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vRealize Operations is easy – Creating a custom dashboard with vROps

Let’s face it, monitoring in and of itself is a challenge. Breaking the cycle of putting out fires and becoming proactive is every IT organization’s dream. Fewer late night pages make for happier staff and customers, and who wouldn’t want that? Yet a lot of organizations employ less advanced monitoring solutions that only trigger late night pages after something has gone wrong and a lot of those alerts are based on lessons learned from past outages.

VMware has set out to change all of that with vRealize Operations Manager. vROps is capable of pulling in far more VMware metrics than any other solution, plus it can monitor your hardware and applications with management packs available in the VMware Solution Exchange and third parties like Blue Medora. There are a TON of pre-configured alerts based on hardening guides and VMware’s vast knowledge of common customer issues. vROps helps organizations become proactive with alerts that can warn you days in advance of any imminent danger such as a datastore filling up.

01-Datastore_projected_to_run_out_of_space

vRealize Operations Manager includes some very handy dashboards right out of the box. Whether you’re trying to troubleshoot a VM or get a handle on your ESXi host configuration sprawl, chances are there’s a dashboard for that! If you want to build your own dashboard, it’s super simple!! You’ll just need the Advanced or Enterprise edition of vROps.

vROps_editions

Would you like to build a dashboard?

Let’s build a simple custom dashboard with vROps that will allow us to select an ESXi host and display some basic capacity information such as current the workload and capacity remaining.

02-New_dashboard_preview

To create your own custom vROps dashboard, click on the Content menu on the left side of the home screen.

03-Content_menu

Select Dashboards and click Create Dashboard.

04-Create_dashboard

Let’s give this dashboard a clever name like “Lab Capacity.” Yeah! That has a nice ring to it!

05-Dashboard_name

Select “Widget List” from the left hand menu.

06-Widget_list

Drag the Object List widget to the dashboard

07-Object_list

Drag the Capacity Remaining widget to the dashboard

08-Capacity_remaining

Next, we’ll add a Workload widget.

09-Workload

And finally, we’ll drop in a Metric Chart.

10-Happy_metric_chart_no_Bob

 

While we’re at it, let’s go ahead and expand that Metric Chart all the way across the bottom.

11-Expand_metric_chart

Configuring the widgets

Now, that Object List is looking a little busy. Let’s cut this down to show only our ESXi hosts.

12-Busy_object_list

Click on the pencil icon to edit the object list

13-Edit_object_list

Let’s name this Object List “ESXi Hosts” and leave the object list mode set to self. While we’re at it, let’s take a moment to talk about the various object list modes. Modes come in to play when an object list is being fed by another widget. For example, let’s say we have two object lists. We want object list 1 to show our ESXi hosts, and we want object list 2 to show the VM’s that live on the host we select in object list 1.

13-1_object_list_mode_example

The mode is relative to the selected object, which in this case is esxi1. If we set the mode to Self, we would only see the selected host in Object List 2.

13-2_Object_list_example_self

If we set the mode to Parent, we would see the host’s cluster.

13-3_Object_list_example_parent

In this case we would want to set the mode to Children to be able to see the host’s virtual machines. The mode is always relative to the selected object feeding your list. Now that we understand the various modes of an object list, let’s get back to editing our dashboard.

 

We need to narrow down our list to only show ESXi Hosts. Under filters, expand “Object Types.”

14-Object_types

Single click Host System and click Save.

15-Host_system

This has cut down on the number of objects displayed, but it still looks busy. Let’s remove all of the columns except for the host names.

16-ESXi_hosts_all_columns

Click the swizzle next to any of the columns, open “Columns,” and uncheck everything except for “Name.”

17-Uncheck_all_but_name

Now that we’ve cleaned up our Object List, let’s make it smaller and expand the Capacity Remaining widget.

18-Resize_object_list

Next, we need to configure our ESXi Hosts widget to feed the other widgets on our dashboard.

19-ESXi_hosts_feeds_widgets

Click on “Widget Interactions” on the left hand menu.

20-Widget_interactions

Select the ESXi Hosts widget for all three of the other widgets. Click “Apply Interactions.”

21-Widget_interaction_config

Now, when you select a host in the ESXi Hosts list, all of the other widgets will be populated with that host’s information!

22-Dashboard_preview

And that’s it! Click Save to save our new dashboard!!

23-Save_dashboard

From the home screen, we can view our dashboard by opening the “Dashboard List” and selecting “Lab Capacity.”

24-View_dashboard

Congratulations! You’ve now created your first dashboard in vRealize Operations Manager! I hope you found this tutorial useful and now have an understanding of how easy it is to create your own custom vROps dashboards! If you don’t currently have vROps installed, you can download a Free Trial or check out one of VMware’s Hands-on Labs today!! http://www.vmware.com/products/vrealize-operations.html

Matt Bradford

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