This post shows how to create a custom vROps dashboard to monitor VCF on VxRail environments.
Warning! No rocket-science was used in the making of this custom dashboard.
What I have put together is very basic, but it’s a start, and is probably a reflection of just how easy it is to get going with creating your own VCF on VxRail dashboard for vROps.
A really important pre-requisite to creating a custom dashboard (or creating anything really!) is to have a reason for it. Have a plan, a goal. If that goal solves an existing problem, then even better!
- What do you need from the dashboard?
- Why do you need it?
- What problem is it solving?
Usually with out of the box views and Management Packs, using linked objects, a dashboard will only present/display information as per a single vCenter, that being the selected vCenter.
- I wanted a dashboard that showed me information across more than one vCenter at one time.
- I wanted that dashboard to give me high level VxRail Health, Capacity, and Version information
- … and I just wanted to play around a bit to see what is possible
The wider context of all of this meant that I could view multiple VxRail systems at the same time. This could be applied to VCF on VxRail deployments or just standard VxRails.
My environment consists of 2 x VxRail systems, deployed as a single-site VCF on VxRail 3.9.1. The key component versions here, in terms of integration and support are as follows:
- vROps v7.5
The rest of the components don’t really matter so much in terms of creating this custom Dashboard (I think!).
vROps makes this all very simple to be honest. From the vROps UI, select Dashboards > Actions > Create Dashboard.
A new blank canvas of a dashboard will be presented, onto which you can drag and drop available Widgets and Views.
Give the dashboard a suitable name. In my case this was VCF on VxRail Dashboard
This brings is to deciding on the Layout of the dashboard. After much faffing about dragging and dropping, trying to configure and resize various widgets and views into what I thought would be a cohesive dashboard, I settled on the following:
- 3 Rows, each containing 4 widgets
- Top Row was General info:
- Object List of all VxRail Clusters
- Pie Chart for all VxRail Versions
- Top Alerts (For all VxRail Clusters)
- VCF on VxRail Image (This is 100% cosmetic and has ZERO use)
- Middle Row was for the VCF on VxRail Mgmt Cluster:
- Object Relationships
- Capacity Remaining
- Bottom Row was for the VCF on VxRail VI Workload Domain Cluster:
- Object Relationships
- Capacity Remaining
- Top Row was General info:
Configure the Widgets
Next up was how best to configure the widgets. This is where things start to heat up a little depending on what you want or need.
vROps allows you to configure each widget to display exactly what you need, and while this can be complicated, it is also a case of spending some time getting to know the widgets, understanding their inputs/outputs, and their limitations. That said, depending on what you need, there is an easier way!
In my case I already knew what most of the widgets looked like as they were available on other out-of-the-box dashboards such as those provided by the VxRail Management Pack (which also requires adapters to be configured for vCenter and vSAN).
I wanted those existing, pre-configured widgets available to me in a single view, so the simplest thing to do was to go and Copy the widgets from their respective dashboards and Paste them onto mine. (I warned you about the lack of rocket science here!)
To copy a widget, first go to the dashboard containing that widget (VxRail Operations Dashboard), and select Actions > Edit Dashboard.
From there select the desired widget then select Actions > Copy Widget(s) as shown below
Return to the new Dashboard, select Edit Dashboard again, and then Paste Widget(s).
In the Edit Widget window, you can explore the various settings to understand a little about how that widget was produced. The Widget can also be renamed and edited as required. In our case all we changed was:
- renamed the widget to ‘VCF on VxRail Clusters’
- set the Refresh Content to On
- set Self Provider to On
- set the Auto Select First Row to Off
This was repeated for the Object Relationship widget for the middle (VCF Mgmt) row and bottom (VCF WLD) row, where we copied the source widget from the Troubleshoot VxRail Dashboard for the respective VxRail vCenter Servers.
The vCenter-specific widgets require a little more tweaking, where, once the Self-Provider option is turned On, the Input Data section must be populated with the vCenter-specific object.
Expand the Input Data field, and select the Plus icon, which will provide you with a full inventory of available objects to choose from. In our case, we filtered for VxRail, and then chose the Datacenter object for the respective VxRail Clusters, as shown below.
Click OK, which will bring you back out to the main Input Data field. From here simply click Save.
This must be repeated for each widget, specific to the cluster that is to be represented.
The Top VCF on VxRail Alerts widget, on the top row, was copied from the Troubleshoot VxRail Dashboard, but we changed the specific object on this (in Input Data) to be vSphere World, which means that it will display Alerts from all vROps-managed VxRail clusters.
From the VxRail Capacity Overview Dashboard, we copied the Capacity remaining widget for the respective VxRail vCenter Servers, and used them in the Middle and Bottom rows. As with the Object relationship widget, we again needed to configure the Self Provider and select the Cluster Compute Resource for each VxRail.
Make sure to Save the changes to the dashboard as you go!
At this stage we now have 6 of the overall 12 widgets configured. Next we will configure the Health and Heatmap widgets for the VxRail clusters.
In Edit Dashboard mode, drag and drop the Health widget onto the canvas from the Widget Pool at the bottom of the screen. Then click the Edit icon on the widget
Enable Refresh Content and Self Provider, while leave Badge Mode at Off. Expand Input Data, and from the Object list, select the VxRail Mgmt Cluster Compute Resource, as shown below, and click Save.
Repeat those steps for the 2nd Health widget representing the VI WLD VxRail.
The Heatmap widget is similar, but more involved, as we will be selecting multiple objects, looking at only the Virtual Machines for the respective VxRail clusters.
As before, drag and drop the Heatmap widget onto the canvas, and click Edit.
In Configuration: Refresh Content and Self Provider are to be set ON
For Input Data: Select Objects. then select the vSAN Cluster for the VCF Mgmt VxRail
For Input Transformation: Enable Relationship, Children and Self
For Output Data:
- Create a new configuration (for example, VCF Mgmt VMs)
- Group By Virtual Machines
- Enable Focus on Groups
- Set Mode to General
- Object Type is Virtual machine
- Size by CPU Usage
- Color by CPU Usage
For Output Filter, under Basic, browse to and expand Resource Pool, and select the sddc-mgmt resource pool, as shown below, then click Save.
* Note that selecting the specific resource pool limits the scope of this Heatmap to only the objects in that Resource Pool
For the 2nd Heatmap widget, representing the VCF VI WLD VxRail, repeat all of the above with the exception of the name, selecting the VCF VI WLD vCenter Object, and don’t configure the Output Filter. Leave that as-is, no need to filter as we want to show all VMs on that cluster.
OK, 10 widgets done, 2 more widgets to go: The VxRail versions widget, and the VCF on VxRail image.
VxRail Versions Widget
For the VxRail Versions widget, we needed to create a new Environment View before we could insert a widget for it. This post here covers what’s required to create it. Once the widget is complete, Edit Dashboard, drag and drop a View widget onto the top of the dashboard canvas and click Edit.
On the Configuration page, rename it as required e.g. VxRail Versions, enable Refresh Content and Self Provider.
For Input Data, select All Objects, and vSphere World as the individual object, as shown below:
For Output Data, select the VxRail Versions View previously created, and click Save.
The VxRail Versions widget is interactive, whereby when you select a sector of the chart, the widget will switch to a dual pane display, with the second pane displaying the VxRail systems running that version of code.
Click the x to revert to the single pane view.
Last, and very definitely least, as this is completely useless other than as a logo on a dashboard, is to create the Image widget!
Toggle the Views/Widgets at the bottom of the Edit Dashboard view, drag and drop the Image view to the top on the dashboard canvas, and click Edit.
Name the widget as required, enable Self Provider.
For Input Data, select vSphere World
For Output Data, create a new View, name it, for Presentation, click Select Image, upload the image you require, and click Save.
Save the Dashboard, aaaand we are done!
Afterwards it is possible to change owner of the dashboard, or Share the Dashboard with another user, or Export the dashboard as required.
Well, I hope that helps. Creating a custom vROps dashboard is something that I have wanted to play around with for a long time, so I hope this helps others customise their VCF or VxRail and vROps environments!