Moving the control plane to multi-cloud with new vRealize Operations

How could you manage your complex virtual environment being sure to have any single bit under control? An answer could be VMware vRealize Operations (or, simply vROPS).

Tech Field Day 19 was a great opportunity for me to deeply understand the features of this product, and Taruna Gandhi gave us a clear overview on it, focusing on self-driving operations.

Self-driving operations are based upon four main Tenets. First of them is the Optimization of Continuous Performance, maybe the most important since it takes care of all the anomalies that could arise in a datacentre, preventing them to occur. In this tenet you’ll find operations like automatic balance of workload through predictive DRS using machine learning on the back end. This mechanism is also able to find the right placement to avoid resource contention.

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The second indicator is dedicated to Capacity Management. Customer is very concerned with just in time provisioning, just in time utilization and cost management. And, most important, is highly interested on the out of capacity risk. When running out of capacity, is vital to know what kind of actions are available, reclaiming resources, interacting with shadow customers or, simply, plan to contact their hardware suppliers or rent capacity on the cloud as quickly as possible.

The third Tenet brings Intelligent Remediation at our attention. In a multicloud environment the cloud is the new silo, replacing the traditional ones made of compute, storage and networking. This means that the previous Tenets must be considered not only at a SDDC level but also at a higher level, and be applied from apps to infrastructure.

Finally, the last Tenet is about  Configuration and Compliance management, an integrated discipline that should be part of self-driving operations.

Starting from the bottom of this self-driving operations platform I was upset since I was used to find here the components of a SDDC: sure, there are, but not only. There’s VMConAWS, there are VMware Cloud Providers and there are the public cloud providers. The platform’s analytics engine is able to collet all the underlying metrics, logs and events, it can discover all this information, it’s able to map the dependencies, create the topology and concentrate all this inside our machine learning platform. It’s a lot of data, it’s a huge amount of data.

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The output is amazing. The four tenets above mentioned are the drivers for a continuous optimization that covers not only operational intent but also business one.

The business intent is actually very interesting. This is where, through simple settings and tags in vCenter, a customer can define policies and rules about compliance, workload placement according to it, consolidation based on OS and host, define different tiers of service – these are simple examples that Taruna explained, but they’re illuminating use cases: the engine will make these decisions on a continuous basis and based on the intents we set, it optimize performances, capacity, costs, assures compliance and remediate when needed – the four Tenets I described above.

The Quick Start screen is based on the same four tenets of self-driving operations at a glance. It gives the whole idea on what’s happening inside the virtual environment, what should be done immediately, hints on what’s better to deepen and several level of alerts.

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Talking of new features introduced in 7.5, following the 4 pillars introduced since vROPS 6.7, the first one adopted a placement optimization for vSAN driven by storage intent definition (in addition to the main 2 business and operational). A lot of work went on the capacity management, introducing Allocation Aware Capacity, since many customers act as internal service provider, Planning scenarios from migration  to HCI adoption, comparing private to public cloud, and finally, new cost drivers (HCI, monthly OpEX…) A good amount of effort was made on Intelligent Remediation with a lot of new features in terms of OS and Apps monitoring, relationship widgets, Metric correlation and Supermetrics, integration with Service Now, NSX-T support and management via Skyline. On the Configuration and Compliance side light’s on Custom Compliance standards for particular customers, and automated configuration management with vRO integration.

In conclusion, vROPS spans its control across on-premises SDDC and public cloud maximizing performance, capacity utilization, prediction and prevention of issues, troubleshooting as quick as possible. vSAN and HCI operations, Multi-Cloud Observability, App-aware operations and Config&Compliance will complete the product.

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I’m observing VMware moving more and more towards a multi-cloud environment. Companies need it for resiliency reasons and for differentiation of OpEX costs. The market is mature, comparison is a daily task. In my opinion the behaviour of VMware is the right one: not fighting public cloud, it would be silly, but integrating it as much as possible using its products, from vROPS to NSX-T just to name 2. With vRealize vROPS the customer is able to aggregate business and operational keys considering his whole workload, no matter where it runs, and take decisions having a global overview and perception.

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