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Oct 20

vSphere 6.5 – VCSA Appliance Monitoring and Management

With all the changes to the VCSA 6.5 already discussed:

There are still even more changes and features. I would venture to say that since the release of the VCSA, there has been a 50/50 opinion that customers want to have all visibility and control of the VCSA, and those who do not want to have to worry about the inner-workings of the appliance, it should just work and do it’s job. Up until now, the VCSA has been a black box (which is wanted), but with no visibility into the health or status of the appliance itself.

With vSphere 6.5 there we’ve added in additional monitoring/management capabilities that we will walk through here:

Appliance Management

There is an Appliance Management portal at https://<VCSA FQDN>:5480. This is actually independent of the vSphere Web Client which means if you ever have issues with the web client, those will not affect your ability to get to the Appliance Management page.

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Upon login you will see your navigation pane down the left side, with the summary page loading first.Several important options and items appear on this page:

  • Buttons to reboot and shutdown the VCSA
  • Button to quickly and easily create a vCenter Support Bundle
  • Button to create your vCenter Backups
  • Health Status widget

From here we can quickly and easily see the status and health of the appliance.

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The next page is “Access”. This is a fast and easy way to enable/disable both SSH and Bash Shell access. When enabling the Bash shell, you will have to specify a time limit that it will remain enabled. Once that time expires, your Shell access will be disabled.

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Under ‘Networking’, you’ll see two tabs: ‘Monitor’, and ‘Manage’. Under Manage, you will see your networking information that was used when you originally deployed the VCSA, the network interfaces (NIC0), and any proxy settings that were enabled.

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The ‘Monitor’ tab allows you to see a network Utilization performance chart with the ability to change the scope between day, week, month, etc. Personally, I don’t have much use for this page, but it helps give more visibility to those customers who had said they wanted more.

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‘Time’ has your Time Zone and your NTP settings (Remember… NTP IS IMPORTANT!) I’ve talked with too many people who had issues that then were root-caused as incorrect NTP settings.

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Update page allows you to check for updates and install them. Talk about easy!

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On the ‘Administration’ page, if you do not want the root password to expire, select ‘No’. The default is set to expire after 365 days. I tend to go in and change this setting as soon as my vCenter deploys (so I don’t forget!)

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‘Syslog Configuration’ is just as it states. You can quickly and easily configure the VCSA to use a Remote Syslog server.

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This is where it gets interesting. Customers have been interested in this since we started working with them in the betas. Here we have some performance charts for CPU and Memory that will give you a simple overview of the status of the appliance resources.

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Last but not least, the Database page gives users insight into the internal VCSA Postgres database. As you use your VCSA you will see the different utilization statistics for the database and know what is filling it up. This, in my opinion, is the greatest addition to appliance management. No longer do customers have to wait and wonder what is going on with the database and ensuring there is nothing wrong with it.

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Out of all of these additions and improvements, I believe the Database page will be the most utilized (next to the backup capability), and folks will want to leverage the Appliance Management page with some frequency. You can check out William Lam’s post on how to check the size of your Config and SEAT data in the VCDB.

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