Sizing and Installing The VMware vRealize Operations (vROps) Appliance

VMware has a sizing guide that will aid you in determining how many appliances you need to deploy.  If you have multiple data centers, and somewhere north of 200 hosts, and more than 5,000 VMs, I’d recommend at least starting out with two servers configured as Large deployments.  Once you get the built in vSphere adapter collecting for each environment, you can run an audit on the environment using vROps to get the raw numbers, and expand the cluster accordingly.  Come prepared.  Walk through your environments and get a list of how many hosts, data stores, vCenters, and get a rough count of the virtual machines deployed.

KB2093783 has more details on the sizing, and I strongly urge you to visit the KB, as there are links to the latest releases of vROps, and each KB has a sizing guide attachment at the bottom, where you can input the information you collected from your environment to get a more accurate size.

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Appliance Manual Installation

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Architectural Note

  • Before proceeding be sure you have:
    • The appropriate host resources
    • The appropriate storage
    • IP addresses assigned and entered into DNS
    • a “read-only” account configured in AD and vCenter
    • The appropriate ports opened between data centers listed in VMWare’s documentation

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Once you have the latest edition of the vROps appliance ovf downloaded, and after consulting the documentation, use either the vSphere client or web, and deploy the OVF template.  I’ll skip through browsing for, verifying the details of, accepting the licence agreement for, and naming the appliance.

So now you’ve come to the OVF deployment step where you must select the size of your appliance.  No matter the size, the remainder of the deployment is the same, but for this example I will deploy an appliance as Large.

You can deploy the appliance in several sizing configurations depending on the size of your environment and those are: Extra Small, Small, Medium and Large.

  • Extra Small = 2 vCPUs and 8GBs of memory
  • Small = 4 vCPUs and 16GBs of memory
  • Large= 16 vCPUs and 48GBs of memory

You can also choose to deploy a remote collector and they come in two sizes:

  • Standard = 2 vCPUs and 4GBs of memory
  • Large = 4 vCPUs and 16GBs of memory

vrops1

You will notice that with each selection, VMware has given a definition of what it entails. Choose the one that best suits your needs. Click next

Storage dialog

  • Depending on the size of your environment, vrops VMs can get to over a terabyte in size each
  • Once you’ve made your selection click next
  • Architectural Note – If adding a master replica node to your vROps cluster, I’d recommend keeping the Master and Master Replicas on separate XIVs, or whatever you use to serve up storage to your environment.

Disk Format dialog

  • The default is Lazy Zeroed, and that’s how my environments have been deployed.  I’d strongly advise not using thin provision for this appliance.
  • Once you’ve made your selection click next.

Network Mapping dialog

  • Select the appropriate destination network like a management network, where it can capture traffic from your hosts, VMs, vCenters and datastores.
  • Once you’ve made your selection click next.

Properties dialog

  • Here you can set the Timezone for the appliance, and choose whether to use IPv6
  • Once you’ve filled out the network information, click next

Configuration Verification dialog

  • Read it carefully to be sure there were no fat fingers at play.  Click finish when ready.

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Before you proceed in turning on the appliance, you may want to take the opportunity now and expand its disk.  This can be done a couple of ways.  You can expand the existing Hard Disk 2, however keep in mind that the current file system can only see disks under 2TB.  Any disk space allocated over 2TB the appliance wont be able to see.  For my production environment, I increased disk 2 to 1TB in size, and then added 500GB disks as more storage was needed.  Also keep in mind the amount of data you are going to be retaining.  My appliances are configured for 6 months, but this can be changed as needs change.  We’ll go over this later in another post. The cool thing about this appliance is that as you increase the size of disk 2, or add additional storage, the appliance during the power-on process, expands the data partition automatically.

Power up the appliance, open a console to it in vCenter to watch it boot up, and go through some scripted configurations.

vrops4

  • To get logged in, press ALT + F1 keys.  Enter root for the user, leave the password blank and hit enter.  Now you will be prompted to input the current password, so leave it blank and hit enter.  Now enter a new password, hit enter and enter the new password once more for verification.
  • Now depending on how locked down your environment is, you may not be able to but I always ping out to 8.8.8.8 along with hitting a few internal servers to verify network settings.
  • Also unless you really enjoy VMware’s console, I’d recommend running a couple commands to turn on SSH, so any future administrative tasks can be performed with a putty session.
    • The first command is:  # chkconfig sshd on
      • This enables the sshd service at system boot
    • The second command is: # service sshd start
      • This turns on the sshd service so you can connect to the box with a putty session.

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Using Microsoft Edge, Firefox or Chrome, browse to < https ://vrops-appliance-name/ >.  This will redirect you to the Getting started page where you can choose Three options:

Express Installation, where you can set the admin password and that’s pretty much it.

vrops8

New Installation gives you a few more options to configure, like which NTP server(s) you want to use, and a TLS/SSL certificate you’ve created specifically for this system (or just use the built-in one).

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Expand An Existing Installation – this option would be used for additional data nodes or remote collectors as you’ll have the option to pick under “node type”.

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For this installation we will select New Installation.  As a rule of thumb and for better appliance performance, I’d use the NTP servers on your network that vCenter and the ESXi hosts are using to keep time in check. Once you’ve made it though the wizard click finish.

vrops9

It shouldn’t take too long for the master appliance to setup and take you to a log in screen.

You’re not done yet however. You still have to configure your cluster if you have additional data nodes, and remote collectors to add.  If you have a master replica, data nodes, or remote collector, get them connected to the master.  Each will have their own web UI  < https ://vrops-appliance-name/ >, only this time you can use the Expand An Existing Installation Option. You will also need to log into the admin section for some of this <https ://vrops-appliance-name/admin/login.action>

Lets get the master replica added first.  When you use the expand an existing cluster option, you’ll need to add it as a data node.  Then wait for the cluster to expand to it.

vrops18

Then click the finish adding new nodes button.

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To enable HA, you’ll notice in the center of the screen there is a High Availability option, but it is disabled.  Go ahead an click enable

vrops20

Now select the data node that will be the master replica, make sure enable high availability is checked, and click OK.  This part will take a little while, and the cluster services will be restarted.  After word the High Availability status will be enabled.

vrops21

Add any remaining data nodes and remote collectors using the Expand An Existing Installation Option.

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Architectural Note

  • I’d recommend going into vCenter and adding an anti-affinity rule to keep the master and master replica on separate hosts
  • If you’ve deployed vROps to its own host cluster, I’d recommend turning down vSphere DRS to conservative.  The appliances are usually pretty busy in an active environment, and having one vmotion on you can cause cluster performance degradation, and will throw some interesting alarms within vROps.  It will recover on its own, but better to avoid when possible.

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Next up – You”ll need to configure the built in vSphere adapter so you can start collecting data.  I’ll have more on that in my next post.

Next Post: Configuring VMware vRealize Operations Manager Adapters For Data Collection

Recent Post: What Is VMware’s vRealize Operations Manager?

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