VMAX Content Pack 2.0 for VMware Log Insight 2.0

VMware has announced the release of the 2.0 version of VMware Log Insight (LI).  Steve Flanders is the go-to guy at VMware for all things Log Insight so check out his blog on this – http://sflanders.net/2014/06/11/log-insight-2-0-now-available/ .  So another release of LI provides a chance for me to update the VMAX Content Pack (CP). I’m going to run through some of the changes I made, many enabled by the new features of LI 2.0.

First thing, if you need a refresher on what the EMC VMAX Content Pack is and how it works, scroll back up to my last blog posting on the topic (https://drewtonnesen.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/auditing-with-the-vmax-content-pack-v1-5-1/). That will take you through the last update to the VMAX CP and link you to the other VMAX CP blogs I have written. So on to 2.0. The first thing about 2.0 that will catch your eye is the UI improvements. Once again VMware has changed the look and feel of LI. This is not a huge departure from 1.5, but definitely an improvement. With the UI changes, VMware has included visualization changes. These focus mostly around chart improvements – better ways to show the data in the dashboards and, most importantly, new ways to get after the data you want. Let’s take a deeper look into how I have used these changes in the VMAX CP, particularly compared to my 1.5.x versions.

Here is the Overview dashboard from the v1.5.x of the VMAX CP:

dashboard_1.5Click to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

It is a nice representation though it is not clear what the different colors represent unless you run your cursor over the graph. Also if I want to do some filtering, I’ll need to go over to the Interactive Analytics page and add those user-defined fields available with the VMAX CP. Now, here is the 2.0 dashboard:

dashboardClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

As you can see, how things have changed. First, find the light green box in the “All events” widget. We have legends! I have used a legend in some way in all my widgets in the dashboards. For instance, I display the array ID only in the “All events” widget, but in the widget that groups by event id below it, I use the legend to display all the different event numbers that are logged. More about the legends shortly, but first let’s look at the other highlighted box in red. In this area we see that VMware has taken the filtering from the Interactive Analytics page into the dashboard now. In other words I was able to add my user-defined fields as filters directly on the dashboard. Each of the dashboards in the VMAX CP has these filters available so the user can quickly put one on, update the dashboard, and get the results. For example, say I want to limit my results to a particular VMAX. Right now in the dashboard in the previous picture I have 5 (seen in the new widget “Number of unique VMAX arrays in log entries” in the top middle of the dashboard). By filtering on a VMAX id, however, I can reduce the log entries to the following:

dashboard_withfilterClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

This makes my troubleshooting a little easier. Now if I don’t want a dashboard-wide filter, I can instead use my legend in any individual widget. By simply clicking off legend entries, they are removed from my graph. Here is the before:

fe_director_no_filterClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

And after I remove a couple legend entries:

fe_director_filterClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

To get them back I just click on them again. Very easy, very useful.  I also tried to take advantage of VMware’s new options for graphs. For instance bubble graphs:

bubble_graphClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

Circle/Donuts:

donutClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

There a few new user-defined fields too, as well as modifications to the existing ones to ensure they only return the intended information.

The VMAX Content Pack is of course a free plug-in to Log Insight. You can download it from the VMware Solutions Marketplace:

https://solutionexchange.vmware.com/store/products/emc-vmax-content-pack

The VMAX CP consists of a zip file which has every version of the VMAX CP included as well as a whitepaper explaining how to enable the VMAX to send logs to LI. Be sure to follow the README.txt to select the correct CP. The VMAX CP 2.0 will only work with LI 2.0 (beta or GA).  Here are a couple additional links to my white paper on the subject and the LI 2.0 download and Release Notes:

VMAX CP WP:  http://www.emc.com/collateral/white-papers/h12138-emc-vmax-content-pack-vmware-loginsight-wp.pdf

LI 2.0 Release Notes:  https://www.vmware.com/support/log-insight/doc/log-insight-20-release-notes.html

LI 2.0 Download: http://www.vmware.com/go/download-vcenter-log-insight

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