F5 Friday: Top 5 vROps Dashboards to Monitor your BIG-IP Environment

By: Matthew Rumph, Blue Medora


Originally released on September 2015 and updated last month, Blue Medora's VMware vRealize Operations Management Pack for F5 BIG-IP brings F5 BIG-IP monitoring to a new level. Integrating with VMware’s vRealize machine learning analytics, comprehensive alerting and more, the Management Pack is a must-have for F5 administrators running VMware.

I worked as the project manager during the development of this Management Pack and was able to experience first-hand the underlying focus on the needs of the F5 administrator as the foundation of the Management Pack’s features. For this blog, let’s focus on five of the seven expertly designed out-of-the-box dashboards that are included with the Management Pack, and how they can surface that simple snapshot of information that F5 administrators are looking for.

1) F5 BIG-IP World Overview

The World Overview Dashboard is a great first-glance impression into the product, where your F5 administrator can quickly see the high-level overview of your F5 BIG-IP environment. This dashboard has widgets that not only provide clear health statuses of your environment, but also provide easy-to-understand information related to each F5 BIG-IP component. If you’ve ever needed a count of how many Pool Members or Virtual Servers there are in your F5 environment, this dashboard has the answer.

2) F5 BIG-IP Relationships

The F5 BIG-IP Relationships dashboard shows the F5 administrator not only a new way to look at the health of each F5 BIG-IP component, but also how each F5 component relates to the rest of your virtual environment. By simply clicking one of the objects in the tree, all of the related objects will be highlighted.

For example, clicking on an F5 BIG-IP Application Service will highlight what F5 BIG-IP System, Virtual Server, Pool, Pool Member, and Nodes are related. Additionally, the Management Pack also shows how these different F5 objects are related to your VMware virtual environment by highlighting the Virtual Machine and ESX/i Host the F5 component is on.

This level of visibility into your virtual stack allows F5 administrators to quickly identify what systems are affected by outages, or what might be the underlying cause of poor system health. Additional widgets on the right side of the dashboard change to reflect the select object and show health over time, statuses of the object, property information, and performance sparklines.

3) F5 BIG-IP System Details

The F5 BIG-IP System Details dashboard lists the F5 BIG-IP systems that are monitored by the Management Pack in the upper right-hand corner. If you click on one of the F5 BIG-IP systems in this list, the rest of the dashboard updates, to populate  details for that particular system. This dashboard shows information about the system health, properties, component scores, and alerts.

One of the most helpful widgets in this dashboard is the “Top Alerts” widget. It allows  administrators  to see what the top 5 (configurable) most critical issues are on that F5 BIG-IP system. You can then click on the alert to get more details on the alert, as well as  any recommended actions to resolve the issue. If there are larger issues that need to be communicated, having the Property List widget available to see the chassis serial number and other system information can be helpful in communicating issues to team members.

4) F5 BIG-IP Events

The F5 BIG-IP Events dashboard was created to centralize active F5 BIG-IP alerts in one dashboard to easily view and dig further into information, if needed. If you wish to see canceled alerts, you can even edit the widget and enable “Canceled” under the status drop-down. In addition to showing the health, activity, and status of the F5 BIG-IP object the alert is for, this dashboard also has a useful relationships widget that shows you which objects are impacted by this object.

In the screenshot example below, you can see an F5 BIG-IP Node is down. Looking at the relationships widget, we can see what Virtual Machine and Pool Member that downed node is affecting. This kind of information can be critical in the identification of troublesome objects and reduce your related system’s mean down time.

5) F5 BIG-IP Node VM Mashup

To show the powerful relationships that this Management Pack can offer in more detail, we designed a dashboard specifically to show the relationships of the F5 BIG-IP nodes and Virtual Machines inside each pool.

The F5 BIG-IP Node VM Mashup dashboard allows administrators to select a F5 BIG-IP Pool, which populates the related Pool Members and Virtual Machines. Clicking on different Pool Members will update the board again to show the Node and Virtual Machine that are related to that specific Pool Member.

These are only five out of the seven out-of-the-box dashboards Blue Medora offers to get started using VMware vRealize Operations to monitor your F5 BIG-IP environment. If you’d like to learn more about Blue Medora’s Management Pack for F5 BIG-IP or download a trial, please visit the product page on our website.

Published Feb 26, 2016
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