Monitor VMWare ESX with SCOM & vCenter for free !

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I’ll open with a statement: 3rd party VMWare management packs have their own benefits and you may find this post too light for your monitoring definition.
monitoring ESX Servers could be done in few ways… all based syslog, snmp & DB querying because no agent is available…

After short research I’ve found it very convenient to use VMWare vCenter’s monitoring capabilities…
so… a quick brief:

VMware vSphere has a powerful alerting \ notification system built in called “Alarms”. Alarms can be configured to trigger when specific events, conditions, or states occur in the vSphere infrastructure.
Alarms can be configured at various levels of the VMware host, VM, datacenter, and cluster level.

more about vCenter Alrams you could read here:
http://www.virtualizationadmin.com/articles-tutorials/vmware-esx-and-vsphere-articles/performance-tuning/learn-how-to-configure-vmware-esx-server-alarms.html

To the job !

  1. Configure the SNMP Service on vCenter Server.
  2. Discover the vCenter server as SNMP device.
  3. Configure the SNMP target in the vCenter UI.
  4. Configure Alarms to be sent to SCOM.
  5. Create New SNMP Alerting rule for vCenter

Step 1, make sure you have installed the SNMP service on the vCenter server and configure it to send traps to SCOM Server

Step 2, Discover the vCenter server as SNMP device. Administration -> Discovery Wizard -> Network Devices:

Step 3, Configure the SNMP target in the vCenter UI:

Navigate to “home” tab, under “administration” choose “vCenter Server Settings” -> Choose SNMP from the settings and config the Receiver URL with the SCOM server FQDN and the community string you have set in your SCOM server’s SNMP service:

Step 4, Ready ? Steady, GO ! … Let’s monitor !

Navigate back to “VMs and Templates”, choose the node type you wish to start with, in my screenshots I’ve chosen Datacenter node. after choosing the relevant node, in the right side of the pane navigate to “Alarms”, click the definitions button and.. WALLA !

by default, not all of these alarms are configured to alert so now you have to review all of these and decide what is important to you and tune it as you need, double clicking alarm will open a configuration windows which let you configure thresholds for alert triggering :

As you can see, you can configure Warning & Critical conditions. after done with tuning the alarm, navigate to “Actions” tab to configure the action for alert :

(I had no permission so.. I’m attaching external image)

After choosing “send a notification trap” configure in what condition trap would be sent and how (once \ repeated) :

  • from: Healthy —> Warning
  • from: Warning —> Critical
  • from: Critical —> Warning
  • from: Warning —> Healthy

Step 5, Create New SNMP Alerting rule for vCenter:

Choose SNMP Network Device as a Target. uncheck the “Rule is enabled” and enable  the rule only for the vCenter network device we have discovered before by overriding the rule:

Because we tuning the alerts in the vCenter side I could feel good with myself while checking the “All Traps” checkbox:

Last step is to configure the alert context… you can wait for alert (or simulate one) to see what information in the alert context is needed for you and format it like in the image below:

That’s it. You could use this mechanism to create Monitors which will impact the vCenter state but I found it useless because we have one single object (vCenter as a network device) which represent a big infrastructure.

19 thoughts on “Monitor VMWare ESX with SCOM & vCenter for free !

  1. One Remark: With Opsmgr 2012 this is unfortunately no longer possible due to the fact that OpsMgr2012 does not recognize a WinServer (with VCenter installed) as a valid SNMP Network Device. It always says XYZ Network Devices discovered and your Win VCenter Server has been filtered out…

    1. Hey,
      There is a way to discover a windows as device… it’s unsupported and this is why I don’t write about it…
      maybe some day I will but for now, be aware it is possible by messing with the OpsMgr network core configuration.

      1. Would really like to know how you added the windows server as a network device… My windows servers keep getting filtered out…

        1. In SCOM 2012 you can not add Windows Server as A network device (you can but its not a supported way).

          for a supported way, use Orchestrator to receive SNMP Traps from the vCenter and Create new Alerts within SCOM or.. use SCVMM to manage your ESXs…

  2. I was very pleased to find this web site. I wanted to thank you for your time for this
    particularly wonderful read!! I definitely savored every
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  3. You really make it appear so easy together with your presentation but I
    to find this matter to be really something which I feel I’d never understand. It seems too complicated and very large for me. I am taking a look ahead for your next post, I will try to get the dangle of it!

  4. Hello! I understand this is somewhat off-topic but I
    had to ask. Does managing a well-established website
    such as yours take a massive amount work? I am completely new to blogging but I do write in my journal on a daily basis.

    I’d like to start a blog so I can share my own experience and thoughts online. Please let me know if you have any kind of ideas or tips for brand new aspiring blog owners. Thankyou!

    1. Hey,
      The amount of work is not the issue… If you love to write as I do it won’t be hard to provide your own thoughts, try to be creative and share content which is unique and will be interesting to others… as you can see in my posts I’m trying to be objective and honest with a taste of humor where I can 🙂

      Hope it helped.

  5. i can receive the trap with empty alert description. how to set the alert context to alert description. i have follow the guide seem not working

  6. Nice write-up but I can’t get my vcenter discovered. I keep getting discovery failed. I tried a commandline snmpget and it works just fine.
    Any ideas?

    1. you can’t discover windows based devices with OpsMgr 2012… you will have to do some workaround which is not supported and undocumented.

  7. That is really fascinating, You’re a very skilled blogger.
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  8. That is a very helpful guide
    I’m new to SCOM and you really helped me. thanks a lot
    it shame that the pictures are not shown though

  9. Great post and very helpful. I am able to receive traps from Vcenter but the description isn’t working. It shows {0} {1} instead of description. I even installed Vcenter MIBs but it didn’t help. Also, the images on your page are broken, so couldn’t see the how you modified the description 🙁

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