vCenter Chargeback Manager Quick bites

The vCenter Chargeback Manager is used to provided Chargeback and Showback reporting of vCenter and vCloud Director workloads. The current version is 2.5.0 and can be installed on W2K3 R2 and W2K8 32 R2 (32bit and 64 bit versions) and requires SQL or Oracle as their backened database. Since the front end is web based, it requires IE/Mozilla and Adobe Flash Player.

Data Collectors:

– Chargeback data collector connects to vCenter Server to gather metrics for Virtual Machine usage

– vCloud Data collector connects to vCloud director database and monitors all the vCD chargeback-related events. It creates hierarchy based on Organization

– vShield Manager data collector gathers information about vCloud Networks, Services like NAT, Firewall, VPN etc…

– Additional Data collectors can be installed for increased availability, they act in an active/passive manner

Kendrick Coleman has written an excellent step by step blogpost here to install vCenter Chargeback

Reporting:

– Reports can be run/scheduled and emailed from the Chargeback UI and can be exported in PDF, XLS and RTF formats

– Chargeback APIs allow ability to export reports in XML format so that it can integrated into custom billing solutions

– Chargeback manager can generate Cost, usage and comparison reports for hierarchies and entities

Multisite deployment and Clustering:

– vCenters from multiple sites can be added to vCenter Chargeback Manager

– Maximum of 10 vCenters are allowed

– Only one instance of vCenter Chargeback can be registered as a plug-in for a single vCenter Server

– Chargeback Manager can be deployed as a cluster to serve load balancing and High Availability. Although all the Chargeback instances communicate with a single shared database

– Chargeback uses internal load balancer to distribute the load across chargeback instances via Round Robin

– Multicasting must be enabled on the machines running each Chargeback instance

Security and Permissions:

– Charge manager has pre-defined roles with Super User having absolute power,

– Administrator has access to only users/resources and resources created by users that he created

Configuration required within Chargeback Manager:

– Every organization in the vCloud Director is created as a hierarchy via API. The hierarchy includes all Org vDCs, media and template files, vApps, VMs and networks

– Can create custom hierarchies or sync with vCenter Server

– Setup Cost models, base rates, billing policies and other fixed or operational costs

– Setup cost template and rate factors

You can also view excellent webcasts presented by Lawrence Koh on vBrownbag sessions here.

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Quick Takeaways while installing NetApp FAS Series SRA 2.0.1 with SRM 5.0.1

I am currently deploying an SRM Solution with the following config and there were so many errors to watch out for:

Protected Site:

vCenter 5.0.0 build 455964

SRM: 5.0.1 build 633117

NetApp FAS Controller: FAS3270 (Active Active Controllers)

NetApp FAS/V Series SRA: 2.0.1

Recovery Site:

vCenter 5.0.0 build 455964

SRM: 5.0.1 build 633117

NetApp FAS Controller: FAS3240 (Active Active Controllers)

NetApp FAS/V Series SRA: 2.0.1

So first and foremost thing, do not install SRA 2.0.1, the moment you try and pair the Array managers, you will get this below error:

“Internal error: std::exception ‘class Dr::Xml::XmlValidateException’ “Element ‘SourceDevices’ is not valid for content model: ‘(SourceDevice,)'”

This is because of a bug confirmed by NetApp, Bug ID: 642115

http://support.netapp.com/NOW/cgi-bin/bol?Type=Detail&Display=642115 (will require a NOW login)

So, the workaround is to either include the volumes manually that you want your Array manager to detect or simply fall back to NetApp SRA 2.0.0 (which was the quickest option for me looking at the amount of volumes we had on both the controllers)

Now then, I was  unable to add 2nd active controller (Error: SRA command ‘discoverArrays’ failed.), although IP was pingable, was able to ssh into the filers etc…so how did I resolve it? by running these simple commands on all the controllers:

options httpd.admin.enable on

options httpd.enable on

options httpd.admin.ssl.enable off

A quick reminder on NetApp Volume design:

You need to ensure that your VMDK’s or RDM’s does not span across controllers (either at Prod site or at the recovery site), this is not a supported configuration by NetApp

I shall keep updating this post as I move forward with my configuration 🙂

Disable Alarm Actions

Never knew you could disable Alarm Actions on a particular object in a datacenter, until tried it myself 🙂

Basically,  you can create folders in respective inventories such as Network, Storage, Virtual Machines etc, move the objects to the respective folders and disable the Alarm Action on that folder.

For ex. If you want to disable the Alarm Actions on a particular Datastore, just create a Folder in the Datastore inventory view, move the datastore into the Folder> Right Click the Folder> Alarms> Disable Alarm Actions. This will only disable the datastores alarms actions which are being propogated from the root folder.

Appreciate any comments/feedback.