Dell (VKernel) vOPS Server Explorer 6.3 Released

vOPS 6.3 Environment Explorer
vOPS 6.3 Environment Explorer

Yesterday fellow vExpert Mattias Sundling gave me a little pre-release briefing of the new Dell/VKernel vOPS Server Explorer 6.3 release.

While I don´t normally do press release posts like these, I´m willing to make an exception in this case.

Not only is vOPS Server Explorer 6.3 available in a free version, with the familiar tools from previous versions, the new release also comes armed with a couple of new interesting tools in the suite:

  • Storage Explorer 
    • Extensive storage performance and capacity views across datastores and VMs
    • Identifies critical datastore issues such as overcommitment, low capacity, high latency, VMFS version mismatch
    • Identifies critical VM issues such as low available disk space, high latency and throughput
    • Allows user to sort on any metric to find specific issues relevant to them

  • Change Explorerchange-explorer
    • Lists all changes that occurred to datacenters, clusters, resource pools, hosts, datastores and VMs within the last seven days with associated risk impact
    • Allows user to filter on object name, user and type to find specific changes
    • Number of changes also represented graphically over time to be able to see when they are occurring

Both of these are new tools in v6.3 of the vOPS Suite, and incredible value for a free product.

The familiar tools from previous versions are still available too:

  • Environment Explorer
    • Identify critical VM configuration errors such as memory limits and old snapshots
    • Recognize performance bottlenecks
    • Detect inefficiency/waste created by VMs with resource over-allocation
    • Find available capacity expressed as the number of additional VMs that can be deployed

  • vScope Explorer
    • Visualize performance issues in VMs and hosts across the environment
    • Assess environment-wide host capacity
    • Spot inefficient datastores and VMs
    • See all VMs, hosts and datastores across many vCenters and data centers on one screen

  • SearchMyVM Explorer
    • Search for VMs, hosts, clusters and resource pools in an environment
    • Create and save advanced searches
    • Export search results in XML, CSV and PDF format


In addition to the new tools, vOPS™ can connect to and monitor Hyper-V (Requires System Center) and RedHat hypervisors from a single appliance deployed once in your infrastructure.

The vOPS minimum requirements are also not that bad compared with other monitoring solutions on the market:

  • 2 vCPUs
  • 4 GB of memory
  • 64 GB of storage space
  • VMware ESX 3.0 or vCenter 2.5 or higher
  • Microsoft SCOM 2007 R2 or higher + SCVMM 2008 R2 or higher
  • Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager 3.0 or higher

Watch the videos above, and if this is something you find interesting, head on over to the vOPS™ Server Explorer site and download your free copy now!

Installing and configuring VMware vCenter Operations

VMware vCenter Operations was released to the general public a week or so ago and is available for download right now. As usual you can download a 60 day trial, and get started immediately.

Like other recent management utilities from VMware, vCenter Operations comes in the form of a .OVF template (like vCMA/vMA).

Installing VMware vCenter Operations

Download VMware vCenter Operations and import by starting vCenter Client, navigate to the “File” menu and select “Deploy OVF template…

Browse to the download location, and find the “VMware-vcops-” file. Select it and click open.

Click on “Next” and review the details.

Hit “Next” once more, and click on “Accept” to accept the VMware EULA and enable the “Next” button.

Specify the name and location of the VMware vCenter Operations VM, and click “Next” to continue.

Now we get to select which host or cluster the VM should be deployed to. Make your choices, and click on “Next

Select your preferred resource pool, if you have any, and once again click “Next

Now select your preferred datastore, and guess what? We get to click “Next” one more time!

Decide if you want a thin or thick provisioned VM, the default is thick but I went with thin provisioned in this particular setup.

The last configuration item, for now, is to map the networks. Select your network mappings and click on “Next”.

Review the final setup screen, and once you are satisfied that your settings are correct, click on “Finish” to start the OVF template import.

The import starts, and after a few minutes it should be ready to go!


Time to start it up!

Configuring VMware vCenter Operations

After the vCenter Operations VM has finished booting, it displays a little information screen showing the IP address and other tidbits of information. The most important piece of information right now is the DHCP assigned IP address. Make a note of that IP for later.

To make sure we don’t run into problems with time synchronization we need to make sure that the vCenter Operations VM time is synchronized with the ESX host time. To do so, right click on the VMware vCenter Operations VM inside of the vCenter Client, select “Edit Settings”.

Select the “Options” tab, and find the VMware Tools section.

Find the “Synchronize guest time with host” option, and select it.

Open the vCenter Operations web page in a browser, and log in. The default username/password for vCenter Operations is admin/admin

Log in, and follow the directions on screen to change the default username/password.

The new password must be at least 8 characters, and at least one digit and one character.
Note: This also changes the root account password for the vCenter Operations VM.

Next up is configuring the vCenter Operations connection to the vCenter.

Fill out the vCenter Server information form, with information pertinent to your infrastructure.
Note that the registration credentials needs to have administrator privileges on the vCenter Server. You can use the same credentials for both registration and collection, or you can differentiate them if required in your environment.

Click on “Save“, and a test is performed to make sure that the information provided is correct.

If registration is successful, a new popup appears explaining that you need to use the vSphere Client to assign the vCenter Operations licenses.

Click on “Ok” and the vCenter Operations setup dashboard appears in your browser.

Go back to your vCenter Client and navigate to the “Home” screen.

You should now see the new “vCenter Operations” icon under “Solutions and Applications”. If it does not appear immediately, close the vCenter Client and restart it to have it pick up the installation.
To install the vCenter Operations license, go to “Home” and find the “Licensing” icon.

Click on it, and change the “View by:” option to “Asset
Right click on “vCenter Operations” and select “Change License Key

Select “Assign new license key to this solution”, click on “Enter Key…” and enter your license key and optionally a label for the key. Click on “OK” to return to the “Assign License” window, and click on “OK” again to install the license.

Your license should now be installed and active.

Go back to the vCenter Client “Home” screen and find the vCenter Operations icon under “Solutions and Applications”. Click on it, and vCenter Operations should already be active monitoring your infrastructure.

Thats it! You now have VMware vCenter Operations running in your environment. For details on how it works and reports your operations refer to the VMware vCenter Operations official documentation. Eric Sloof has also posted a couple of great videos in his VMware vCenter Operations – Troubleshooting Workflow post that gives an in-depth overview of what VMware vCenter Operations is capable of doing.