An introduction to VMware Infrastructure Planner

VMware Infrastructure Planner(VIP)  (formerly known as vCloud Planner) is a new sales tool focused on showing VMware customers the financial benefits of moving from vSphere to a Software Defined Datacenter powered by VMware vCloud Suite . VIP uses as starting point the current  environment of the customer having  VMware vSphere and vCenter Server.

It is the next Generation of VMware Capacity Planner, a similar tool open for VMware parners only used for assessments of physical servers and show benefits of going virtual.

VIP is currently in open beta.  The assessment is initiated by VMware Parters or VMware Sales. They supply login credentials for customers.

VIP looks like to have a bit of a feature overlap with VMware ROI TCO Calculator. The current version 4 calculates financial benefits of various VMware solutions including vCloud Suite.

The image below shows a report presenting the savings on storage when selected VM’s are moved from SAN to local storage abstracted by VMware vSAN. This report is for demo purposes.

vcloud-planner-storage

Key features of VIP include:

  • Understand how components of the SDDC can drive savings in your environment: for this Beta release, the tool will focus on the benefits provided by vCenter Operations Manager, vCloud Automation Center, and Virtual SAN (VSAN)
  • Apply high-level cost assumptions to estimate total $ savings potential
  • Share results with colleagues – either online or through downloadable summary reports

VIP is deployed as a  virtual appliance. It needs vCenter Operations Manager (vCOPS).   Customers who don’t already have vCenter Operations Manager can download a free “headless” (no UI) version as part of, and for the duration of, the vCloud Planner assessment.

The virtual appliance and vCOPS can be downloaded after the VMware partner created a portal on internet, and added one or more accounts for its customer. When the customer logs in, he will be presented with a url which downloads the appliance.

 Requirements

  • Customers must have vCenter Server 5.0 or above
  •  As part of the beta, customers must be willing to deploy a VMware Infrastructure Planner virtual appliance into their environment. This virtual appliance must be granted access to the internet. Proxy servers are supported (either unauthenticated or basic authentication supported)
  • Customers must be willing to deploy a UI-less instance of vCenter Operations Manager 5.7 (provided as part of the beta program), OR already have vCenter Operations Manager 5.7 deployed
  • Customers must be running English language versions of vCenter Server
  • It also needs the vSphere Web Client
  • vCloud Planner local collector appliance must be installed on a 64-bit host

To get results data collection will take at least 7 days. This is the minimum time recommended time for vCloud Planner to build up a picture of resource use in your environment. Collected data is sent from the customer site to VMware.  IP addresses and hostnames are not collected at all. Data is sent fully encrypted.

 Reports can be seen in the Internet portal. It will for example give recommendations of VM’s which can be moved from expensive SAN storage to VMware VSAN (using local storage). VSAN is suitable for workloads with certain IOPS and read/write skew characteristics. VMware suggests that VMs that record less than 2,000 IOPs per TB may be good candidates for VSAN. vSAN is currently in a closed beta with few public information available. See for some technical background my post here.

The report below shows oversized VMs. These are VMs configured with a amount of virtual memory which is more than required by the OS and applications running in the VM. By adjusting the virtual memory, physical memory can be saved resulting in a reduced number of required hosts.

vcloud-planner-compute

The “open beta ” means that anyone can sign up for an account with VMware Infrastructure Planner. The “beta” means that VMware is still actively testing and looking for feedback on the tool. VMware is  also continually rolling out new features in the tool – showing the value of more components of the suite for example, or  tweaking the UI to make it more intuitive and user-friendly. Bugfixes and feature improvements are enabled automatically in the online portal and in the  associated download bundle.

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About Marcel van den Berg
I am a technical consultant with a strong focus on server virtualization, desktop virtualization, cloud computing and business continuity/disaster recovery.

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