vRealize Network Insight with vRealize Operations

The much-awaited Integration    

The integration between vRealize Network Insight(vRNI) and vRealize Operations (vROPS) , had been much awaited by lot of customers, who effectively used both these tools, however had to look at two different interfaces, one for infrastructure related events and the other for network and security related events.

With vRNI 5.2 and vROPS 8.1, the first integration between the two tools was announced, which offered the following features –

  1. In context launch into vRNI from vROPS.
  2. Streaming of vRNI alerts into vROPS.
  3. Single sign on login into vROPS and vRNI using vIDM.

With vRNI 6.0 and vROPS 8.2 what got introduced is a cool feature: vRNI application awareness in vROPS. Application groups on vRNI can now natively searched and viewed from vROPS, as though it were a native vROPS object.

Lets now see these in detail.

vROPS – Configuring the vRNI adapter

Unlike in vROPS 8.1, where the vRNI Management pack had to be downloaded and configured, vROPS 8.2, now comes with an inbuilt adapter for vRNI which can be straightaway configured –

From vROPS UI – Administration – Management – Integrations – vRealize Network Insight Adapter:

Click on the 3 dots before vRealize Network Insight and provide the details of vRNI (Platform appliance) IP address, login credentials and validate the connection. We can also set (under advanced settings), if to enable what kind of events and notifications (ex : from common data sources configured in both vROPS and vRNI, user defined events from vRNI) and the level of severity of the alerts.

Once the ‘Validate Connection’ is successful, vROPS will start data collection and the same can be verified from (vROPS UI): Administration – Inventory – adapter Types – vRealize Network Insight Adapter –

Alerts

vRNI alerts can now be seen in vROPS –

In the Alerts tab, we can search with keyword vRNI for all the alerts generated and even group by object type to view alerts generated on vRNI object tier.

vRNI alerts generated on various objects (referred to as common objects) is available on vROPS. These objects could be vSphere hosts, NSX, VMs and now applications (with vRNI 6.0 and vROPS 8.2). This makes it easier to just have one interface to view all the alert notifications.

Applications : The Complete Observability

Application groups are one of the key features of vRNI. vRNI helps us to create custom application groups and analyze network traffic flow between the components of the application group. This helps in network troubleshooting and security planning for the applications.

The same applications created and discovered on vRNI can now be viewed as a native object within vROPS. This is one of the top features introduced with vRNI 6.0 and vROPS 8.2.

The key use case here is to enable end to end visibility into an application both from a Network and Security perspective using vRNI and from the Infrastructure perspective (CPU, memory, storage) using vROPS.

Let’s take an example of an application from vRNI and see how a typical troubleshooting workflow would be.

The below screenshot shows the applications view within vRNI –

Let’s say, there has been issues reported by end users on one of the apps, for ex: ‘Shopping App’.

We can search for the same vRNI application object on vROPS

Like any other native vROPS objects, as we see, it provides the complete dashboard view into the application summary, alerts, metrics and so on. We can click on the Troubleshoot button from the dashboard and this launches the troubleshooting workbench for the application –

We can view all the Events, Property Changes and anomalous metrics for the applications subcomponents. This application comprises of 2 member VMs: web-c-701 and db-c-702.

Hence, we can identify any compute or storage utilizations going above the normal thresholds, any recent changes (ex: change of physical host, as you can see in this example) specific to these VM objects.

We can even increase the scope (levels) of the troubleshooting workbench, to see events, changes and anomalies related to underlying objects like Datastores, which these VMs are part of.

Now, that we have had a complete view of the Application from an Infrastructure perspective, we can open the same application object from vROPS in vRNI, which is referred to as ‘Launch-in-context’ from vROPS into vRNI.

From the same application dashboard, on vROPS – Next to the Application name – Select Actions – Open Application in vRealize Network Insight:

This will take us to the Application page on Network Insight, where we can see the Open events (vRNI), Incoming traffic, out going traffic, Flow problems etc.

Here we can then investigate the problematic flows, other network issues, security gaps (unprotected flows) etc.

This was a small example of how we can effectively use the integration between vRNI and vROPS to perform an application centric troubleshooting, both from an infrastructure as well as Network and security perspective.

Please see a short demo of this integration posted on the VMware TAM Nano Lab YouTube Channel : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGuvJDlISgk

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