CloudPhysics is a Software as a Service (SaaS) analytics tool for VMware environments. Recently the company introduced a new Storage Analytics product to its SaaS application, so I decided to check it out. I now wish I had taken a look at CloudPhysics sooner.
Follow these steps to install the CloudPhysics Observer:
- Sign up for a free account to use the trial.
- Download the observer.ova or observer.ovf.
- Deploy the OVA or OFV file from your vSphere Client.
- Give it appropriate networking information for your environment.
- Open the console and accept the EULA.
- Type in the server name and username information (these are for vCenter). You will get a message that either you successfully connected or your vCenter server couldn't be reached.
- Enter your account information for the CloudPhysics site and any proxy information you might need within your environment. You will get a message that says "network access has been verified" if it's successful.
If you were already logged in to the CloudPhysics website when you installed the Observer appliance, you may have to log out and log back in (it didn't recognize my Observer until I followed these steps).
CloudPhysics uses the idea of "cards" and "decks" to peek into your environment. Each card represents a specific element of your VMware environment, and then you can dive in to see health issues, simulate changes in your environment, or check out the new storage analytics. You can build your own cards to get very specific analytics or get cards from the Card Store. CloudPhysics lets you set up trigger notifications so you can be emailed if something goes wrong in your environment.
Figure A shows the default storage analytics cards, which you can click to get more information. You can see right away if there are Noteworthy alerts (orange) or Need Attention alerts (red). If I click the red alerts on the screen shown in Figure A, for example, the Snapshots Gone Wild card (Figure B) shows me where I have snapshots, how much space they're taking up, and how old they are.
An especially nice feature is, in the Host Inventory card, you can check to see if your hardware is on the VMware Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) for any version of vSphere -- that is so much easier than mucking around the VMware HCL. You can also see the same kind of compatibility information for your PCI I/O devices, with an orange dot denoting it is in the HCL but it's not compatible with the version of ESX and the red dot denoting that it's not in the HCL.
You can click the General Health Checks tab to see information about VMware Guest Tools, HA Cluster Health, Host Inventory, NTP settings, Knowledge Base Advisories, and PCI I/O Devices. I like that it shows the KB articles that apply to your environment. It may be a little overwhelming at first, but better safe than sorry.
You can create your own cards to monitor almost anything you want; there are also numerous cards available from CloudPhysics and the Community in the following categories:
- Health Check
- Security Check
I hadn't used CloudPhysics before, but I'd heard great things about it. I'm really impressed with what CloudPhysics offers, and I'm glad I got a chance to play with it (the install was incredibly easy).
If you use CloudPhysics or are interested in using this analytics tool, please leave your comments and questions in the discussion.
Lauren Malhoit has been in the IT field for over 10 years and has acquired several data center certifications. She's currently a Technology Evangelist for Cisco focusing on ACI and Nexus 9000. She has been writing for a few years for TechRepublic, Tech Pro Research, and VirtualizationAdmin.com. As a Cisco Champion, EMC Elect, VMware vExpert, and PernixPro, Lauren stays involved in the IT community. Lauren has been a delegate for Tech Field Day and has also authored a book called VMware vCenter Operations Manager Essentials.