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ControlUp 4.0 – Introducing vSphere and XenServer Support

During the last couple of years, ControlUp has received excellent feedback regarding its real-time performance views and advanced management features. However, one question kept popping in almost every webinar, conference booth visit or online product demo – “When will I be able to view and manage my virtualization hosts using ControlUp?”

Well, with the release of ControlUp 4.0 it’s a simple matter of providing access details to your virtualization infrastructure and you are good to go. In this blog post I will cover the new Hypervisor Integration feature as well as some additional features introduced in ControlUp 4.0.

vSphere and XenServer Support

ControlUp 4.0 Hypervisor Integration enables real-time performance monitoring and management of the virtualization infrastructure. Hypervisor Integration extends the functionality of ControlUp with the following new features:

  • The Hosts View – This new view displays VMware ESXi and Citrix XenServer hosts including a variety of real-time performance metrics and system information. As any other ControlUp view, drilldown into the VM, session and process layers is possible by double-clicking any host object.
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The new Hosts view

  • Hypervisor-based Computer Columns – New computer columns such as ‘Virtual Disk IOPS’, ‘CPU Ready’ and ‘VM Tools Version’ were added to the Computers View in order to enable better understanding of your computers’ real-time performance and how it affects the resource utilization on your virtualization hosts.
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New Hypervisor-based computer columns

  • Non-Windows and agentless monitoring – Once Hypervisor Integration is enabled, ControlUp can now monitor non-Windows VMs by retrieving performance metrics and system information from your virtualization hosts. Since this capability does not require agent deployment into the guest OS, it can also be used to provide insights into the computers’ performance during boot-time where agent communication is not possible. The above is true for computers already managed with ControlUp, as well as for any VM (Windows, Linux or other) hosted on your virtualization infrastructure.
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Real-time monitoring of non-Windows VM’s

  • Hypervisor-based actions – The new ‘VM Power Management’ action set includes popular actions such as ‘Force Reset VM’ and ‘Power On VM’ which simplifies day-to-day management of virtual workloads. More advanced virtualization-related actions can be created using ControlUp’s Script-based Actions feature, making ControlUp a single point of management for all virtual machines in your environment.

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The new VM Power Management action set

So how do you enable Hypervisor Integration in ControlUp? Simply click “Add Hypervisor” and add a Hypervisor connection to either VMware vCenter or the XenServer Pool Master. Once configured, ControlUp will start communicating with the virtualization APIs to retrieve real-time performance data and execute Hypervisor-related management actions.

Detailed I/O Metrics

I/O usage monitoring and troubleshooting I/O-related bottlenecks are major issues these days for any Virtualization admin. ControlUp 4.0 includes new I/O columns for Computers, Sessions, Processes and Executables which enable:

  • I/O performance troubleshooting – Find exactly which process is causing an I/O issue on a VM or a Host. Yes, you can drill-down from a virtualization host experiencing load on one of its datastores all the way to an individual process hogging I/O on one of the VMs!

New computer and process I/O metrics

  • Top I/O consumers – See which applications in your environment are the top I/O consumers
    Screenshot

New Executables I/O metrics

ControlUp Integration with 3rd Party Ticketing Systems

One of the major use cases for ControlUp involves the investigation of a system issue affecting a specific resource – be it a computer, user session or even a specific application or process. An admin who hears of a problem typically launches ControlUp and locates the resource by searching for its name or by sorting the data grid.
A great time saver in this scenario is the ability introduced in ControlUp v4.0 to automatically launch (or bring forward) ControlUp and focus on a specific computer or user session using a URL-like link, such as:
controlup://MyOrganization/Computers/SERVER1

By embedding this link in a 3rd party ticketing system for example, it’s easy to launch ControlUp and automatically focus on the actual user who opened the support ticket or on a server experiencing a performance bottleneck.

For example, clicking on controlup://MyOrganization/Sessions/johndoe will launch (or bring forward) ControlUp and automatically focus on user sessions established with the username of “johndoe”. Alternatively, if you configure ControlUp to send an email alert when an incident of interest occurs on one of your monitored resources, the alert will be delivered with built-in hyperlinks, which enable for locating the affected resources with a single click. Here’s an example of an alert email message received from ControlUp, which includes hyperlinks to the affected resources:

VMware Horizon 6 Support

ControlUp now fully supports VMware Horizon 6 RDSH and VDI workloads. A more detailed description of this feature can be found in this blog post “ControlUp and Horizon 6 Real-Time Management”.

New Process Actions

New process actions were added including a ‘Start CPU throttling’ action which enable admins to cap any process’s CPU usage based on a user-configured threshold. This is especially useful when an admin needs to limit the CPU consumption of a sensitive process that cannot be terminated.

The new ‘Start CPU throttling’ action

As always, the new release of ControlUp is packed with tons of improvements to the overall scalability, performance, stability and functionality of the product, A full list of ControlUp 4.0 features, bug fixes and known issues can be found in the release notes.

Yoni Avital
CTO
Smart-X

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