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First Impression of VMware Skyline and Deployment

If you are running a business critical workload in a VMware Virtualized datacenter proactive analytics, fast and environment specific remediation and recommendations are one of the key factors come in the first place. VMware is trying to achieve these measures with the innovative support technology and trying to deliver the maximum visibility of the datacenters to their customers.

Recently, VMware released VMware Skyline as one of the best proactive measures to address the above requirements and deliver the break-fixes to these issues before they actually appear in the customer datacenters.

Key benefits of VMware Skyline:

  • Proactively identify and prevent problems
  • Solve problems, not just symptoms
  • Improve reliability and scalability
  • Shift IT focus from problem solving to business improvement
  • Reduce the problem solving time

This VMware Skyline solution includes components in customer site and the VMware cloud.

Customer Site : VMware Skyline virtual appliance collector collects details such as configuration, features and performance data. Appliance must be registered with the VMware account and limited customer interaction required.

VMware Site: VMware cloud platform receives the data from the collector and performs the analysis such as determine alignments with the VMware best practices. VMware compare the licences and determine whether there are any known issues and bugs in the system and provide the proactive measures before it appear in the customer’s infrastructure.

VMware Technical Support Engineers (TSEs): VMware engineers use these collected data to provide proactive support to the customers along with the best practises.

Note: VMware Skyline still doesn’t have a dashboard to see the environment recommendations to the customers yet, VMware TSEs will generate a report and come up with the best practices and recommendations to the customers. That was our first question at the VMware Skyline Presentation. May be that will change in the future.  (No longer valid)

VMware Skyline Deployment

Recently, Deployment steps slightly changed and VMware Cloud Services token needs to be obtained. Read my latest article about Collector Deployment changes and VMware Cloud Services integration.

VMware Skyline Collector deployment is not a big deal and it’s a simple appliance deployment in your in house VMware vCenter and ESXi environment.

Download the VMware Skyline appliance from My VMware download page. Click the Download button to download the appliance.

Download

Once downloaded the OVF appliance deploy it as a generic appliance deployment. I’m not showing all the steps of the appliance deployment in this post, only the important steps are there.

Accept the Licence agreement and click Next

Provide the root password and the IP address configuration

Review the summary and complete the deployment

Open the browser and login to the appliance using http://<IP_ADDRESS>/login to login to the Skyline collector and continue the configuration

Click on wizard to continue the configuration in the dashboard

In the first step of the Registration you can change the password of the appliance

Set the proxy if you have one

Enter My VMware account details and validate the account

Successful validation will give you the collector id , click continue to continue the configuration

You can see the registered validated entitlement in the next window, click continue 

You can review the documentation if you want

In the next step you can configure the vCenter server, provide the details such as IP address (host address), vCenter Read-only account (if you don’t have one setup an account with the read-only access), password, SSO admin and STS url, click ADD to add the vCenter server

You can see the details in the dashboard as below and you can follow the same step to add a NSX Manager to the Skyline collector in the same way

This is the sample VMware Skyline report (image courtesy VMware)

I haven’t got the actual report yet. I will post it soon

My Thoughts

Download and installation was really easy, it was just a generic OVF deployment IP address and all the other configuration parameters inserted during the installation as shown in the above screen captures. Once deployed the appliance as a OVF deployment, it was able to connect using the web browser. Configuration wizard ran after that and had to add the My VMware account to validate and check the contract. We were eligible to the BCS support and it was picked automatically.

Still we haven’t got the actual Skyline report from VMware and haven’t got a chance to log a support request from VMware Support, so I’m not able to provide any feedback on the report and the support. So far it was really easy to deploy and configure the appliance. Based on my experience I have rated the Skyline appliance.

Update as of 27/02/2018 I have got the OSR (Operational Summary Report ) and it seems quite interesting and lots of information was there along with the recommendations and KBs that we have to follow. It was quite easy and straightforward measures were included and simply customer can add and update the report with the notes. I had only concerned about the date that it got delivered and if it can make more quicker or as a routine procedure to send this to the customers, I think it is very much useful from a customer point of view.

Here I have added a altered sample report for your reference. Please note that I have completely changed the information of the report and only dump information is there.

Please click here to view my report.

References:

Aruna Lakmal

Associate Technical Specialist at Pearson, Sri Lanka. Technology junky, enthusiast, a VMware vExpert and a blogger with more than 7 years of Experience in Information Technology more focusing on VMware Virtualization, Microsoft and Datacenter Technologies.

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