, I like to receive notifications in case of trouble. Unfortunately, after filling in the required fields, there is no button to Test your email configuration!

So let us go back to vCOPS, the first thing to notice, is the complete different look and feel of what we are used to in vCenter and other Solutions and Applications. VMware Update Manager and VMware Data Recovery, seamlessly integrate in vCenter.

vCOPS can completely run in a browser, that gives the opportunity to easily switch between vCOPS and vCenter

After my first tour, I was a bit confused and lost. So I returned to the “Installation and Administration Guide” which contains a section about the main concepts of vCOPS. So I learned about Workloads, Health, Capacity, attributes, metrics, dynamic- and hard thresholds, key performance indicators and probable causes, but still fuzzy…

Luckily VMware has created two videos which are really helpful  in understanding vCOPS.

In this first video, Kit Colbert, a lead engineer on vCenter Operations, gives an overview of vCOPS.

After watching this video, some thoughts:

  • vCOPS is very different and based on visualizations. After you get the understanding about Workloads (demand, usage and capacity), Health (how normal objects behave and detect abnormalities) and Capacity (long term and trending aspects) you can explore your environment on all levels from Datacenter to VM. The tree maps in the Analysis section and the Score boards are useful features. The All metrics section is kind of last resort.
  • Colors play a very important role in vCOPS. For that reason it is probably not very helpful for people who are color blind. Once I explained a graphical dashboard, one guy could not see the difference between a red and a green indicator!
  • Pages contain a lot of information and contain several drill down options. It is not always very clear where to click for the next graphic.

The second video shows how to troubleshoot a performance related problem after a user calls in. The concepts of demand, usage and capacity play an important role in vCOPS and are explained once more. After watching the second video, I have noticed that vCOPS helps you in identifying the root cause of an issue, but does not identify resolutions or gives recommendations for a issue.

My own home lab is not a good reference, it is small and is only powered on in case I need it (Think Green, remember). On the other hand I ‘am very curious to install vCOPS in a large environment and after some time watch how it reacts in relation to the Dynamic thresholds feature.

So at this moment, it is too early for final conclusions, Veeam Monitor is just booting and I’am awaiting another nice product.

I hope you enjoyed reading and welcome your feedback.

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One Response to VMware vCenter Operations Standard – Part 2: First look

  1. Vladan says:

    It’s certainly a nice working product destined for the top 10 000 rich clients out there… -:) because based on the per-VM-pricing model. And it gives some place for smaller players in the same niche which are (still) using per-CPU-Socket pricing model.

    In my region there is like 98% of SMBs. So I see a very little probbability to deploy that at client’s site, but could be a great tool for service providers….

    Best
    vLadan.

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