Archive | May 2014

VMware IT Business Management (ITBM) standard

After attending last weeks vCAC 6 course in Bracknell I decided to write about ITBM, at least the standard edition that comes with the vCAC suite. In this post I’ll delve into all configurable variables, showing what can be altered and what i my opinion is the value and best suited application of ITBM standard. First of all, I haven’t implemented ITBM in a production environment yet. I had it running in a proof of concept in our lab environment, hence the screenshots, and of course it’s one of the subjects in the course.

What does ITBM do?

VMware IT Business Management Suite provides transparency and control over the cost and quality of IT services. By providing a business context to the services IT offers, IT Business Management helps IT organizations shift from a technology orientation to a service broker orientation, delivering a portfolio of IT services that align with the needs of line of business stakeholders. With benchmarks providing objective evidence, IT Business Management also provides the fact-based approach needed to minimize
the cost of IT while maximizing the value IT delivers to its customers. Greater transparency and alignment, and the continuous improvement of IT services they enable, support IT as it seeks to develop competitive advantage through major IT transformation initiatives such as cloud, mobility and data center modernization.

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ITBM and Chargeback

What does Chargeback do?

VMware vCenter Chargeback Manager enables accurate cost measurement, analysis and reporting of virtual machines. With vCenter Chargeback Manager, line-of-business owners and IT teams can gain visibility into the actual cost of the virtual infrastructure and operations required to support business services. vCenter Chargeback Manager provides the ability to map IT costs to business units, cost centers or external customers – enabling a better understanding of how much resources cost and what can be done
to optimize resource utilizationn. vCenter Chargeback Manager also allows organizations to support policy-driven accountability for self-service environments so that businesses can “pay as they go” for IT resources.

To recap these product descriptions by VMware, ITBM is about cost control and Chargeback is about cost metering. In my opinion the ITBM standard virtual appliance isn’t fine-grained enough for billing, so Chargeback is essential to do just that. With the Chargeback Manager collector for ITBM suite, a daily chargeback report can be generated and uploaded to ITBM suite (that is, the stand alone advanced or enterprise suite, unfortunately not the standard appliance as far as I’ve been able to find out, but, please correct me if I’m wrong).

Installing & configuring the ITBM standard virtual appliance

Download the .OVA file of the ITBM standard appliance from the VMware website. Deploy the virtual appliance through the vSphere client or the vSphere webclient.

Log in to the  IT Business Management Standard server (port 5480) and register it with VMware vCloud Automation Center. Don’t forget to select  the Accept “vCloud Automation Center” certificate check box.

Wait for the “Registered with vCloud Automation Center”message.

Set your Time Zone, click save settings and log out.

You then log in to vCloud Automation Center and create a tenant and associate users and groups to manage the IT Business Management server.

ITBM standard and configurable cost variables will be covered in part 2.

 

 

VMware vCloud Automation Center: Install, Configure, Manage [V6.0] – a review

This past week I took the VMware vCloud Automation Center: ICM 6.0 training in Bracknell in the RSA House. This training is new, and as we are using vCAC 6 in our Cloud stack, we deemed it necessary to take this course.

Day 1 focuses mainly on the architecture of vCAC (first four chapters of the book)  and installing and configuring the basics (labs). As I’ve already had some previous experience with vCAC 6 (we’ve done a PoC and are halfway with our implementation of our cloud solution) this mostly was a recap for us, though there are some real nice slides in the course materials that we can use to visualize our implementation of delegation/separation of management:

  • Cloud management

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  • Tenant management

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  • Tenant operation

                    Lab Manager

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                    Tenant users

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This is by no means the VMware best practice, only an example of how we probably will delegate administration of our vCloud implementation.

To configure more than one vCenter Server in vCAC, you need to do a custom install of the vSphere agent and configure a separate endpoint for that agent. This can be done on the same vCAC IaaS node. In the configuration of the endpoint you specify which vCenter it connects to.

Day 2 is more about configuring vCAC, creating a fabric, business groups and blue prints. Service catalogue terminology is slightly confusing, best to accept it as is.

Day 3 teaches about provisioning machines, editing blueprints, setting custom properties, adding approval workflows and extensibility tools like the vCAC Designer or the Advanced Designer in combination with vCenter Orchestrator.

Day 4 delves deeper into extensibility of vCAC with vCAC Designer and Advanced Designer, like creating a vCO workflow and linking that workflow to a blueprint e.g.

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In Day 5 we looked at monitoring and reclamation, ITBM and vCloud Application Director.

The picture below, of the reclamation workflow, seems a bit flawed to me… Can I archive a VM after it has been deleted? In my opinion there is a fork, either the machine is archived if so specified in the blueprint, or it is deleted immediately.

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ITBM standard can be used to get a grip on your costs or to present a cost breakdown to your tenants. I’ll describe the configurable cost variables in ITBM standard in a separate blog. If you need more, or want to connect Chargeback to ITBM you need the stand alone ITBM advanced or enterprise suite.

vCloud App Director enhances the use of blueprints. These blueprints not only roll out a VM with an OS, but also deploy applications on the VM. This not only works for a single VM, but you can build multi-tiered applications with it, including networks. These blueprints then can be pushed to your own vSphere based cloud (vCAC or vCD based), vCHS, or AWS.

It is a good course I think, and five days is more than enough to cover all the topics and the labs. It is a pity that the possibility to do a distributed install is mentioned but not really further explored… Wouldn’t you want to increase availability of your cloud portal by clustering the vCAC portal, PostgreSQL an MS SQL Server databases, and the vCAC IaaS nodes?

After the instructors have gained some more experience, I guess the course could be done in four days. Minimum prerequisites for this course imho are a VCP-status (or equivalent experience and knowledge) and preferably a couple of years of experience with managing vSphere, scripting and/or workflow management.

Voting for VMworld 2014 presentations is open!

Yes, once again all presenters are wondering whether their presentations will make it this year… as am I. Together with my esteemed colleague, Rene Bos, I have been so bold to enter two presentations into the catalogue, number 1182 “The Conclusion Cloud Cookbook” focusing on our lessons learned, and session number 1402 about vCloud Automation Center and whether you can emulate VMware LabManager or vCloud Director functionality with vCAC 6.0.

Of course we hope we can make the shift, so if you want to do us a favor, vote for sessions 1182 and 1409.

http://www.vmworld.com/voting.jspa

The early bird registration for VMworld 2014 in San Francisco (24th – 28th of August) opens today as well, regardless of the outcome of the vote, I’ll be preparing our business case anyway. I am already looking forward to VMworld and hope I’ll be able to attend it, either as speaker or as attendee.

Why should you go? Here are a couple of reasons, feel free to use them to convince your manager:

  • VMworld is THE convention on virtualization and cloud computing
  • At VMworld new products and releases will be announced and demonstrated
  • There will be over 350 breakout sessions, covering almost every topic
  • A great chance to meet and interact with your peers from all over the world
  • A great chance to meet and greet the people that developed all this great technology
  • The Solution Exchange with chances to interact with technology vendors
  • Hands on Labs – sure you can do a lot of them online, but here you can do the latest and greatest
  • And last but not least, a great party!

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This picture by Sean Thulin gives a great impression of last years party.

VMware usually offers a concept letter for your manager explaining why you should attend VMworld, which you can download from the VMworld website.

Early bird rates run from May 6th – June 10th, so don’t wait too long.

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