According to VMware, Infrastructure Navigator is
…a component of the VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite. It automatically discovers application services, visualizes relationships and maps dependencies of applications on virtualized compute, storage and network resources.
Effectively it takes a look at the network connections that are running between your VMs (and physical servers) and works out which applications and services are running on each, and the dependencies – both upstream and downstream – for each VM.
This is particularly useful in large enterprise environments where perhaps application developers have not (shock) documented the dependencies for a particular application. I can think of several times when I’ve been 100% confident that (according to all the documentation provided) I can decommission a server, or the service running on a server, only to have to turn it back on due to a production outage – because an un-documented dependency exists.
Effectively, Infrastructure Navigator leverages VMware Tools to run a netstat command on each VM and work out what connections are being used. It comes with a library of already classified services – e.g. MSSQL running on port 1433 is a pretty obvious service. Non-classified services (or services configured for running on a non-standard port) can be easily added to the library to build up a detailed picture of which VMs depend on each other (as well as “unmanaged” servers/services that are out of the scope of vCenter).
With the release of vCenter Log Insight Public Beta (http://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/vcenter/vcenter-log-insight) I thought I’d strike while the iron is hot and run through the installation and configuration.
Deploying the OVF
This is such a bread and butter task that it doesn’t require more than a few words – it’s definitely worth looking at the Sizing PDF before you deploy (VMware-vCenter-Log-Insight-1.0-Beta-Virtual-Appliance-Sizing.pdf) as it’s not small even for a test installation. If you’re using less than the recommended 8GB RAM there are additional steps to change the heap size for performance.
So VMware's Support Assistant is pretty awesome and it's free! I thought I'd do a quick run through of the installation and set up for anyone who was interested, it's fairly straightforward and if you raise a lot of calls or have multiple calls on the go it's a time saver!
VMware's official page for the Support Assistant is here - https://www.vmware.com/products/datacenter-virtualization/vcenter-support-assistant/overview.html