Healthwatch for VMware Tanzu 2.1 Offers Breakthrough Platform Monitoring

March 18, 2021 Jacob Newton

Keeping your distributed systems running smoothly has never been easy. To that end, Healthwatch for VMware Tanzu created an “out of the box” option for tracking the health of your app platform. The module proved to be a big upgrade from homegrown monitoring toolchains.

Platform teams have since come to rely on Healthwatch’s curated indicators, alerts, and visualizations. Of course, software is never done, just shipped, and so we were keen to gather feedback on how to make Healthwatch even more useful. During dozens of feedback sessions, here’s what we heard:

  • “We need a longer data retention window.”

  • “I only want alerts when real anomalies occur.”

  • “I want to construct my own dashboards.”

  • “I want to view all my foundations in a single place.”

  • “I want to use Healthwatch for my Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes deployments.”

We took this feedback to heart, and are pleased to announce the general availability of Healthwatch for VMware Tanzu 2.1. The module is compatible with VMware Tanzu Application Service version 2.7 and higher, as well as VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated Edition 1.8 and higher. Download the bits and review the docs and you will see that Healthwatch 2.1:

  • Retains six weeks of data (or 85 percent of persistent disk) in Prometheus, the popular time-series database

  • Monitors multiple foundations from a single view

  • Monitors both VMware Tanzu Application Service and VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated Edition

  • Features familiar, open source tools and APIs (e.g., Prometheus, Grafana, Alertmanager)

  • Adds OAuth and LDAP as new authentication methods, in addition to UAA

Those enhancements are mostly “behind the scenes.” So let’s take a closer look at how other capabilities show up in the interface.

A visual tour of Healthwatch for VMware Tanzu 2.1

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, we’ve selected a few informative screenshots.

Access foundation health with Healthwatch’s default dashboards and alerts

We didn’t want to lose sight of what made Healthwatch so useful in the first place: default dashboards and alerts configured for you “out of the box.” As such, the home screen displays the features you’ve come to depend on. It also surfaces many of the new workflows in Healthwatch, like customizable alerts and extendable dashboards.

Healthwatch for VMware Tanzu 2.1

Explore metrics and create custom dashboards with Grafana

Of course sensible defaults are part of Healthwatch. But every platform team wants to customize their view of telemetry to suit their needs and individual use cases. Now you can! And what better way to visualize those custom dashboards than with Grafana, the industry standard?

Explore your environment via PromQL

Note the call-out to the “Explore” link. This is your window into your system, and the rich capabilities of PromQL and Grafana, that put you in control of your Healthwatch instance. We encourage you to dig deeper into your system and iterate on the right mix of dashboards that work for you.

Customize alerts, thresholds, and alerting channels

You also told us you wanted more control over alerts. And you wanted to consume them in a variety of channels. Well, you got it!

Simply enter your custom rules in YAML and tell us which channels to use. Healthwatch 2.1 sends alerts via email, PagerDuty, Slack, and webhooks. The configuration interface is shown below.

Create custom alerts and channels

Let’s consider a practical example, that of certificate expirations in your Operations Manager environments. You’ll want to rotate these certs well ahead of their actual expiration date. Here’s what that dashboard could look like:

A custom dashboard for certificate expirations

Once you’ve constructed your dashboard, building the corresponding alerts is a straightforward process.

Create and track your own service-level objectives (SLOs)

Responsible platform teams embrace service-level objectives (SLOs). (We’ve written about this in the past.) To that end, Healthwatch now supports the creation and display of your own SLOs.

Note the error budget stats on the right-hand side. You can now easily understand how much time is in your budget, which you can use to inform your operational duties and mitigate downtime.

Keep tabs on your Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated deployments

Many of you run Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes side by side and wanted to be able to look after both technologies in Healthwatch. Now you can!

Monitor Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated in Healthwatch 2.1

This is a big enhancement, and should be much more convenient for platform teams tasked with managing both products. 

Upgrade to Healthwatch for VMware Tanzu 2.1

There’s a good chance you’ve evaluated the Healthwatch 2.1 beta. Now it’s time to upgrade to the GA version!

Review the documentation below, and get the new version running in your sandbox environment. Then plan your upgrade so you can take advantage of all these new capabilities.

This article may contain hyperlinks to non-VMware websites that are created and maintained by third parties who are solely responsible for the content on such websites.

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