For those experienced with Commvault will, no doubt, have seen the HTML5 ‘Command Center’ getting royal attention every quarter. Gradually it has been transformed into the Commvault’s Crown Jewel, so much so that at times one could be forgiven for losing sight of some uncut diamonds in the Java CommCell Console, that hopefully will be fully migrated into the Command Center in future updates.
In this blog we look at an often-overlooked feature in Commvault, called Monitoring Policies, then show how you can access the Monitoring Policy Dashboards in the Command Center, and finally reflect on why on earth you are not using these gems right now!
Monitoring Policies are categorised under Log, Activity and System, but they all can be collected under a single SOLR IndexStore.
Commvault, I feel, have heavily overstated requirements for the Index Server. This could frighten off customers wanting to take full advantage of what the product can deliver. In our environment, I have had no problems using a dedicated Server with 20GB RAM and we’ve hardly touched the 550GB disk allocated for the Indexes. This is well below the requirements of 64GB RAM and 2TB SSD for the Index Directory, but you may need to scale up should you fully embrace the Monitoring Policies.
The dedicated monitoring server will need the Index Store Package loaded onto the registered Commvault Client. Once the Index Store Package is installed, you will need to ‘Add an Index Server to your CommCell Environment’ and include the ‘Log Monitoring’ Role and then assign the server with the Index Store package as the Node, along with the directory to store the Log Monitoring indexes. You may need to wait up to 30 minutes for it to fully prep the Apache SOLR, but if it does not come up then it could be because port 20000 is unreachable from the CommServe or because you have not allocated enough RAM to the client. If you want to tune the amount of memory allocated then you can follow the instructions here.
Once you have set that up, you just choose the Commvault Clients that you want to monitor, against the Policy Templates shown here.
It’s pretty straight forward, choose the Monitoring Policy Type
Then the Monitoring Type
Give it a name
Choose the Clients and/or Client Groups
Choose the Index Server and the retention for this monitoring component.
Specify the Schedule Details
Review your Configuration, press Finish and repeat for all the Policy Types.
Once you feel like you have set up all the policies and given enough time for the schedules to collect the data you can now pop into the Command Center to see the dashboards.
From here you can choose either the Log Monitoring Policies or System Monitoring.
The Log Monitoring feature is very straight forward and can be very useful when troubleshooting clients without having to pull the logs from the client and has some of the most useful log filtering features of Commvault’s fantastic troubleshooting application GxTail.
In our environment I was able to centrally pull the Commvault Logs for all clients, with the exception of the Edge Clients where their Commvault instance does not come with the full File System Agent. These clients only come with File System Core, which is a bit of a bummer. I have raised a CMR with Commvault to see if this can be incorporated with a future release.
Now you may be familiar with the Infrastructure Load report found in the Command Center which reports on System Resources (CPU/RAM usage), however, it is the Commvault System Monitoring Policy feature discussed below that is the reason for this blog. The hidden gemstones under here will currently require you to apply a little elbow grease to cut and polish, in order to make them shine.
In our environment running 11.21.15, I found that the System Monitoring was logging performance statistics without error but many of the dashboards would return errors like these.
It is possible that many have tried and gotten to this point and been dismayed, so I did some research into what was going on. It was apparent that the dashboards had slight errors in the way it was querying SOLR DB facets. For example, the query ‘graphtype timechart avg(cpu) by processname’ worked when changed to ‘graphtype timechart avg(progress_CPU) by processname’, and I found that these System Monitoring Dashboard queries requiring some attention were pre-cooked within a stored procedure inside the CommServeDB. When I raised this with Commvault Support, they very kindly compiled a Diagnostic Hotfix (v11SP21_Available_Diag2056_WinX64) that updated the CommServe and now the Media Agent Data Transferred widget needs one last touch up from development. So, if you are running a similar build to 11.21.15 and want to see a performance dashboard like this, then reach out to Commvault Support. Note that when you have the diagnostic patch loaded and then update to 11.22, as we have done, some of the dashboards will return empty graphs with the reason “No data found”.
Looking at the Dashboard below, suddenly we have an easy-to-use visual insight into how your Commvault processes are performing. If you may have been frustrated at troubleshooting an overnight or weekend performance problem through log bundles, I’m sure you will agree that this#DataIsBeautiful. I especially like the fact that these Monitoring Policies can provide a lot of information about what is happening in your environment without having to license any third party software. Certainly, it is very reassuring that I now have historical performance and log data that is Commvault specific which I can use to compare against, should we need to investigate issues on the monitored servers.
Or you can click each graph and drill down into a custom date range to analyse the Commvault Process level statistics.
In summary, at first System Monitoring policies may, unfairly be seen as forgotten diamonds in the rough, but by putting in a bit of effort you can transform them into shiny diamonds that shed light into your environment. Hopefully soon we will see a product update that will fully embrace this fantastic feature within the Command Center for both configuration and dashboard reports.