Cloud, Kubernetes

Using vRealize Operations to Gain Insight into Your Kubernetes Environment

Not all that long ago, most organizations focused their management efforts on virtual machines (VMs) and the supporting infrastructure. Today, VMs are only half the story. In addition to managing VMs, organizations also need to be able to manage containers.

vRealize Operations is an ideal management solution for organizations that leverage a VMware-based infrastructure. In addition to its ability to manage vSphere VMs, vRealize Operations is also designed to work with vSphere with Tanzu (formerly vSphere for Kubernetes). vRealize Operations is able to automatically discover objects such as clusters, namespaces, and vSphere pods, and you can manage these objects through the same interface you use to manage your VMs.

The vRealize Operations management capabilities center around four key areas: dashboards, alerts, reports, and views. Let’s examine these capabilities in more detail.

Dashboards

vRealize Operations dashboards give admins an easy way to visualize Kubernetes data. The Kubernetes Overview dashboard, for example, displays a summary of the selected cluster, including the number of nodes, name spaces, pods, containers, and services. You can also see a visual representation of the Kubernetes cluster’s health, and the health of the cluster members. Other dashboard elements include a list of the five least-healthy nodes in the selected cluster, the properties of a selected node, and the pods that are running on that node. You can see what this dashboard looks like in Figure 1.

Figure 1: The Kubernetes Overview dashboard

As helpful as this dashboard might be, it’s worth noting that vRealize Operations doesn’t limit you to the built-in dashboards. If you prefer, you can create your own custom dashboards by dragging and dropping widgets onto an empty dashboard. That way, you can build a dashboard that displays exactly the information you’re most interested in.

Alerts

As you might have noticed, Figure 1 contains a list of alerts pertaining to the Kubernetes environment. The first alert on the list, for example, indicates that a particular node has high memory usage. The alert then explains that 11 objects are impacted, and that vRealize Operations recommends increasing the node’s memory resources or adding a new node to the cluster.

For each alert generated, vRealize Operations tells you the number of objects impacted and provides a recommendation on how the alert condition should be handled. Alerts are color-coded based on severity, which can help you determine how they should be prioritized. You can also click on an alert for additional information.

Reports

The bottom-left corner of the dashboard in Figure 1 shows the five least-healthy nodes within the selected Kubernetes cluster. This is just one example of the Kubernetes-specific reports available in vRealize Operations.

While it may be tempting to think that these reports are merely a tool for deriving actionable insights into the cluster’s health, they also give you an easy way to address the reported conditions. In the case of the Top 5 Least Healthy Nodes report, for example, you can click on an unhealthy node to find out why it’s considered to be unhealthy and vRealize Operations will display a list of key node metrics that allow you to quickly check the amount of memory and CPU resources being consumed, the level of read and write IOPS the node is being subjected to, and the node’s availability. If necessary, you can drill down into additional metrics in order to find out what’s going on.

Views

vRealize Operations offers three main types of views that can help you to interpret the metrics related to the Kubernetes objects you’re monitoring. There’s a transformation view that tells you how values are being aggregated, and a trend view that shows how the metric values have changed over time. Perhaps the most useful view, however, is the forecast view, which gives you an idea of what you might expect in the future based on historical data.

Keep Your Kubernetes Clusters Healthy

vRealize Operations should be considered an essential tool for any organization running vSphere with Tanzu. vRealize Operations can help to keep your Kubernetes clusters healthy by alerting you to potential issues, and giving you the information you need to address those conditions before they become a problem. Take vRealize Operations for a test-drive or download The Gorilla Guide To…® vRealize Operations 8.1 and Cloud to learn more.