Action Automation Prerequisites

Action Automation Prerequisites

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Before enabling automation, you need to configure both your vCenter Server and your Densify Connector. The following prerequisites apply to both types of automation.

Policy settings and the specific details of enabling the feature through the Densify user interface are covered in the individual topics. See Using Proactive Automation and Using Real-Time Automation.

Densify Connector Settings

You must have the Densify Connector installed and have configured a connection for each vCenter Server. Additionally, you must perform the following:

Enable Real-Time Automation

Enable the option "Enable real-time monitoring and automation" in the Data Transfer Settings > AdvancedAdvanced Settings dialog box.

Note: If this checkbox is not checked then the Densify Connector cannot receive action plans from your Densify instance and automation will not succeed.

Additional Configuration for Disk Allocation Changes

Disk allocation changes must be configured directly on a VM and are not done through the vCenter. In order to perform the disk allocation changes directly on a VM, the Densify Connector requires elevated privileges for the VM's OS.

In order to execute disk recommendations on the VMs, you need to define an account that is part of the administrator's group of the target VMs. This is required to execute the vSphere PowerCLI Invoke-VMScript that is used to perform the disk bump up recommendations.

Open the Window's Services management application and right-click on the Densify Connector. Select Properties and then click on the Log On tab. Enter the account username /password.

Additional Software Requirements

If you are using proactive automation there are additional software requirements and configuration updates that need to be completed on the Densify Connector's host machine, in order to enable this feature.

Microsoft® PowerShell, vMware PowerCLI, and .NET Framework must be installed and running on the same machine\instance that is running the Densify Connector. These utilities are required for Proactive Automation.

Table: Proactive Automation Requirements on the Densify Connector's Host Machine

Microsoft

Both Microsoft® PowerShell and .NET Framework must be installed and running. The following versions are supported:

  • Microsoft® PowerShell 5.1
  • .NET Framework 4.6.x, 4.7.x, 4.8

VMware Power CLI

PowerCLI must also be installed. The following versions are supported:

  • 10.1.0 (VMware.VimAutomation.core 10.1.0)
  • 11.3.0, 11.4.0 (both use VMware.VimAutomation.core 11.3.0) and 11.5.0 (VMware.VimAutomation.core 11.5.0)
  • 12.0.0 (VMware.VimAutomation.core 12.0.0)

If you are auditing vCenter Server version 6.5 or 6.7, then you must use PowerCLI v10.1.0, as this is the minimum supported version. If you are auditing vCenter Server 7.0, then the minimum supported version to use is PowerCLI v12.0.0. You must also use version 2.2.4 of the Densify Connector.

Prior to installing or upgrading your PowerCLI version for your Densify Connector, ensure that you check the certified versions. Failing to do so may result in Action Automation failing to run. See Densify Connector Compatibility for a matrix of which versions are supported with each version of vCenter.

You can continue to use your existing PowerCLI version and connector version 2.2.3 if you are not auditing vCenter Server7.0.

Refer to Configuring Action Automation for detailed instructions.

VMware Tools

VMware tools must be installed on each VM. The following versions are supported:

  • 10.3.10
  • 11.0.x
  • 11.1.x

Disk bump ups cannot be executed on VMs with VMware tools v10.3.10 and v11.0.x installed. This issue is resolved with VMware tools v11.1.0. If you are performing disk bump ups, you must upgrade VMware tools to v11.1.x.

SeeVMware Credentials and Configuration below for additional VMware configuration details.

Densify Configuration

The following additional configuration and considerations must be addressed to enable action automation from within Densify:

  • Automation is enabled in the control environment— Contact your Cloud Advisor or support@Densify.com for additional information.
  • Automation Settings—you should be aware that the control environment threshold settings for drift do not apply when using the Densify Connector. Contact your Cloud Advisor or support@Densify.com for additional information.
  • All warnings on the control environment need to be cleared—Contact your Cloud Advisor or support@Densify.com for additional information.
  • Proactive Automation must be enabled on a cluster in order for Real-Time Automation to send alarms via the Densify Connector, to the impacted vCenter. See Data Collection for VMware Using the Connector for details.

Software License Cost Optimization

The Software License Cost Optimization is required to generate the VM moves to minimize the number of Windows or Oracle licenses you require.

Note: This feature is available through the Densify Enterprise Solution. Contact your Cloud Advisor for details on licensing and enabling this feature.

VMware Credentials and Configuration

The Densify Connector uses the VMware common API interface to audit each vCenter Server and ESX servers. The following prerequisites must be addressed before

Configuring a vCenter Account for Action Automation

Once you are ready to enable automation, you need to elevate the access permission on the Densify Connector. Create a new account or modify the existing user account with the following minimum privileges to run action automation.

In order to run Action Automation you need to do the following:

  • Enable vMotion on all hosts on which VM changes will occur. This includes hosts of which VMs will be moved and the hosts onto which VMs will be placed.
  • Obtain a vCenter Server credential with administrator access. This account must provide the ability to:
    • Modify the vMotion settings;
    • Note: If the vMotion setting has been changed in order to execute an action plan, then it will be returned to its original value when execution is complete.

    • Modify the value of the drs_threshold_priority and vm_move_priority settings for your environment;
    • Make allocation changes to VMs within your datacenter clusters.

User Account Options

If you cannot obtain administrator privileges for your vCenter account, you can still allow action automation to make the required moves with specific options enabled on your vCenter user account.

  1. In your vSphere Web Client, browse to Administration > Role Manager.
  2. Select a vCenter Server from the drop-down menu.
  3. Select a role and click Edit role action.
  4. Select the following privileges for the role and click OK.

Table: Required User Role Settings

Specific Settings

Description

Alarms > Acknowledge alarm

Allows suppression of all alarm actions on all triggered alarms.

This setting is required by Densify to manage alarms for automation activities.

Alarms > Create alarm

Allows creation of a new alarm.

This setting is required by Densify to create alarms for automation activities (e.g. power-off action). This setting specifically is required when you are using the "Delay Power off" feature.

Alarms > Disable alarm action

Allows stopping an alarm action from occurring after an alarm has been triggered. This does not disable the alarm.

This setting is required by Densify to disable alarms for automation activities.

Alarms > Modify alarm

Allows changing the properties of an alarm.

This setting is required by Densify to manage alarms for automation activities. This setting specifically is required when you are using the "Delay Power off" feature.

Alarms > Remove alarm

Allows deletion of an alarm.

This setting is required by Densify to remove alarms for automation activities.

Alarms > Set alarm status

Allows changing the status of the configured event alarm. The status can change to Normal, Warning, or Alert.

This setting is required by Densify to manage alarms for automation activities.

Datastore > Allocate Space

Allows allocating space on a datastore for a virtual machine, snapshot, clone, or virtual disk.

Host > Inventory > Modify cluster

Allows addition of a host to an existing cluster.

Prior to executing rebalance moves Densify requires that the DRS Migration Threshold be set to 1, to ensure that DRS does not activate DRS any load balancing moves during the period that automation is running. Once Densify completes automation, the DRS Migration Threshold can be reset to the original, customer value. In order to change the DRS Migration Threshold, the Modify Cluster permission is required, as VMware does not provide a separate permission for changes to this value.

Resource > Assign virtual machine to resource pool

Allows a VM that is being deployed directly to a host or cluster access to the parent host or cluster's resource pool. This must be enabled in order to perform cross-cluster rebalancing moves.

Resource > Migrate powered off/on virtual machine

Allows migration of a powered off virtual machine to a different resource pool or host. Allows migration with vMotion of a powered on virtual machine to a different resource pool or host.

Resource > Query vMotion

Allows Densify to query the general vMotion compatibility of a virtual machine with a set of hosts.

This setting is not mandatory; however, when enabled, it allows Densify to validate vMotion compatibility of VMs to target hosts. If Densify is not able to determine compatibility, then it cannot pre-qualify compatibility and when attempting to use vMotion, will then fail if the VM is not compatible, during action automation instead of detecting the issue prior to attempting the move.

Virtual Machine > Configuration > Advanced

Allows addition or modification of advanced parameters in the virtual machine's configuration file.

Virtual Machine > Configuration > Change CPU count

Allows changing the number of virtual CPUs.

Virtual Machine > Configuration > Change resource

Allows changing the resource configuration of a set of virtual machine nodes in a given resource pool.

Virtual Machine > Configuration > Memory

Allows changing the amount of memory allocated to the virtual machine.

Virtual Machine > Interaction > Power Off

Allows you to power off a powered-on guest.

Virtual Machine > Interaction > Power On

Allows you to power on a powered-off guest.

Virtual Machine >Inventory > Move

Allows relocating a virtual machine in the hierarchy. The privilege must be present at both the source and destination.

Virtual Machine > Provisioning > Customize

Allows customization of a virtual machine’s guest operating system without moving the virtual machine.

This setting is required by the vCenter Server and automation will not run if is not set correctly. Refer to your VMware documentation for details.

Virtual Machine > Provisioning > Modify customization specification

Allows creation, modification, or deletion of customization specifications.

This setting is required by the vCenter Server and automation will not run if is not set correctly. Refer to your VMware documentation for details.

Virtual Machine.> Provisioning > Read customization specifications

Allows reading a customization specification.

This setting is required by the vCenter Server and automation will not run if is not set correctly. Refer to your VMware documentation for details.

Contact your VMware administrator to configure the account and provide the required credentials. A message is logged if the appropriate permissions do not exist for the specified account when executing Action Automation.

Enabling DRS

DRS must be enabled for the cluster/s that you are targeting for action automation. Automation will fail on cluster/s that do not have DRS enabled. There may also be an indication that the specified user credential does not have sufficient permission to modify DRS settings.

Note: Action Automation will not attempt any moves if Densify cannot change the value of DRS.

Enabling vMotion

When automating Densify rebalance recommendations, vMotion must be enabled on all the hosts in a cluster. This includes hosts, on which the VMs are currently running and the hosts to which the VMs may be moved.

Enabling Hot Add

When automating Densify re-sizing recommendations (bump ups), CPU and/or memory Hot Add may be enabled, but is not mandatory. If Hot Add is supported/enabled on a VM, then the you avoid the reboot required for the VM sizing allocation changes to take effect.

vCenter Server

VMwareTools

VMware Tools must be installed on each VM within your managed environment in order for action automation to execute recommendations and set alarms.

VMware Tools is an add-on utility, provided by VMware, that significantly improves VM management – i.e. proper shutdowns, restarts, availability of host names, hot add capabilities, etc.

Disk bump ups cannot be executed on VMs with VMware tools v10.3.10 and v11.0.x installed. This issue is resolved with VMware tools v11.1.0. If you are performing disk bump ups, you must upgrade VMware tools to v11.1.x.

Refer to the documentation provided with your vCenter Server for installation details.

VMware Migration Threshold Setting

Setting the DRS Threshold to priority 2 implements DRS priority 1 and 2 recommendations and excludes all priority 3, 4 and 5 DRS recommendations. This is required to get the full benefit of Densify's action automation. The higher you set the DRS threshold, the higher the number of DRS moves and the lower the value of each move.

The VMware default setting is Priority 3. This value needs to be changed to Priority 2 on all clusters for which you have enabled either Real Time or Proactive automation. Priority 2 is also required for rebalancing moves.

Note: Internally, the VI3 API is reversed, so when you are reviewing the log files, a value of 4 in the log file is equivalent to a value of 2 in the user interface and a value of 2 in the UI = 4 in the log files.

In general, when you are using Densify's action automation features, you do not need to use VMware's DRS optimization recommendations. The number of DRS moves can be significant, resulting in VMs constantly moving around. Moves are expensive and may increase resource utilization in the environment due to excessive vMotion activity.