A Look at VMware vRealize Operations Manager (vROps) with NEW HPE Nimble Storage Integration

vROps & Nimble main picture

HPE Storage have recently released the latest integration pack for VMware vRealize Operations Manager (or vROps for short). vROps is a VMware management & orchestration platform, which VM-admins heavily rely on for cross-stack troubleshooting and awareness within virtualised environments. It’s incredibly useful for gaining visibility, troubleshooting issues and producing reports within private or public clouds (if you would like to learn more about vROps, check out this video from VMware).

Up until now, HPE had an integration pack available for vROps, however it only focused on 3PAR technology. With customers migrating and adopting Nimble Storage and Primera, enterprises are demanding additional platform intelligence from HPE Storage into vROps for manageability.

Prior to HPE acquiring Nimble in 2017, customers were able to buy and consume a 3rd party integration pack for Nimble built by Blue Medora (who themselves have just been acquired by VMware – congratulations!). The integration pack was basic, but very useful for VM-admins to have everything centralised. BUT it was an additional expense, and was maintained by a 3rd party.

The new HPE Storage vROps pack 4.0 introduces the first foray of Nimble Storage (as well as HPE Primera) integration into vROps! And, as always – it’s complimentary to Nimble customers. VMware call these integrations “management packs”.

Single management pack

The management pack for HPE storage contains all adapters and collectors for Nimble, Primera and 3PAR systems – but are installed & maintained as a single plugin.

First thing to note: you need to be on NimbleOS 5.1.x or above (at time of writing, we’re recommending NimbleOS 5.2.1.300). So if you haven’t upgraded your platform for a while, now’s the time to do so!

Once you’ve grabbed the HPE Storage Management Pack (available from the HPE website, will be hosted on Infosight soon too), you can easily integrate it into your vROps setup. Firstly, add the pack into your setup by heading to Administration->Repository. Once added, you’ll see it added under “Other Management Packs”.

Once the pack is deployed, you can then add your Nimble environment by clicking “Other Accounts->Add Account”, where you’ll see a button to add a Nimble Storage adapter.

Select your array type to integrate

This allows you to input the details of your Nimble array group (which VMware lovingly refer to as “clouds”). Give it some information and you can ‘validate connection’ the array, and then you can Add to your environment.

Note: the ‘refresh interval for datastore info’ is the polling time it takes when you add or change any datastores to your VMware environment from Nimble. By default its set to 1 day, but you can change that to as granular as you like. Polling for other things like performance is 5 minutes.

Once added, vROPs will poll the Nimble groups using REST APIs and will start to populate the platform with information. It takes roughly 5 minutes for it to achieve “OK” status, if it’s successful in populating the inventory.

vROps now polling my vCenter environment as well as my Nimble dHCI & regular Nimble setups
Both systems reporting successfully polled

So – “what next”? Well, now your Nimble systems are added you can start to view your environment, check out dashboards & alerts – and even create your own reports.

Environment:

This shows you the total view of all objects. You’ll notice we can see Nimble objects such as volumes, fans, ethernet ports and much more. However, for now we’re going to click the “HPE Nimble Group” selector on the left.

This view takes us into the environment for the Nimble platform, and allows you to drill down into the system itself and it’s individual components. If you had a multi-array group, it will show you the different systems inside the group, as another level to drop down into.

We can also build our own views by adding Metrics into a report view – such as granular total/read/write IOPS, throughput, capacity, alerts, workloads, efficiency, compliance & much more).

Dashboards:

Here, we can view various dashboards for the Nimble platform – with three automatically created and deployed for you – Monitor, Performance/Capacity & Troubleshooting. You’re also able to build your own custom dashboards should you wish – and pull different metrics for different systems (like vCenter, Nimble, servers etc) in a single dashboard.

Dashboards allow you to jump into ‘heatmaps’ for datasets/volumes by metrics, as well as pull up various metrics for analysis alongside the heatmap for troubleshooting purposes. This looks similar to the views that HPE Infosight Analytics give you.

The Troubleshooting view drives visibility into your stack for visualisation of dataset mappings, potential noisy-neighbours and metrics to help you troubleshoot potential issues. You’ll see here that i’m investigating a vCenter 7 instance, residing on a shared datastore with many other VMs – yet latency is extremely low and performance is pretty good.

Alerts:

Finally, alerts are embedded into the management pack, and we’ve built various triggers to assist you with warnings – these fit into three defined categories within vROps: health, efficiency or risk. State alerts will impact the “health” badge, performance alerts will impact “efficiency” and capacity alerts will impact “risk”.

In the first release, you’ll find alerts and triggers available for:

  • Group capacity
  • Storage system capacity
  • Pool capacity
  • Controller state
  • Disk state
  • I/O Ports (Eth and/or FC)
  • Fan state
  • Shelf state
  • Volume state
  • Volume capacity
  • Volume latency

There’s more to come in future releases for vROps intergration for Nimble – and of course for Primera. It’s an exciting new development for our customers, and is only going to get even better.

And let’s not forget that HPE Infosight provides even more visibility, granularity but also contextual recommendations for potential problems across VMware environments – something of which isn’t available in vROps today. The great thing is Infosight is free for all Nimble customers with an active support entitlement.

If you haven’t checked out some of the new recommendation enhancements you can see them here:

That’s all for this blog. If you’re a VM-admin, I hope you’re excited to test out the new integration for Nimble Storage – and expect even better things as the team start building deeper intelligence into vROps.

Cheers for now, and Stay Nimble 🙂

Nick

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