VMware vRealize Operations (vROps) is a robust data analytics platform providing insight into your vSphere environment and beyond. When there are problems, vROps will find them, make you aware of them, and potentially fix them. How does it do this?
Well, in short, Alerts, Symptoms, Recommendations, and associated Actions. In this blog I'd like to explore the Actions available in vROps. There are 60+ Actions available from vROps out-of-the-box, the vast majority of them come from the vSphere management pack and are associated with vSphere objects, but any management pack can have Actions. You can see them in vROps via Alerts - Actions.
As you can see, Actions are associated with objects, so if you go to an objects Summary page you will see them in the ACTIONS dropdown. Exploring the Summary page of a VM you'll see these.
This VM has 11 Actions available: everything from Deleting Unused Snapshots to Allocating more CPU and Memory. Each Action will have a dialogue box, this is what "Set CPU Count for VM" looks like.
Once you click BEGIN ACTION you can monitor it via Administration - History - Recent Tasks. Documentation around vROps Actions can be found here: https://docs.vmware.com/en/vRealize-Operations-Manager/8.2/com.vmware.vcom.core.doc/GUID-BCD1B7D8-6988-4F3A-A70E-BE46A660383B.html
Many of these Actions are tied to Recommendations, which are related to Alert/Symptom combinations. This provides the user with the ability to take the Recommended Action when an Alert is generated from vROps. Better yet, we can automate the Action against the Alert. Roughly a dozen of the Actions listed support Automation, which needs to be enabled via Policies. Automated Action enablement documentation can be found here: https://docs.vmware.com/en/vRealize-Operations-Manager/8.3/com.vmware.vcom.config.doc/GUID-8838DA32-0055-4BD2-9C0F-51A182857F51.html
Say for example, I want to automate the "Set Memory for VM" Action. I'd do so by enabling automation for that Alert/Symptom/Recommendation/Action combination in the active policy, go to Administration - Policies, edit the active policy. Select the Alerts and Symptoms tile, find the Alert Definition associated with the Symptom/Recommendation/Action you want to automate, click the ACTIONS drop down, Automate - Enable.
This enables the Action to be automatically called from the Recommendation. You can see what Recommendations have the associated Action enabled by going to Alerts - Configuration - Recommendations and filter in the Action, in this case Set Memory for a VM.
From there, you can select the number in the Alert Definitions to see which Alerts will be using this newly automated Action. This same technique can be used for any Action that can be automated via vROps Policies.
Now, what if we want to take an action not available with vROps and the vSphere management pack? We have another option, vRealize Orchestrator (vRO). There is a vRO management pack for vROps that includes an adapter (pointed at the vRO Host), dashboards, and alert/symptom combinations with related recommendations/actions. Taking a step back, it looks like this.
There are 20+ Actions included, shown with the Adapter Type of vRealize Orchestrator Adapter below.
Once installed, these vRO Workflows are available as Actions from the corresponding objects Summary page. For a VM, we have: Add a new vnic to a VM, Manage Snapshots for VM, etc.
Any of these can be automated the same way we automated the previous Actions. Documentation on them can be found here: https://docs.vmware.com/en/Management-Packs-for-vRealize-Operations-Manager/3.1.1/vrealize-orchestrator/GUID-285CC980-B811-45BE-8B34-D192CE064895.html#out-of-the-box-workflows-for-default-recommendations-1
Rather than taking action via the vCenter adapter these Actions call vRO Workflows via the vRO adapter. There are several vRO Workflows bound to vROps Actions upon installation of the vRO management pack, but there are almost 300 more vRO Workflows at your disposal, they can be seen here:
In order to use these, they must first be bound to a vROps object: https://docs.vmware.com/en/Management-Packs-for-vRealize-Operations-Manager/3.1.1/vrealize-orchestrator/GUID-7E4B6D42-2A5C-440B-A8B6-3B31AD9AEBEB.html
Go To Administration - Inventory and select the vRO Adapter Instance. Then select the vRO Workflow you'd like to use, click the gears icon in the toolbar and you'll be presented with two options.
You can either execute the workflow or bind it to a vCenter objects, which is what we want to do. Select "Create/Modify Workflow Action on vCenter Resources".
I've chosen the vRO Reboot VM workflow and indicated I'd like it added to VMs. I click BEGIN ACTION to make the association.
Click the Task ID or the OK button and go to Administration - History - Recent Tasks to see the status.
As you can see it completed successfully and we now have the ability to run the vRO Reboot VM Action for VMs.
This same process can be used to present your own custom vRO Workflows as vROps Actions to vSphere objects. They are a great way to fix problems either while you're troubleshooting them or automatically when they occur.