Chargeback Reporting for MS Private Cloud with Operations Manager 2012

This is a largely ignored topic that is fundamental to MS private cloud operation and management I think deserves some attention.

Since the Cloud Services Process Pack is not a solution that fits the bill for all (or even most) MS private cloud deployments, the need arises for an alternate method of calculating resource consumption for business units across one or more clouds as defined in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 (VMM). As part of the ‘private cloud in the real world’ series, I am going to show you a few reports I leverage to answer the difficult questions around resource consumption and workload distribution in a private cloud deployment.

The most easily accessible reports actually come in System Center 2012 Operations Manager (OpsMgr) by way of the System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) Management Pack for OpsMgr, which contains a number of reports for tracking the logical and physical consumption of resources in your private cloud fabric (the storage, network and compute). When leveraged appropriately, a good source of showback information for the business units subscribing to resources in your private cloud infrastructure. And with native SharePoint integration and flexible delivery options, they can become an easily accessible source of information for stakeholders in your cloud environment who need information, but are less familiar with the System Center tools.

The reports available in the VMM 2012 Management Pack for OpsMgr are pictured in figure 1. In this installment, we’ll take a look at the Chargeback report.


figure 1. Available reports in the VMM 2012 Management Pack

Report Parameters

The parameter header in the Chargeback report provides a number of fields that must be completed to provide meaningful results, including:

Date Range:The date picker is straightforward…I like ‘First day of previous month’ to ‘ last day of previous month’ as a nice rolling dataset of resource usage in the cloud.

Objects: This is where you can add your virtual machines that are (or were in the past) deployed to the cloud.

Billing Units: You can assign a cost to Memory, CPU, Base Cost for VM. It’s easy to making things too complicated with this setting. I suggest that, at least in the first iteration, you pick one of these units is your billing mechanism for chargeback in order to keep the results meaningful. You can add multiple billing units as your organization progresses in their use the chargeback.


figure 2. Smart parameter header in the Chargeback report

Tip: I’d suggest creating a linked report (which will require some XML) in order to make this a dynamically populated report.

The result of a sample reporter shown below, which logically groups are infrastructure based on 1) Cloud and 2) Host Group, both of which are logical constructs defined in VMM 2012.


figure 2. Report content in the Chargeback report

Even if you don’t make this a dynamically populated report,You can say this report your favorites, making it a one click report with the occasional tweak for new infrastructure edit your cloud.

Additional Resources

Hopefully this info provides some food for thought when choosing your naming conventions for your template-based deployments in VMM 2012. Here are a few additional articles in the ‘private cloud in the real world’ series and related System Center articles you may find interesting.

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