VMAX Content Pack in the Age of vRealize

If you’re wondering about the title, VMware decided some time ago to rename a suite of their products to “vRealize” from “vCenter”.  As I am not in marketing nor work for VMware I can’t expound on the reasoning for the rename but I can tell you what it means to me is I have to update lots of documents 🙂  I’m going to pace myself on that one but let’s get to the GA vRealize products that are the subject of this post.  VMware released two new versions of products which are becoming more closely tied together:  vCenter Operations Management and vCenter Log Insight.  Now I used the old titles to avoid confusion but as you might guess the new titles with their versions are vRealize Operations Management (vROps) 6.0 and vRealize Log Insight 2.5 (LI).  vROps went GA yesterday while LI went GA today.  The better integration of the products is somewhat expected as they can do similar things such as root cause analysis.  For instance when using EMC Storage Analytics for VMAX (support for vROps 6 imminent) I might notice that a health score on my device has deteriorated.  Reviewing the history of the device metrics I could search for a pattern in my VMAX dashboards using the calendar feature, but I might ultimately need to review logs from Unisphere for VMAX or Solutions Enabler.  That would bring me to Log Insight and the VMAX Content Pack (VMAX CP).  Conversely, starting in Log Insight I have shown how you can use the VMAX CP (https://drewtonnesen.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/alerts-with-vmax-esacontent-pack-for-log-insight/) to send alerts back to vCOps/vROps.  So you see they can have a symbiotic relationship, one which VMware has now enhanced.

I’ll cover vROps in more detail when ESA for VMAX releases but the new features in LI 2.5 are numerous.  From a Marketplace screen where you can download my content pack on-the-fly…

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

…to browser-based language support, role-based access control, load balancing, LI forwarder, among many others.  As usual, Steve Flanders has the skinny on it (sflanders.net) so head over there for numerous entries on how you can make the most of the release.

I have published an update to my VMAX Content Pack in support of vRealize Log Insight 2.5.  In the most recent update for 2.5 I have a couple new user defined fields.  The first is emc_vmax_system.  This field was created to account for references to the array id (SID) that do not fall in the normal location in log files to be picked up by emc_vmax_symid.  Here is an example where the SID is used in reference to a VMAX for Unisphere environment which has a database issue:

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

The second field I created as a kind of catch-all for any text which may not have been included in other fields, hence the name emc_vmax_text.  In the example below most of the words in the text that starts with “Response Time…” have their own field, but not all.  This new field will cover the entire text which might be useful if you need to do a general search on a specific term.

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

In addition to these fields I added a widget to the Auditing dashboard called Permanent disk sparing.  This widget came out of a customer request.  Their processes required that the administrator was made aware when the VMAX replaced a disk.  If auditing is enabled, then a log entry will be produced that looks like this when sparing is invoked:

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

The new widget, which as I mentioned is located in the Auditing dashboard, is this:

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

The whitepaper which accompanies the VMAX CP has also been updated to reflect these changes along with additions such as new screenshots of the latest Unisphere for VMAX 8.0.1 release (HYPERMAX OS 5977 Q4 2014) and an explanation of how Log Insight alerting can be used with vROps.

I do want to take a minute to point out a difference between vCOps 5.x and vROps 6.x when it comes to LI integration because frankly this one got me and drove me a bit nuts since I have been working with vCOps 5.x for so long.  To integrate LI and vCOps 5.x it takes nothing more than filling in the details of the environment for vCOps in LI and saving it like so:

vcops5_liClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

Once that is complete, if LI sends an alert to vCOps, I’ll have the ability to return to LI through the in-context menu:

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

In vROps 6.x, however, the integration is not a one-step process.  Clearly one of the design decisions in vROps 6.x was to provide the basic functionality, a foundation if you will, and then make available “solutions” that can be installed into the environment.  Falling into this solutions category is Log Insight.  The drawback for LI integration is that when you fill in the details for vROps in the aforementioned screen in LI, the behavior is exactly the same as in vCOps 5.x.  It will integrate and report success; however if that is all you do, your alert in vROps 6.x will have no in-context menu:

vrops_6_intClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

To enable the menu you need to download the Log Insight management pak (MP) from VMware:

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

Install this into vROps as a solution.  No further configuration is required as shown in this screenshot.  Note that it still uses the old name of vCenter not vRealize.

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

Once this is done, presumably your in-context menu will be made available for LI but currently this functionality has a bug VMware is working on.  Personally, though, I think this is a poor design by VMware.  If they are no longer going to offer the in-context menu by default, Log Insight should at the very least generate an error when you run the integration step.  It should tell me that I am missing the LI MP in vROps and give me the option of cancelling the integration at that point or continuing but noting I will not have a in-context menu until I add the Log Insight MP to vROps.  Hopefully this changes in the next release.  BTW if you use the vROps documentation around this it has not been updated properly and still refers to the HTTP post adapter which although is in vROps 6.x it cannot be configured.

As far as how the alert appears in vROps 6.0 compared to vCOps 5.x, it is somewhat different; but not so much that you won’t be able to navigate yourself around and launch the in-context to Log Insight (I like the old view but hey that’s just me).

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

So that’s it.  The VMAX CP supports VMAX and VMAX3.  It also goes great with the EMC Hybrid Cloud which I have been focusing on lately.

Documentation can be found here:

https://support.emc.com/docu50637_White_Paper:_Using_the_EMC_VMAX_Content_Pack_for_VMware_vRealize_Log_Insight.pdf

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

Note the zip file contains both the 2.5 and 2.1 versions of the VMAX CP since the 2.5 version will not work on Log Insight 2.0.

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