Building a VDI Custom Dashboard and Generic Scoreboard: Step-by-Step!

A few days back I added a new section to my blog which would bring new bloggers on-board as guest bloggers on vXpress. Today I am proud and happy to share the first post by a Guest Blogger on one of my favorite topic – “No prize for guessing: vCenter Operations Manager” .

This marathon post is by Anand Vaneswaranwho works as a Senior Technology Consultant with the End User Computing group at VMware.  He is an expert in VMware View, ThinApp, vCenter Operations Manager, and vCenter Operations Manager for View. So without further a-do let’s see what Anand has to share with this blog post around his experience with the problems he is trying to solve using vCOps for View Dashboards.

This one-click high-level dashboard gathers the most important metrics in a typical VDI environment.  In the event of a production outage, this type of dashboard can be of monumental value.  I encourage you to replicate this dashboard using my example, or simply follow my lead in its setup but leverage the most important metrics, and therefore dashboards, that will be of use to you in your environment.

First, I’m going to structure my dashboard in the following manner (of course, you can structure yours any which way you like).
You can set up the widgets in the manner you want.  To display the number of tunneled sessions through the Security Servers, I’m going to set “Fixed Size” in Layout mode, “Box Height” to 75px, “Label Size” to 12, “Box Columns” to 3, and “Value Size” to 12.  I will name the widget “Security Server Connections,” turn the Self Provider to “On,” and Refresh Widget content to “On.” I will then search for my Security Servers by name in the “Search” field under “List.” However, you could very well sort by Resource Kit as opposed to “Resource” in Selector Mode and navigate to the View Security Servers under resource kind to find your Security Servers.
Once the widget is set up, it will look like this:
Moving on, I’m going to edit the “Health Status” widget right underneath it.  There is little customization needed in this widget, as indicated below, as this is going to be a Receiving Widget with the widget we just created above providing the data. 

Now, I’m going to set up the Interaction as follows:



Once the widget is set up, the resultant widget will look like this:


Moving on to display the Workload % of my Connection Servers on the top right of my dashboard, I will set up my widget in the following manner:



Once the widget is set up, the widget will look like this:


As well, I’m going to edit the “Health Status” widget right underneath it.  There is little customization needed in this widget, as indicated below, because this is going to be a Receiving Widget with the widget we just created above providing the data. 


After that, I’m going to set up the Interaction as follows:



Once the widget is set up, the widget will look like this:

My VDI environment has been segregated into two different vCenters: vCenter 9000 hosts the full-clone workload clusters while vCenter 9003 hosts the linked-clone workload clusters.  But I’m going to need to find a way to group these hosts into their appropriate vCenter (in vCOPS) so I can achieve this granularity when displaying data in my widgets.  

So this is where the built-in vCOPS feature of Resource Tags comes in handy.  To get there, I’m going to navigate to Environment > Environment Overview, and click the  ‘spanner’ icon to manage tags.  Then, I’ll add a tag called “vCenter Hosts” and add Tag Values called “9000” and “9003”.

Once I’ve set up my tags, I will drag my ESXi hosts into the appropriate tags so that my final output looks like this:




After this step, I’m ready to edit my Heat Map widgets.  First I will edit the Heat Map to the bottom left of the dashboard and set up the following Heat Map configurations:


Overall Workload





Consumed CPU



Consumed Memory


Now I’m going to replicate the same configurations on the heat map widget to the bottom right for my 9003 hosts.

Overall Workload



Consumed CPU


Consumed Memory



Now we move onto the bottom middle widget which I want to set up to monitor the performance and capacity of my datastore LUN’s.  First, I am going to perform a similar grouping of VDI LUN’s as either belonging to either 9000 or 9003 vCenter.  I’m also going to create another tag value for replica datastores so I have an easy way of filtering them out.  I will then drag my LUN’s to the appropriate tags.

Next, I’m ready to edit my Heat Map widget.  I am going to set up the Heat Map configurations as follows:

Storage Available






Performance

Density Non Repla


Density Repla




Finally, for the Heap Map widget that is situated on the top-middle of my dashboard, I am going to monitor resources on critical VDI servers.  Once again I’m going to set up my tag-and-drag objects into the dashboard as appropriate.

Next, I’m going to set up the following configurations on the Heat Map:

Server CPU



Server Memory

Server Disk




After completing all of those steps, we are done. And now we can reap the fruits of our labor with this final output which looks like this:



In summary, I’d like to share few things to keep in mind:
  • If you want a quick graphical representation of the overall high-level state of your environment in a troubleshooting circumstance, or merely show your manager with a quick at-a-glance view, the Generic Scoreboard, Health Status, and Heat Map widgets are your best friends.
  • Resource Tags are extremely helpful when you need to find a way to granularly segregate your objects, especially when you filter in the Heat Maps.
  • My last word of advice, and it may be obvious, but if you feel apprehensive about this task, I’ll tell you what I tell customers: vCOps is nothing but a bunch of customizable dashboards with a bunch of customizable widgets.  The widgets contain a bunch a customizable data that you can resize and chop any which way you like.  BOOM! There you have it.
In my next series, I will write about creating a custom dashboard that delves into details on current capacity for each of the High-Level configurations we have captured in this dashboard.

Before the post concludes – A special thanks to Anand. Please leave your comments and feedback for him if you like his post and appreciate the hard work behind writing this. Motivation is what keeps the community going 🙂

Share & Spread the Knowledge! 

Published by Sunny Dua

Sunny Dua works as a Senior Product Line Manager for VMware’s Cloud Management business. His charter is to deliver Multi-Cloud solutions to reduce cloud complexity by leveraging data analytics and artificial intelligence. His 16+ years of experience include technical and strategic roles for Hewlett Packard, Capgemini, and VMware. He is a hands-on Product Manager with deep knowledge of Cloud and Enterprise technologies. His current charter includes driving product strategy and roadmap for VMware’s vRealize portfolio within the VMware’s Multi-Cloud strategy.

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