Wrangling Your Resources on the Range

Capacity management and planning for Hyper-V environments

Virtualization management can sometimes feel like herding cattle on the wide open prairie. Getting the most out of your Hyper-V and other virtualized environments requires keeping a watchful eye on your resources at all times to keep the herd in check: Excess capacity in a given virtual machine (VM) translates to wasted IT expenditure, while not enough capacity results in a poor user experience. You’ve got to be vigilant about capacity management — allocated vs. utilized resources. And when something goes rogue, you need to be prepared to quickly troubleshoot the issue to prevent performance dips that can impact your business.

So how do you keep your apps available and performing sweetly without wasting resources? You need broad visibility into your entire virtualized environment — including how VMs are competing for CPU, memory and storage resources.

One way to be sure you are efficiently managing your Hyper-V environment is to get help from a performance monitoring solution such as Foglight for Virtualization. Intuitive dashboards represent the current and historical status of the virtual environment, and alarms notify you when conditions change and thresholds are violated. These alarms are particularly important if you work out on the range … er, in a larger environment and are responsible for thousands of virtual machines. In these situations, constantly checking every object is obviously not possible. Luckily, Foglight for Virtualization includes a wide range of alarm rules that you can easily customize to meet your needs.

Many organizations manage their virtual environments by exception — they watch for problems to arise or wait for alerts and then respond. Foglight for Virtualization enhances this widely used approach by providing a high-level view of your Hyper-V environment, highlighting emerging and critical issues in a comprehensive dashboard, and sending alarms according to the baseline criteria you set. So investigation starts when an object is flagged by an alarm as unhealthy (Warning, Critical or Fatal Errors). You can customize Foglight to your environment by building baselines that define normal activity during different time periods — and then modify those baselines as your enterprise grows and changes.

Alarm nitty-gritty

Foglight for Virtualization, Enterprise Edition, provides intuitive drilldowns so you can quickly identify the Hyper-V objects in distress and sort them based on alarm severity. Alarms are generated using the following two methods:

  • Rules. Many rules in the Hyper-v cartridge are written by domain experts based on industry best practices. These rules contain thresholds, and when the thresholds are violated, an alarm will fire to notify the administrator of the situation.
  • Intelliprofile. The second method is built around analytics. There are analytical algorithms built into Foglight to baseline the normal behavior of a metric versus abnormal conditions. Foglight for Virtualization, Enterprise Edition, can sense alarms when abnormal conditions occur to direct the virtual administrator’s attention toward changes in the environment.

Issues become visible as they are emerging, rather than only when an issue becomes a full-fledged crisis. For example, you might see that although memory usage is within the baseline, it’s nearing the limit, and then take steps to address the problem, preventing an alarm from ever being triggered.

Figure 1. Foglight for Virtualization creates baselines in Intelliprofile after it has had 30 days to “learn” the system’s typical CPU, memory, disk and other utilization details. Alarms are triggered when an object breaches its baseline threshold. Then Foglight offers suggestions for how to troubleshoot the issue.

When an alarm is triggered, Foglight for Virtualization offers expert guidance to resolve the issue quickly.  Foglight continues to help monitor and manage performance by comparing current and historical data to help you get the most out of your investment as your virtualized environment evolves.

Each alarm is like a cowboy whistle from across the range that lets you know something’s gone wrong with the herd. And once the problem is wrangled with the help of Foglight, all your little dogies can just git along.

Want to delve more deeply into optimizing your Hyper-V environments? Check out our technical brief, which delves into the top four challenges of virtualization management and explains how Foglight for Virtualization can help you meet them head on.