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Configuring the time frame that vROps uses when calculating capacity and time remaining values

The challenge: Configure vROps so that it will perform capacity based calculations in a way that is less susceptible to historical events.

By default, vROps will use all available data when calculating the amount of capacity and time remaining for an object. In certain situations and scenarios it may be preferable to only use a certain time frame when calculating these values. Examples of such situations could be:

  • Upgrading the hardware in a cluster which increases the available capacity
  • Large scale provisioning or disposal of virtual machines that cause a significant impact on the amount of used capacity

The capacity and time remaining figures are inextricably linked. Each time capacity is calculated vROps will first work out the capacity remaining and from that the time remaining figures. When calculating these values vROps will use all available data and then try to smooth a curve across the full extent of the data range.

Take the following two images of utilisation of CPU. The two charts both represent real world data. In the first the full data range is shown, which shows a number of events that occurred within this cluster; hardware upgrade and a large scale decommissioning of test VMs. The second is the same cluster but the image has been cropped such that only 90 days worth of data is shown.

Full data rangeFull-range-metric
90 day data rangeMetric-90day-Window

The diagrams show quite clearly how it is easier to work out the underlying trend line of the data in the second image compared to the data in the first image.

It should also be noted that the underlying algorithms used are particularly susceptible to inaccuracy when the allocation model of capacity management is used, and the issues seen here do not necessarily apply when using either the demand based model or when the demand and allocation models are used in combination.

vROps also has a policy element called ‘Time Range’ which is set by default to 30 days and as per the description within the policy this time range is only used for non trend analytics and has no bearing on the analytical side of vROps which both capacity and time remaining fall into.Screen Shot 2017-07-24 at 20.00.17

As mentioned earlier, vROps will use all available data when calculating capacity and time remaining but there are a couple of additional gotchas that should be considered:

  1. The data retained may or may not be as per that configured under ‘Time Series Data’ on the ‘Global Settings’ page. vROps will purge data beyond the value configured here but it will not be instantaneous as the removal of data is a relatively expensive operation and so the amount of data retained may be a few days or weeks beyond this value
  2. vROps also rolls up data into coarser grained values but still uses these values when calculating capacity.
  3. When changing the time frame value this will affect time remaining, trend views and projects.

 

To alter the behaviour of vROps so that it uses a specific time frame for capacity calculation a number of steps need to be performed; firstly to alter the time frame and secondly to alter how the rolled up data is used.

DATA TIME FRAME TO USE

Care should be taken when altering files on a vROps node. The file should be backed up prior to making changes.

SSH into every vROps node as the root user

Modify the following file: $ALIVE_BASE/user/conf/analytics/capacity.properties

Change:

historicDataRangeForTrend=-1

To:

historicDataRangeForTrend=90

The number shown here is for 90 days, enter the appropriate number of days that you wish to use

Save the file and exit the editor

Restart all vROps services by issuing the following command as root:

service vmware-vcops restart
Once vROps analytics has finished starting up, trend views and projects would be immediately effected. The time remaining values will only be affected after the next capacity calculation.

ROLLED UP DATA

Depending on the version of vROps that is being used determines how to alter this behaviour. In vROps 6.6 the configuration is now directly exposed in the UI, but in prior versions a configuration change needs to be made on each vROps node

6.6 Modification Change

Alter the global setting ‘Additional Time Series’ from its default of 36 months to 0 months.

Prior to 6.6 Modification Change

Care should be taken when altering files on a vROps node. The file should be backed up prior to making changes.

SSH into every vROps node as the root user

Modify the following file: $ALIVE_BASE/user/conf/fsdb/rollup.properties

Change:

rollupReadEnabled=true

To:

rollupReadEnabled=false

Save the file and exit the editor

Restart all vROps services by issuing the following command as root:

service vmware-vcops restart
I’d like to credit my colleague James Ang who spent many hours working with me on this and providing a lot of very helpful information and insight into the inner workings of vROps capacity analysis engine.

Parsing of XML with vRealize Orchestrator

Parsing of XML is fairly straightforward with vRO, however there is one major gotcha you should be aware of; namespaces.

Depending on the XML content that vRO is trying to parse it may not return any values if certain namespaces are used. One way around this is to do a string.replace on the xml prior to parsing it.

An example of how to parse XML is shown below:

The code below is based on the following XML

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<CreateITDCIResponse xmlns="http://www.ibm.com/maximo" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" creationDateTime="2016-06-22T13:07:11+00:00" transLanguage="EN" baseLanguage="EN" messageID="1466600831635951728" maximoVersion="7 1 20110105-1024 V7118-37"><ITDCISet>
<CI>
<CHANGEBY>Someuser</CHANGEBY>
<CHANGEDATE>2016-06-22T13:07:11+00:00</CHANGEDATE>
<CIID>123456</CIID>
<CINAME>CINAMETEST</CINAME>
<CINUM>CITEST</CINUM>
<ITDCIMANAGEDBY>TBD</ITDCIMANAGEDBY>
<ITDCIOPERATINGENV>TBD</ITDCIOPERATINGENV>
<ITDSERVCONTPLAN>0</ITDSERVCONTPLAN>
<STATUS>VERIFY</STATUS>
<STATUSDATE>2016-06-22T13:07:11+00:00</STATUSDATE>
</CI>
</ITDCISet>
</CreateITDCIResponse>

And this is the vRO code used to extract a specific field, in this case the CIID

// Strip out the namespace definition as vRO doesn't handle the definitions very well

var modifiedXMLString = xmlString.replace('xmlns="http://www.ibm.com/maximo" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"',"");


var parsedXML = new XML(modifiedXMLString)

// Check to see whether we have any content

if (!parsedXML) {
 var errorCode = "Invalid XML Document";
 throw "Invalid XML document";
}

// Validate that only 1 CI has been returned

if (parsedXML.ITDCISet.CI.length() != 1) {
 var errorCode = "Invalid number of CIs returned";
 throw "Invalid number of CIs returned";
}

else {
 for each (CI in parsedXML.ITDCISet.CI) {
 System.log("The CI number is: " + CI.CIID);
 }
 }

Manipulating virtual machine advanced parameters with vRO

I’ve recently had to manipulate virtual machine advanced parameters via vRO workflows due to a need to manipulate the multi-writer flag of virtual machine disks. I’ve written vRO actions to perform the following:

  1. Add new advanced parameter
  2. Amend an existing advanced parameter
  3. Read the value of an existing advanced parameter
  4. Read the values of all existing advanced parameters

addAdvancedSettingtoVM

This action can be used both to add a new advanced parameter and also amend an existing advanced parameter.

var changedValue = new Array()
changedValue[0] = new VcOptionValue();
changedValue[0].key = optionKey;
changedValue[0].value = optionValue;
var ConfigSpec = new VcVirtualMachineConfigSpec();
ConfigSpec.extraConfig = changedValue;
vmTask = vm.reconfigVM_Task(ConfigSpec);
return vmTask;

Inputs:

optionKey – type string

optionValue – type string

vm – type VC:VirtualMachine

Return Type:

VC:Task

getAdvancedSettingsfromVM

This action will return all of the advanced parameters of a virtual machine as an array.

var advancedProperties = new Array()
var extraConfig = vm.config.extraConfig
for each (var i in extraConfig) {
advancedProperties.push(i);
}
return advancedProperties;

Inputs:

vm – type VC:VirtualMachine

Return Type:

Array/string