Use the Cluster Configuration dashboard to view the overall configuration of vSphere clusters in your environment, especially configurations that need attention.

Design Considerations

See the Configuration Dashboards page for common design considerations among all the dashboards for configuration management.

As there are many configurations to be verified, if you have a larger screen, add additional checks as you deem fit, or add legends to the pie-charts.

How to Use the Dashboard

The Cluster Configuration dashboard is organized into sections for ease of use.

  • The first section of the dashboard consists of three bar-charts. They correspond to the three main features of vSphere clusters, namely High Availability (HA), Dynamic Resource Scheduler (DRS), and Distributed Power Management (DPM).
    • HA: The best practice is to activate HA admission control. You can specify the admission control policy in the vCenter Server and the threshold for failover shares.
    • DRS: The best practice is to activate DRS. Envision the vSphere cluster as a single logical computer that balances within itself.
    • DPM: The best practice is to activate DPM in an environment where environmental concern is the top priority or the high peak rarely occurs as most of the time you run very low utilization.
  • The second section of the dashboard consists of eight pie-charts. They show the relative distribution of key configurations.
    • Two of the bar-charts cover admission control. You must activate admission control. The pie-charts displays the policy code instead of the policy name, as it is based on the property: Cluster Configuration | Das Configuration | Active Admission Control Policy. The mapping between the code to name is:
      • -1 = Disabled
      • 0 = Cluster Resource Percentage
      • 1 = Slot Policy (Powered-on VMs)
      • 2 = Dedicated Failover Hosts
    • There are two bar-charts that cover the HA Failover Share. One for CPU, and one for memory.
    • The next two bar-charts cover DRS settings. You might want to fully automate DRS, which means that there is no operator intervention required for both initial VM placement and subsequent load balancing, but with a moderate migration threshold (value = 3.0). The value ranges from 1.0 to 5.0.
    • There are two pie-charts that show reservation. One for CPU and one for memory. Minimize the total reservation value as it prevents overcommit of resources and hence results in less optimal utilization. Memory reservation can remain and occupy the memory space of the ESXi host, even though the VM does not use the memory anymore. Consider the analogy of unused files that you have not opened for months in the c:\ drive of your laptop. They still take up space on the hard disk. Keep the number of distinct shares to below three (or at a minimum), matching the distinct classes of service.
  • The third section of the dashboard consists of two bar-charts. They show the absolute distribution of the clusters.
    • The first bar-chart displays the cluster grouped by the number of ESXi hosts. Small clusters, defined as having a lower number of ESXi hosts, have a higher overhead while large clusters have a higher risk if there are cluster-wide outages. Performance risk is lower, because there are more nodes that DRS can tap on, but if there is an actual problem, troubleshooting can be tougher, because there are more nodes to analyze. For large clusters, have a disaster recovery plan as an unexpected cluster-wide outage can impact many VMs.
  • The fourth section of the dashboard lets you drill-down to an individual cluster.
    • A table lists all the clusters with their key configuration. You can export this list as a spreadsheet for further analysis or reporting.
    • Select a cluster. The list of ESXi hosts under the cluster, with shares and resource pool information, is automatically filled up.
    • Keep the number of distinct shares to below three (or at a minimum), matching the distinct classes of service. Avoid providing different services to individual VMs as that increases the complexity of the cluster performance.
    • Keep the number of resource pools minimal.
    • Some of the columns are color coded to facilitate quick reviews. Adjust their threshold to either reflect your current situation or your desired ideal state.

Points to Note

  • The number of buckets in the pie-chart or bar-chart are balanced between the available screen estate, ease of use, and functionality. Modify the buckets to either reflect your current situation or your desired ideal state.
  • No data to display does not imply that there is something wrong with data collection by VMware Aria Operations. It might signify that none of the objects meet the filtering criteria of the widget, and as a result there is nothing to display.
  • In a large environment, create a filter for this dashboard. Group by the class of services such as, gold, silver, and bronze. Default the selection to gold. In this way, your monitoring is not cluttered with less critical workloads.
  • To view the content of a slice in a pie-chart or a bucket in a bar-chart, click on it. The list cannot be exported. Clicking an object name, takes you to the object summary page. The page provides key configuration information, with other summary information.