VMware vCloud Usage Meter 4.5: Upgrade and What’s New

In this post, I’ll be covering what’s released within VMware vCloud Usage Meter 4.5 along with the streamlined upgrade steps to this release.

Upgrade

As with 4.4, this 4.5 release provides an in-place upgrade method to simplify continued manageability.

To start, we mount the ISO image and utilize the following steps to upgrade the appliance (standard documentation here).

ISO mounted and pre-upgrade snapshot taken:

SSH to your appliance and switch to the root user:

usagemeter@um-offline [ ~ ]$ su -
Password: 
Last login: Wed Feb 24 23:30:32 UTC 2021 on pts/0
root@um-offline [ ~ ]# 

Create a upgrade directory and mount the ISO to the directory:

root@um-offline [ ~ ]# mkdir /root/upgrade
root@um-offline [ ~ ]# mount -o loop /dev/cdrom /root/upgrade

Start the upgrade by calling the bash script and confirming you have a snapshot:

root@um-offline [ ~ ]# bash /root/upgrade/upgrade-um.sh 
Has a snapshot of the vCloud Usage Meter appliance VM been created on the vCenter Server environment that it's running on? (y/n): 

You will see packages being updated and/or installed. This will take a few minutes. Once complete, you’ll see a message stating the appliance has been upgraded to 4.5 and requesting a reboot:

Finally, one thing to note. Post-reboot, you might notice the SSH fingerprint changed. This is expected – just delete your entry from your .known_hosts file:

New Features

Next, let’s discuss the new features available within Usage Meter 4.5.

Standalone vROps Registration and License Groups

First, we can add standalone vRealize Operations (vROps) instances. Previously, vROps must be detected via a vCenter instance (MOB registration). This is no longer needed as we can directly add a vROps instance within the user interface.

Adding a standalone vROps instance is straightforward. Provide the FQDN/IP and credentials:

The end benefit is a provider can now provide multiple editions of vROps and scope it to a specific tenant and/or resource environments.

Note – by default now, we do NOT auto-detect a registered vROps instance. You must explicitly register vROps going forward.

Second, with vROps 8.6 or above, we natively support vROps license groups. License groups allow us to create a group of objects (VMs) for vROps collection. In turn, this allows us to provide selective licensing to a sub-set of VMs. For example, this could be a specific tenant environment. Most importantly, this moves us away from creating restrictive service accounts and utilizing a native (and elegant) way of providing selective vROps licensing.

In summary, this is a significant addition that would help providers scale out different vROps versions for single and multi-tenant cloud environments.

Native Horizon Collector

Next, I am most excited about this addition. We now have the ability to automatically meter native Horizon environments within Usage Meter. Therefore, my script is no longer needed for VCPP metering.

Adding a Horizon environment is similar to other products: provide the FQDN, Domain, and credentials to the respective Horizon instance.

As you might know, Horizon usage is based on the highest concurrent connections per month. Usage Meter will track the calendar month statistics and will reset at the beginning of a new month.

This supports standard Horizon desktops along with Horizon Apps usage.

vSAN and NSX Logic Update

There are several new additions for vSAN and NSX-T logic mapping. Below is a summary of the new features Usage Meter can detect.

vSAN

vSAN EditionFeature
StandardShared Witness
StandardHCI Mesh
EnterpriseData in Transit Encryption
EnterpriseCloud Native Storage

As for NSX-T, there are four new features that Usage Meter 4.5 can detect. Do note this does not apply to NSX-v.

NSX-T EditionFeature
AdvancedIntegration with Distributed Firewall (this is Service Insertion)
AdvancedIPv6 with Dynamic Routing, Allocation, and Services
AdvancedNSX Distributed IDS
Enterprise+ NSX Federation

I am pleased to see continued automatic detection of these advanced features for cloud providers.

Virtual Appliance Management Interface (VAMI)

Next, we now have the Virtual Appliance Management Interface (VAMI) platform available within the appliance. One can access this by adding port 5480 within your web browser –

From this interface, your typical VAMI capabilities are now available. Also, all proxy settings are established now within this interface –

Syslog configuration is available and the VAMI UI also has some nice basic performance stats:

Miscellaneous Enhancements

Finally, there’s a few additional enhancements I’d like to point out.

Hashing

Previously, anonymization/hashing of all reports was enabled by default. To decrypt a report, one must utilize the CLI script which was rather tedious. We can now configure hashing and anonymization on a per-category basis.

There are three available options:

Redaction removes any personally identifiable information (PII) from the report while hashing utilizes the one-way hash (generated by the appliance) for anonymization.

Network Configuration

Up next – let’s discuss networking. I continue to see network issues with Usage Meter – predominately DNS and operational awareness.

The new VAMI interface provides a direct method to reconfigure network settings –

Syslog capabilities are now natively introduced also. This can work with VMware vRealize Log Insight or any standard syslog collector.

Summary

In conclusion, these are significant additions to VCPP metering. I’m happy to see several roadmap items make this release. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

-Daniel

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