Chance Upon–vSphere Mobile Watchlist (Mobile App)

While I was doing my usual surfing for mobile applications on my devices (iOS on iPad / Android on Samsung Galaxy Note 3), I happened to chance upon this application – vSphere Mobile Watchlist by VMware, Inc. Swipe through the available screen captures provided in PlayStore, I saw some exciting things that I can do with this application so I went ahead to down it.

The application looked like this in PlayStore.

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As what it is shown in the description, “Monitor the VMware vSphere VMs you care about and remediate any alerts remotely”. It is that simple right? Simplified the way System Administrator(s) work now!

Since I have a one-server vSphere environment at home, I quickly login to the environment to test out the application.

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Since my mobile phone and my lab server sits in the same network, I could easily access the vSphere instance without any issue. However, for other system administrators that are on the move most of the time or wish to work on a quick-fix or reboot a Virtual Machine (VM) in the movie theatre, then probably you will need to bypass security layer like connecting to the vSphere environment through VPN.

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After successful login, it just presented me with a very neat outlook (which is something that I like the most, don’t build unnecessary features that complicates things when we can do only this much in a small device like our mobile phone!).

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Clicking on the “+” (plus) sign on the screen will bring you to the list of Virtual Machine (VMs) available for selection. Initially, I have no idea what I should be doing! However, by a few knocks, I finally get to know how this works.

You will need to select the radio button shown on the left of each Virtual Machine listed and it will appear on the dashboard (or main page) of the mobile application.

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I selected a few and head back to the dashboard and you will see those selected are somehow the “highlights” that you may want to view instantly upon logging in using the mobile application.

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In the dashboard, there is two views (on the left which shows more details compared to the lesser details one on the right). It is rather useful if you really have lots of vSphere hosts loaded and you want your attention to be focus on selected VMs on every host. After all, you care for what is most important to you although all of them are equally important but in every environment, there will definitely be servers that has more weightage compared to the rest.

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Diving into the individual Virtual Machine gives you more details of the selected VM. On the glance, it just provides you with information that you want to care most. For example, if you received an alert from your monitoring tool telling you that one of your server are hitting the threshold of 80% in CPU utilization or the available storage is less than 10%. You probably want to validate that piece of information immediately upon login to your vSphere environment. Notice that there is 4 nodes at the bottom, it just means that there are more information if you swipe to the left.

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Page 2 shows you the console view while Page 3 gives you a list of commands that is available similar to what you see on the VMware console used for administering VMware Virtual Machines.

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Page 4 is one of the important one where it shows you all the Tasks & Events pertaining to the Virtual Machine. This will be really useful for troubleshooting purposes.

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Very comprehensive filtering features built in so that the Administrator could filter accordingly to what is the level of details he/she wants to view.

VMware is really good with graphical representation of the information that is gathered which I really really appreciate the team who developed all these. Some of the breakdown of the graphs that you will find.

CPU & Memory

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Disk

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Network

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Want to quickly send the current state of the individual Virtual Machine to your team mates to review or escalate to the next support level? Well, you could easily gather the information and email it over through your mobile!

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Remoting / Accessing the Virtual Machine

If you are at your weep-ends where you really need to login to the server to check out what is happening within the server, then the mobile application has built in something that is as similar to the experience you get during a Teamviewer session.

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Using the on-screen keyboard, it takes a bit of effort though (I am not a fan of working with small screen unless I really have to). It will definitely be more soothing to your eyes when the screen is rotated.

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That’s all for the Virtual Machine section. Now, let’s move on to the Host.

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Similar to the Virtual Machine view, it gives you a holistic view of the utilization of the Host.

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This view gives you all the Virtual Machine that is hosted within the vSphere host and the list of datastore visible to the vSphere host.

The statistical portion of the Host is exactly the same as the Virtual Machine so I will be omitting the screen shot to save some of your bandwidth. 🙂

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Much lesser functionality compared to Virtual Machine but is definitely aligned to the what it has in the VMware console. The Tasks & Events is the same as the Virtual Machine ones and filtering possesses the same as Virtual Machine too.

One very last feature that is useful for System Administrator when administering a farm of vSphere host and Virtual Machine is that, sometime you would want to group certain Virtual Machine and Host into different view as the different group may signify usage for different projects or team. Take a look at the feature “WatchList” where you are available to create new “WatchList” and pull in respective Virtual Machine you would like in this view.

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Select the Virtual Machine or Host that you want and then shift it into the WatchList.

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Do you find this application useful for System Administrator? Is there any features that are lacking from this? Share with me in the comment fields and let’s discuss!

Cheers.

Milton Goh

Chance Upon–vSphere Mobile Watchlist (Mobile App)

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