Using Dell Foglight for Virtualization to reclaim vSphere resources

Last week i was asked by a customer to help him reclaim CPU, Memory and Storage resources from over sized virtual machines (VM) in his vSphere 5.1 environment since the overall utilization has increased more than expected over the past 2 months.

The customer request was very simple:

  • Free up as much resources as possible without jeopardizing the VM performance.
  • Do not purchase any software.

It has been quite a long time since i did this kind of work so i trusted an old Vizioncore, Quest and Dell employee and decided to give Foglight for Virtualization, Free Edition, former VKernel, a chance.
While continue reading the post, remember i only tested the VM optimization part of the product and nothing else.

Below you’ll find the steps i took to get a report of the VMs classified by Foglight for Virtualization as candidates for reconfiguration.

  • Downloaded the Foglight for Virtualization software here.
  • Imported the OVF to the vSphere cluster by using the vSphere cluster “Deploy OVF Template” menu and selected the “PowerOn after deployment” option.
    Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 14.09.17
    The Foglight appliance uses DHCP by default.
  • Connected to, http://ip_of_the_appliance, the Foglight Appliance and accepted the license agreement.
  • Added the vCenter Server to the Foglight Appliance.
    Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 14.22.00
    By marking the check-box next to “Install Foglight for Virtualization vCenter Plug-in” you will able to use the vSphere Client to manage the application.
    Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 13.04.27
  • Started the initial data collection. This step took about 10 minutes for this  (about 300 VMs) vSphere environment. 
  • This is the UI and it gives you an overview of the product capabilities.
    Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 14.38.31
    The above picture is from a test environment and not my customers environment.
  • Browsed to the vScope Explorer and the “Efficiency” tab we immediately got an indication, per VM level, which VMs that can be reconfigured.
    Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 15.10.50
  • When hover the mouse over a particular VM i got a more details.
    Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 15.03.06

It took about 1 hour from the time i start downloading the product until we had identified the VMs from which we could reclaim resources. i think this is really impressive!

In this particular case we wanted a report so we decided to activate a trial period for the standard version.
Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 14.56.02

The online activation takes about 1 minute and requires you to type e.g. name, email address, company and phone number. After the activation you can still access the free version, just add /free to the URL e.g. http://ip_of_the_appliance/free

This is the UI (via vSphere Client) when the Standard version is activated.
Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 16.02.40

Click the Datacenter under the VMs and Templates icon to the left and click Optimizer.Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 13.05.35

From this view you can create reports and in my case we wanted one CSV and one PDF report.
Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 13.05.52

Here you’ll find the complete report, changed the VM names, where all the VMs needed attention are listed. As you can see most of the recommendations includes decreasing resources (CPU, Memory and Storage) but a few of the VMs needs more resources as well.

Before implementing the recommended actions my customer and i discussed the potential performance impact and changed a few of the recommendations. During the weekend my customer performed a lot of the recommended (somewhat modified by us) reconfigurations for CPU and Memory and a few of the storage recommended reconfigurations. All C: and Linux based drives recommended reconfigurations were ignored for now.

For our purpose, reclaim vSphere resources, i must admit that the free edition of Foglight for Virtualization was perfect since it was:

  • Fast and easy to download and implement.
  • Really easy and intuitive to use.

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