Monitoring vSphere with Operations Manager and Veeam

by Scott Lowe [Published on 17 July 2012 / Last Updated on 17 July 2012]

Although many organizations have standardized on vSphere as their hypervisor of choice, many of these same organizations are still running Microsoft-centric environments and using Microsoft’s System Center tools to accomplish all or some of their configuration management and monitoring responsibilities. When you think about it, this makes sense. Although Operations Manager is a monitoring framework without much native intelligence, it’s quickly, easily and relatively easily extensible through the use of Matrix-style add on cartridges known as management packs. Microsoft provides free management packs for a good number of its critical server applications, helping make Operations Manager an indispensable tool in Microsoft-centric companies. However, although Microsoft may still reign supreme at the operating system and application layer, VMware’s vSphere hypervisor is king of the abstraction layer with a market share that dwarfs that of even its closest competitor. And, although there are many vendors out there with solutions just tailor made for monitoring vSphere alone, some organizations prefer the nirvana that is single pane of glass management. In this state, IT assets are monitored using a single common tool rather than the organization buying tools that monitor individual technology elements. It all comes down to what best meets the needs of the individual business. Fortunately, there are solutions out there for monitoring vSphere from within Operations Manager with Operations Manager simply treating the vSphere environment as another monitored service. Veeam nworks Ma

Although many organizations have standardized on vSphere as their hypervisor of choice, many of these same organizations are still running Microsoft-centric environments and using Microsoft’s System Center tools to accomplish all or some of their configuration management and monitoring responsibilities. When you think about it, this makes sense. Although Operations Manager is a monitoring framework without much native intelligence, it’s quickly, easily and relatively easily extensible through the use of Matrix-style add on cartridges known as management packs. Microsoft provides free management packs for a good number of its critical server applications, helping make Operations Manager an indispensable tool in Microsoft-centric companies.

However, although Microsoft may still reign supreme at the operating system and application layer, VMware’s vSphere hypervisor is king of the abstraction layer with a market share that dwarfs that of even its closest competitor. And, although there are many vendors out there with solutions just tailor made for monitoring vSphere alone, some organizations prefer the nirvana that is single pane of glass management. In this state, IT assets are monitored using a single common tool rather than the organization buying tools that monitor individual technology elements. It all comes down to what best meets the needs of the individual business.

Fortunately, there are solutions out there for monitoring vSphere from within Operations Manager with Operations Manager simply treating the vSphere environment as another monitored service.

Veeam nworks Management Pack for VMware for Microsoft System Center Operations Manager

Quite some time ago, Veeam acquired nworks and the company’s vSphere-focused management pack for Operations Manager. In the two screens below, you can see that the nworks manage pack brings a lot to the SCOM table. What you don’t see are hundreds of additional screenshots that might include utilization statistics and more.

The first image shows you some of the health rules that are available for your use. You can see that the management pack can monitor for quite a lot of conditions and raise alerts when something goes awry. Further, Veeam’s nworks management pack provides administrators with deep guidance as to potential causes of resource issues.

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The image below is more of an overview of the health of a single host. You can see that this host is suffering from a number of problems as evidenced by the yellow triangles and red circles on the diagram. The nice part about the diagram is that you’re led to the exact place at which SCOM identified the issue.
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Veeam’s nworks management pack is actually deployed as a suite. The management pack itself installs directly into SCOM, just like any other management pack. You also need to deploy the nworks Enterprise Manager/Web UI server and an nworks Collector server. All of the necessary components are included as a part of the product installation. These separate components helps the nworks solution scale to meet large enterprise needs.

Although management packs can often be used right out of the box, SCOM makes it possible to use overrides to customize the management pack to suit your needs. In a future post, I’ll explain how to customize the management pack.

This is just one option you have at your disposal if you plan to monitor vSphere from within Operations Manager. Quest also makes available their QMX tool, which I will cover in a future post.

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