vSphere Networking : Traffic Marking

vSphere network quality control features like the Network I/O Control (NIOC) feature is focused on the virtual networking layer within in a VMware virtual data center. But what about the physical network layer and how the two can cooperate?

In converged infrastructures or enterprise networking environments, Quality of Service (QoS) is commonly configured in the physical network layers. QoS is the ability to provide different priorities to network flows, or to guarantee a certain level of performance to a network flow by using tags. In vSphere 6.7, you have the ability to create flow-based traffic marking policies to mark network flows for QoS.

Quality of Service

vSphere 6.7 supports Class of Service (CoS) and Differentiated Services Code Point (DSCP). Both are QoS mechanisms used to differentiate traffic types to allow for policing network traffic flows.

As related to network technology, CoS is a 3-bit field that is present in an Ethernet frame header when 802.1Q VLAN tagging is present. The field specifies a priority value between 0 and 7, more commonly known as CS0 through CS7, that can be used by quality of service (QoS) disciplines to differentiate and shape/police network traffic. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Class_of_service

One of the main differentiators is that CoS operates at data link layer in an Ethernet based network (layer-2). DSCP operates at the IP network layer (layer-3).

Differentiated services or DiffServ is a computer networking architecture that specifies a simple and scalable mechanism for classifying and managing network traffic and providing quality of service (QoS) on modern IP networks. DiffServ uses a 6-bit differentiated services code point (DSCP) in the 8-bit differentiated services field (DS field) in the IP header for packet classification purposes. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differentiated_services

When a traffic marking policy is configured for CoS or DSCP, its value is advertised towards the physical layer to create an end-to-end QoS path.

Traffic marking policies are configurable on Distributed port groups or on the DvUplinks. To match certain traffic flows, a traffic qualifier needs to be set. This can be realized using very specific traffic flows with specific IP address and TCP/UDP ports or by using a selected traffic type. The qualifier options are extensive. (more…)

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Extending vRops with IBM storage array metrics

During a recent project, we needed to deal with the vast requirement to create a monitoring tooling platform that allowed for extensive monitoring of the entire virtual infrastructure and its related components. All while aiming for a single pane of glass approach. VMware vRealize Operations (vRops) is a perfect solution to facilitate in these areas to meet the requirements.

In this specific case, we needed the storage backend metrics to be listed in vRops. Obviously, you’ll have several datastore metrics to your exposal by default when using the default vRops metric sources. However, the storage backend was used for other systems next to the VMware environment as well. That was one of multiple reasons why we were required to include the metrics directly from the storage arrays. That way the ops team is able to investigate both the storage backend systems from a VMware and external workload perspective.

IBM V7000 arrays were being used. Now, to integrate a external component like storage arrays directly with vRops, you should first have a look at marketplace.vmware.com. Be sure to filter for vRops content management packs. As you can see, a lot of additional packs are available to gain even more insight in your infrastructure!

For vRops to be able to ingest IBM V7000 metrics, we firstly needed the storage array metrics to be consolidated in a piece of software called IBM Spectrum. The important part is that you can use the free license of the Spectrum software to be able to use the metrics in vRops.


First you’ll need to deploy IBM Spectrum and include the IBM V7000 storage arrays to it.

Next, you can configure the VMware vRops server in the IBM Spectrum tooling. That allows you to create and download the PAK file: (more…)

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