Using Customer Monthly Reporting in Usage Meter 4.4

With the release of vCloud Usage Meter 4.4, we have re-introduced Customer Monthly Reporting inside of Usage Meter and Usage Insight. In this post, I will walk through some of the newer capabilities and differences with this level of granular reporting.

Introduction

First, let’s discuss what Customer Monthly Reporting (CMR) provides. In essence, this allows a VMware Cloud Provider to create specific, granular reporting rules. These explicit rules will generate an aggregated usage report based on a subset of the metered VMware platform. By default, Usage Insight will auto-aggregate all registered usage within your Monthly Billing Order. We now have the capability of providing reporting rules based on an object hierarchy.

The practical use of the CMR is to provide granular reporting based on specific objects or tenants within a provider environment. For example, a provider might want to ascertain the unit consumption for a subset of their environment (VCD organization, vCenter folder, cluster, and so forth). This report is for your use – we do not use it for the Monthly Billing Order (and it does not transmit over to the Commerce Portal at this time).

With previous versions of Usage Meter 4.x, the Monthly Usage Report (MUR), VM History Report (VMHR), and Cluster History Report (CHR) were available.

We now have an additional report named Customer Monthly Report (CMR). This was a feature of the Usage Meter 3.6.x platform and is now re-introduced inside of the 4.x code train.

As shown above, Usage Meter sends metric data to Usage Insight. While I will explore the configuration of customer monthly reporting shortly, all reporting resides within Usage Insight.

Considerations

There’s a few items you should be aware of when using this new enhancement.

  1. You must be utilizing Usage Meter 4.4 or later. This is an in-place upgrade from Usage Meter 4.3. Note the upgrade process is a little different: you must mount the ISO and run the upgrade from the CLI.
  2. There are no changes required for Usage Insight. The team has enhanced the portal to allow for propagation of Customer Reports.
  3. Usage Insight updates reports and rules every 24 hours. Therefore, you will see a delay in newly created rules and reports within Usage Insight.
  4. Customer Monthly Reports are for a provider’s use. The VMware Commerce Portal only utilizes the Monthly Usage Report for aggregated monthly usage.
  5. While you will see mapped VM names within the local Usage Meter instance. Since all metric data is anonymized before transmission, the mapping logic only resides locally.

Reported Products

There are specific products that are available for Customer Monthly Reporting. Note that not all products will be included, such as vSAN or SRM. As of May 2021, the below list is what is covered by the CMR.

VMware vCloud SP Core Bundle (vSphere, VCD, NSX Base are included)
Add-ons
VMware Cloud Foundation for SDDC Manager
Tanzu Basic (vRAM)
VMware vRealize Operations Standard Add-on
VMware vRealize Operations Advanced Add-on
VMware vRealize Operations Enterprise Add-on
VMware vRealize Network Insight Advanced Add-on
VMware vRealize Network Insight Enterprise Add-on
VMware NSX DC SP Professional
VMware NSX DC SP Advanced
VMware NSX DC SP Enterprise+
Standalone
VMware NSX Enterprise (NSX-v standalone reporting)
VMware vRealize Operations Standard (managed)
VMware vRealize Operations Advanced (managed)
VMware vRealize Operations Enterprise (managed)
VMware vRealize Network Insight Advanced (managed)
VMware vRealize Network Insight Enterprise (managed)

Customer Monthly Report Configuration

Once you upgrade to version 4.4, we will now see a new header called “Customers” within the Usage Meter interface –

Rules

There are two sub-sections under Customers, Rules and Audit. One can create new Rules by pressing Add –

From a Product perspective, one can select vCenters or VCD instances. Based on the product selection, your object type will change. For example, selecting a VCD instance will allow a provider to create rules based on organizations –

Within a vCenter instance, we have several different objects available (the root vCenter server, Datacenter, Cluster, Resource Pool, Host, and Folder) –

You can only create a single customer rule that maps to a unique object. For example, if you attempt to create a new customer label and attempt to map it to a previously used object (explicit object), it will not be available for use. In my below example, I have already mapped to my Atlanta VCSA with customer label “Atlanta Usage” –

However, one could select a different type of object and create a new type of rule. If the new object overlaps, a warning symbol is shown. In the example below, this cluster object is already mapped to a vCenter instance –

When selecting an object, you must move over the explicit object within the Selected Objects panel –

Once completed, we will see the new Rule available –

Audit

Next, the Audit section allows a provider to see the mapping (or lack of mapping) of specific workloads within a metered solution. For example, we can see that my newly created VCD rule has a singled mapped VM –

Clicking the Download TSV button is handy to review any further details.

If there’s not a rule present for a specific object, we will see non-mapped workloads under the “Not Mapped Virtual Machines” sub-tab:

“Missing Target Objects” and “Virtual Machines with Overlapping Rules” are also available for review and covers similar functionality that was in 3.6.1.

As noted in a previous section, VM names – or identifiable information – is only available within the local Usage Meter appliance. This granular mapping is not available within Usage Insight as we do not collect any personally identifiable information (PII).

Usage Meter Customer Monthly Reporting

Finally, the provider can retrieve the reporting results from the Usage Insight organization.

Log into cloud.vmware.com -> select your specific Usage Insight organization -> click on Usage Insight -> Reports

From the screenshot above, we can see my two customer labels (Atlanta and Denver) along with a No Customer Label selection. By default, anything that is not mapped to a customer label will show up as “No Customer Label” within the report. We can also see this is a partial report due to the blue banner.

If we download the report (by clicking Download All Reports), we can inspect the TSV file and see the same output, but in a consolidated file –

Note the file structure in the zip file includes the Monthly, VM History, and Customer Monthly report. In this specific lab environment, I do not have vSAN, so I do not see a Cluster History Report.

Again, as noted before, new rules and mappings will refresh every day, so you will not see changes/revisions immediately.

Summary

The Cloud Services Business Unit has done a great job of bringing this much needed functionality back to Usage Meter. I find the user interface intuitive and the mapping of rules is very easy to use. I look forward to seeing a Usage Insight API available in the near future.

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