VCenter CapacityIQ by the numbers

Knowledge is power, and vCenter CapacityIQ provides metrics on vital infrastructure resources. Armed with this data, you can make sound logistical and workload decisions.

Host resources are a precious commodity in virtual infrastructures. To maximize your return on investment and the

benefits of virtualization, you must make the most of them.

VMware vCenter CapacityIQ reports on CPU, memory and disk I/O usage, which enables you to right-size vSphere infrastructure and prevent common virtualization challenges, such as virtual machine (VM) sprawl.

CapacityIQ is available as a standalone product and is also bundled with the Advanced and Enterprise editions of vCenter Operations, VMware's new operations management software. At some point, CapacityIQ and Operations may merge into a single product. Until then, here's what VMware's resource-reporting and planning tool can do.

The capabilities of vCenter CapacityIQ
VCenter CapacityIQ is a pre-built virtual appliance, deployed from an Open Virtualization File format, so it can be exported directly into vCenter Server. VCenter CapacityIQ focuses on three areas in vSphere:

  • Awareness provides current resource information, in addition to historical resource-usage information and future capacity predictions based on previous resource-usage trends.
  • Optimization displays information on VMs that have too many assigned resources or no longer use the allocated resources. You can use this data to reclaim wasted resources.
  • Prediction plans future resource capacity and needs, based on what-if scenarios. You can model capacity changes by hypothetically adding or removing VMs and hosts, as well as upgrading host resources.

VCenter CapacityIQ logistics
VCenter CapacityIQ requires vCenter Server version 4.0 or later and ESX/ESXi host version 3.0.2 or later. The CapacityIQ virtual appliance also needs two vCPUs, 3.5 GB of RAM and 258 GB of disk space, which is fairly steep. The 258 GB is split into two virtual disks: an 8 GB disk and a 250 GB disk. But you can use thin disks, which initially take up only 12 GB (and you can cap the size at 250 GB). So with thin disks, you don't need to be concerned with the maximum allowable virtual disk size of 258 GB when using the default 1 MB block size.

CapacityIQ collects performance information from vCenter Server using the standard vSphere application programming interfaces. It also uses a built-in PostgreSQL relational database to store information for reporting and modeling. For the user interface, CapacityIQ uses a vCenter Server plug-in

Figure 1
(Click image for an enlarged view.)

CapacityIQ scales pretty well and supports up to 1,000 hosts, 6,000 powered-on VMs and 8,000 registered VMs. But these numbers fall short of the scalability for a single vCenter Server, which is 1,000 hosts, 10,000 powered-on VMs and 15,000 registered VMs. CapacityIQ supports only a single vCenter Server, so for multiple vCenter Server instances, you must install a CapacityIQ appliance for each one.

The licenses for CapacityIQ are managed with standard vCenter Server license keys. CapacityIQ also uses VMware's per-VM licensing model, which is increasingly used throughout the vCenter product line. Licenses are sold in packs of 25 VMs and can be purchased with either Basic support (12 hours a day, five days a week) or Production support (24 hours a day, seven days a week). Prices start at $2,269 for a 25-VM pack with one year of Basic support.

The next installments of this series cover specific vCenter CapacityIQ metrics and how to install VMware's resource-reporting tool.

This was first published in May 2011

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