Deploy NetApp OnCommand Balance 4.2

OnCommand Balance is a virtual appliance deployed within vCenter that allows you to monitor the health of your VMware environment at the Virtual Machine, vCenter and Storage level. Having a single place that displays end-to-end performance allows you to spend less time troubleshooting performance issues and trying to correlate data and address potential issues in your environment.

I’ve been using OnCommand Balance (formerly OnCommand Insight Balance) for a few years now and it has saved countless hours finding issues in the environment. We’ve had historical data available to look at growth and performance trends, as well as increased demand on individual servers after code releases/updates. Having access to the information within the VMs (such as drive space filling up) also makes this an invaluable tool.

The following documentation will take you through the deployment process of the Virtual Appliance and initial setup. You will go through adding your vCenter hosts, storage controllers, creating saved credentials, connecting to Active Directory for authentication and provision a Windows proxy service for monitoring Windows Servers.

Prerequisites:
1. A user account with appropriate permissions to vCenter for OnCommand Balance to use
2. A domain account with permissions to access all monitored Windows machines (preferrably a Domain Admin account)
3. A separate Windows Server/VM that will be used as the Proxy service to monitor Windows machines
a. Must have latest version of Java 6 installed and User Account Control disabled
4. Username/password for the NetApps that will be monitored

Steps:
1. Download the latest version of OnCommand Balance (4.2) for this writing from the NetApp website
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2. Connect to the vSphere web interface, click on “vCenter”, “Hosts and Clusters”, expand the Datacenter, and click on the Cluster/Host that will host OnCommand Balance. Right click and choose “Deploy OVF Template”
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3. Click “Local file” and then “Browse”
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4. Locate the OnCommand Balance OVA and click “Open” then click “Next”
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5. Review the details of the OVF then click “Next”
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6. Accept the EULA then click “Next”
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7. Give the appliance a name and choose the folder location of the appliance (if any) and click “Next”
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8. Set the virtual disk format (I prefer Thin since one of the drives is 220GB) and choose the datastore. Click “Next”
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9. Choose the appropriate network and then click “Next”
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10. Review the settings then click “Finish”
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11. After deployment completes, locate the appliance, right click and choose “Power On”
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12. Open the console of the VM (Right-click and choose “Open Console”) where you’ll see this countdown to install VMware tools prior to configuring the Balance virtual appliance (If you miss your chance to do this at this point, I was unable to install VMware tools at all on the appliance)
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13. Right-click on the VM, go to “All vCenter Actions”, then “Guest OS” and then click “Install VMware Tools”
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14. After the VMware tools dialog box is displayed, click “Mount”
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15. The Balance virtual appliance should recognize VMware tools ISO has been mounted and proceed with the installation
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16. After VMware tools install completes, press “y” then enter to configure static Network connection for the management interface
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17. Enter the following information:

a. Host name
b. Host IP address
c. Netmask
d. Gateway
e. Primary DNS address
f. Secondary DNS address
g. Search domains
balance101414-step17g

18. Review the settings and then press “y” and enter if everything is correct
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19. Default OnCommand Balance console login is netapp/netapp. Login to the console
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20. After a few minutes (5-10) the web service will be up and running. Connect to the https://IPofAppliance/bp to begin configuration
21. Enter the name of your organization and click “Continue”
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22. Choose if you want to participate in AutoSupport and click “Submit”
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23. Enter the time zone, NTP Server address, the address of the primary Balance admin (preferably a distribution group), and the SMTP server address. Click “Continue” (You can choose to change the password at this time)
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24. Sit around and wait a couple minutes…
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25. A blank screen may appear during this time, but eventually should take you to the OnCommand Balance login page. Login with the default credentials of admin/password or whatever password was set in step 23.
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26. Click the link for “Configure you storage arrays & appliances”
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27. Choose the type of storage (NetApp FAS in this case), enter the management address for one of the nodes, Enter the name of the filer, enter the credentials (root in my case) and enter a nickname of these credentials as they can be modified later on during password changes. Click “Save”
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28. Even though DNS is configured correctly, I usually receive this error about the other filer of this HA system not being resolvable. Click “Enter IP address instead” and then enter the IP of the other filer and click “Resolve”
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29. Click the “Refresh” link on the right side of the page a few times until “Discovery Collection” status changes to “OK”
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30. Click the “Add storage system” button to add additional storage arrays (Including the HA partners). Click on “Dashboard” then choose “Configure your vCenter Server”
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31. Enter the FQDN/IP Address of the vCenter server. Click “Add new” next to Credentials to add the credentials for the vCenter server
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32. Enter the username, password, and nickname for these credentials. Click “Next”
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33. Choose what you want monitored (though I can’t imagine why you’d choose not to monitor everything) and click “Save”
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34. Click the “refresh” link until “Discovery Collection” status changes to “OK”
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35. Click “Add vCenter Server” button to add any additional vCenter servers. Otherwise, hover over “Discovery” and choose “Credentials”
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36. To monitor the OS’s of your VMs and physical servers, you can add those credentials on this page. I’ll add domain admin credentials for monitoring my Windows domain VMs. Click “Add credentials” button
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37. Choose the login method, login name (domain\username), password, nickname for the credentials, and a description. Click “Save”
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38. Once added they will appear on this screen
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39. Hover over “Discovery” and choose “Proxies”
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40. A proxy is required to monitor the guest OS status of Windows VMs and Physical servers. This proxy runs on a windows server. Once you’ve determined (or built) the appropriate server for the proxy, enter it’s FQDN or IP address and click “Continue”. Much like the picture below says, UAC MUST be disabled. You’ll beat your head against the wall for hours trying to figure out why it fails without that.
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41. Download and install the latest 32-bit Java 6 runtime on this proxy server. Then navigate to the link listed on that proxy VM to begin the installation
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42. Once the Balance Proxy Installer screen appears, click “Next”
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43. Locate the folder path for the 32-bit java install and click “Next”
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44. Enter an admin account for the service to be run under. Check the box for “Start service immediately after install” and click “Next”
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45. Select any additional components you might need for other vendors and click “Next”
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46. Review the information and click “Install”
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47. Click “Finish”
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48. Back at the Balance web interface, click “Validate proxy setup” and if successful, click “Continue”
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49. Hover over “Discovery” and click on “Servers”
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50. Click the link on the right side for “Unmonitored Servers”
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51. Click the link next the vCenter server for “# guests are not being monitored”
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52. Check the box next to the VMs you wish to monitor, choose your Credentials from the dropdown box in the center and click “Monitor guest(s)”
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53. Hover over “Admin” and choose “Configuration”
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54. Click “Email”. In here you can set authentication for your SMTP server, choose the “From” address for Balance emails. Click “Enable alerts” and then check all the boxes for Critical, Warning, and all categories (I prefer as many alerts as I can get). Click “Update”
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55. Click on “Active Directory” and click the check box for “Enable Active Directory”
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56. Enter the IP/hostname of your AD server, enter the Distinguished name of the account used to search Active Directory, and enter the password for that account. Click “Test”
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57. Once successful, enter the Distinguished Name of the of the OU for the user/group that will have access to login. Enter the Distinguished name of the Group that will be able to login. Enter “sAMAccount” for the search attribute. Click “Update”
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58. Hover over “Admin” and click “Users”
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59. Click “Add User”
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60. Change “Authentication” to “Active Directory”. Enter the username and click “Lookup”. If successfully, configured, it should populate the e-mail address. Choose the appropriate user type (Admin or User) and click “Save”
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You’re all setup and ready to let OnCommand Balance start collecting data in your environment. You start to receive some information within about 30 minutes, but after 3-5 days you start to get a better understanding of what is going on in your environment and have more useful metrics.

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Deploy NetApp OnCommand Balance 4.2

One thought on “Deploy NetApp OnCommand Balance 4.2

  1. Thank you!
    Your blog gave me the missing link to set up Active Directory authentication… The manual doesn’t mention that you have to add each AD user in the user section, counter to several other Netapp management products! (And I never even looked at the user admin section, as I didn’t want to user local accounts….)
    All it needs is one line at the bottom of the AD seciton saying you need to also set them up under users!

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