SCTOTD – Monitor your VMware ESX and vSphere Hardware for Free

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System Center Tip-of-the-Day for May 25th, 2010

We recently deployed the Quest Management Extensions (QMX) for VMware / vSphere for OpsMgr 2007, which monitors vSphere through vCenter for a customer that needed VMware monitoring, but literally had zero budget to do it. This is an experience I will blog about in more detail soon (everything didn’t come up roses, but there were definitely some bright spots). What I wanted to share today was the surprise I received when I contacted Quest about the cost to monitor the hardware…You have to monitor the host hardware and without an agent through OpsMgr 2007, we were low on ideas and out of money….

If you look in the vCenter console, you’ll notice the ability to enable SNMP traps, some of which are related to hardware. That’s because vSphere implements CIM / Smash for hardware monitoring. CIM SMASH/Server Management API features profiles compatible with the DMTF’s System Management Architecture for Server Hardware (SMASH) initiative. SMASH profiles allow CIM clients to monitor system health of a managed server.I believe CIM / Smash first shows up in ESX 3.5 update 2.Common Information Model (CIM) is an interface based on industry standards for building ESX/ESXi management applications.

Quest tells me that with SNMP traps enabled, they can pick the hardware related alerts raised through vCenter’s SDK Web Service. It won’t be as granular and vendor-specific as you’d get with Dell/IBM/HP platforms, but it would much better than nothing at all.

Learn about all your options for VMware monitoring options with OpsMgr 2007 and SCE 2007 / 2010 in this article….note I have not updated this article yet with Quest chances in the VMware space.

VMware VI3 Monitoring Options for Operations Manager 2007

A Note on Scalability

When you’re scaling any proxy-based monitoring to a large number of hosts, you do have to look at sizing of the proxy agent(s), so this is something I strongly urge you to consider carefully if you’re considering large enterprise deployments. You can scale out, but you need to talk to the Quest folks, as they do provide some pretty specific advice to help on the scale-out strategy. Just as when you scale a management group you have to scale out with mgmt servers and gateways, with proxy-based monitoring, you have to scale out with proxy nodes….this is a discussion we’ve had with several partners in the past, including Veaam, Jalasoft, BridgeWays and others…everyone has a scale-out strategy – you just need to know what that is before you go charging down the path and impact performance of your management group.

Support

The first thing I’ll mention among the bright spots I’ll mention today was support. I used the Quest management-extensions.org website, and I received very prompt, same day answers to my questions from the product architects, as does everyone else. Pretty hard to complain about that at any price. Because much of the Quest documentation for some of their extensions is availability only in the console (not a separate guide), I had to tap support a few times..

Additional Resources

For more info on VMware vSphere monitoring, see

The QMX VMware extension is now free via vCenter/vSphere

For more info on Dell/IBM/HP hardware monitoring, see

Dell Servers & Storage | IBM Director | HP Insight Manager 

I always asked Quest architect Gary Broadwater a few questions at MMS about how QMX for VMware works….listen to this audio podcast at

Audio Podcast: The inside scoop on Quest Management Extensions for VMware

Previous Installments

May 24th, 2010 – SCTOTD – OpsMgr Console Command Line Shortcuts

May 20, 2010 – SCTOTD: Tip for Troubleshooting OS Deployment with PXE and Task Sequences in SCCM 2007

May 18, 2010 – SCTOTD: SCCM 2007 Troubleshooting Tip – Know your DATA FLOW 

May 17, 2010 – SCTOTD: 10 Patch Management Principles to Live By

May 15, 2010 – SCTOTD: Tips for Deep Analysis of Community Management Packs

May 14, 2010 – SCTOTD: Leaving an Audit Trail of Update Management Activity in ConfigMgr 2007

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