vRA & SovLabs: Snapshot management module

If you are a VMware administrator you know what a pain it is to manage snapshots.  Virtualization makes it easy to snapshot a VM before a patch or an upgrade is applied to an application or OS and gives you that peace of mind that you can revert back if it fails.   The reality is that users never clean up there snapshots and it starts getting used as a backup method in environments which places the burden on VMware admins to manage the clean up efforts.  VMware recommends not using snapshots for more than 3 days since it can cause serious performance, storage and corruption problems in your environment.

So how you do you handle snapshots?  A lot of customers just give up and take the chance of nothing going wrong, or they end up disabling this very valuable feature so users cannot use it all.  None of these methods are good.

SovLabs modules provides policies that control the expiration and deletion of VM snapshots as well as the ability to provide notifications to the VM owner. The VM owner is not given the option to extend the time of how long the snapshot lives and it will be automatically removed based on the lifespan in days set by the vRA administrator.

Configuration:

  1. Add SovLabs vCenter Endpoint
    1. This configuration was covered in my previous post which can be viewed here.
  2. Add SovLabs vRA CAFE Endpoint
    1. Select Catalog -> SovLabs vRA Extensibility
    2. Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 8.44.15 AM.png
    3. Click Request on “Add SovLabs vRA CAFE Endpoint”
    4. Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 8.44.47 AM.png
    5. Enter Configuration label
      • Only AlphaNumeric characters, no spaces or special characters except: - and _
    6. Version and Hostname are  auto-generated and based on querying vRA CAFE, verify that the information is correct
    7. If you have not configure this endpoint module then you need to create credentials.
    8. Click Submit
  3. Add SovLabs vRA IaaS Endpoint
    1. Select Catalog -> SovLabs vRA Extensibility
    2. Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 8.51.06 AM.png
    3. Click Request on “Add SovLabs IaaS CAFE Endpoint”
    4. Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 8.51.27 AM.png
    5. Enter Configuration label
      • Only AlphaNumeric characters, no spaces or special characters except: - and _
    6. Version, Hostname  and Domain are auto-generated and based on querying vRA CAFE, verify that the information is correct
    7. If you have not configure this endpoint module then you need to create credentials.
    8. Click Submit
  4. Add Notification Configuration
    1. Select Catalog -> SovLabs vRA Extensibility
    2. Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 8.55.27 AM.png
    3. Click Request on “Add Notification Configuration”
    4. Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 8.55.36 AM.png
    5. New message server = yes
      1. new fields will appear
    6. Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 8.58.39 AM.png
    7. Enter Configuration label
      • Only AlphaNumeric characters, no spaces or special characters except: - and _
    8. Enter message server address
    9. Enable SSL if required
    10. Enter message port
    11. Select message type
    12. Select message server protocol
    13. Select yes from drop down box if your SMTP requires authentication.
      1. Select yes from new credentials
      2. Enter configuration label
      3. Enter username and password
    14. Enable STARTTLS if required
    15. Set network timeout
    16. Since I selected message type as email, you need to setup your email groups.
      1. Select yes to create new group
      2. Enter email group configuration label
      3. Enter To and/or CC and BCC addresses
    17. Click Next
    18. Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 9.10.04 AM.png
    19. Enter notification configuration label
      • Only AlphaNumeric characters, no spaces or special characters except: - and _
    20. Select type = SNAPSHOT
    21. Select state = Whether or not to send notifications when a new snapshot is found (NEW), when a snapshot is about to be deleted (WARNING), and/or when a snapshot has been deleted (DELETE)
    22. Select format
    23. Enter From address
    24. Enter Title
    25. Enter Body
      • In the documentation they have some notification examples which you can just copy/paste and customize, which is very helpful.
    26. Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 9.19.44 AM.png
    27. Click Submit
  5. Add Notification Group Configuration
    1. Select Catalog -> SovLabs vRA Extensibility
    2. Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 4.08.11 PM.png
    3. Click Request on “Add Notification Group Configuration”
    4. Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 4.08.56 PM.png
    5. Enter Configuration label
      • Only AlphaNumeric characters, no spaces or special characters except: - and _
    6. Select Type = snapshot
    7. Select Notification = previously create notification configuration.
  6. Add Snapshot Configuration
    1. Select Catalog -> SovLabs vRA Extensibility
    2. Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 9.45.42 AM.png
    3. Click Request on “Add Snapshot Configuration”
    4. Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 9.46.15 AM.png
    5. Enter Configuration label
      • Only AlphaNumeric characters, no spaces or special characters except: - and _
      • sovlabs_snapshot_config_BG_all_2days
    6. Select SovLabs vRA CAFE Endpoint from dropdown.  This was configured earlier.
    7. Select SovLabs vRA IaaS Endpoint from dropdown. This was also configured earlier.
    8. Select Notification Group.  Make sure you have a notification group of type snapshot define. This was also configured earlier.
    9. Select if you want to manage snapshots for all business groups = yes
    10. Enter snapshot lifespan in days
      1. Per VMware’ recommendation try to stay within less than 3 days
    11. Enter the days before expiration a warning notification should be send out.
    12. Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 4.14.42 PM.png
    13. Click Next
    14. Set the snapshot scheduler.  So the scheduler you set here goes out and checks each VM if they have a snapshot that might be expiring or is expired and needs to be deleted.  Once create, a vRO schedule task is created which runs every 15min to make sure that the snapshot scheduler sends out the notification at the specified time.
    15. Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 4.36.03 PM.png
    16. Leave schedule as active
    17. Set schedule type = daily
      • most customers would pick daily
    18. Set the time to run in military format
    19. Can leave schedule end date blank to run forever.
    20. Click Submit

Enable the module:

  1. Based on the set scheduler, an inventory update will automatically run and send notifications.
    • If a snapshot’s age has met the expiration day, it will automatically get deleted.
  2. The last SovLabs Snapshot Configuration deleted, deletes the vRealize Orchestrator scheduled task for Snapshot Management.  It automatically creates it again if a snapshot configuration is created and scheduled task is not found.

Disable the module:

  1. Login to the vRA tenant
  2. Select Catalog -> SovLabs vRA Extensibility
  3. Click Request on “Manage Snapshot Scheduler”
    1. Select Suspend from the Action dropdown list.
    2. Click Submit
    3. (if you want to resume this module again you can perform the same actions as above but select Action “resume” from dropdown list.

 

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