So what does it do?:
- Metering - collect data on resource consumption
- Costing - identifying how much things cost in terms if hardware, licensing, power, staffing, etc.
- Pricing - giving the ability to add a margin.
- Chargeback - the ability to bill for operational costs
- Showback - the estimated costs, but no billing takes place
The product is a result of an acquisition of Digital Fuel back in 2011. A product called ITBM (IT Business Management) was created which eventually turned into three versions of vRealize Business; Standard, Advanced and Enterprise. Standard provided business management for cloud, advanced included IT financial management and enterprise added service quality features. In 2016, vRealize Business Standard became vRealize Business for Cloud (vRBC), the feature set of vRealize Business Advanced features were moved into vRBC and vRealize Business Enterprise was sold as a company under the original Digital Fuel name. So we now have:
- vRBC Standard: Private cloud metering, consumption analysis, cloud comparison and vRA Service catalogue pricing
- vRBC Advanced: The above + Public Cloud (AWS & Azure) metering, role-based showback, datacenter optimization, reclamation and more advanced reporting
First and foremost, deploy the appliance, all the usual stuff applies; use DNS & NTP, but you must also use UTC as a timezone. When you deploy the appliance, you get the choice to decide what currency the platform will use:
Once the appliance is deployed, it needs to be paired to vRA. To do this, connect to the VAMI (https://appliance:5480) and connect:
After the vRA connection is registered, you will notice absolutely nothing new from within vRA... That is because in order to use the new service, you need to create a custom group, or add the newly added vRBC roles to an existing group:
Put the license in and you'll be on to the vRBC GUI...
One thing which is historical from the old versions of vRB and which I seem to always forget is this; although you've now tied vRA and vRBC together, you must also add the vSphere resource. This is how vRBC calculates what hardware, network, etc. the server is using to give you the cost calculation, otherwise the VM will appear in vRBC, but it will appear as $0.00.
To do so, from the vRA 'Administration' tab, select 'Business Management' and add the vCenter Server. This is also where you can add vCloud Director, AWS, Azure, NSX, EMC Storage. When adding the vCenter server, you might get a note about having to run a data collection.
Back to the Business Management tab, you will see in the top right hand corner a 'Status' link and symbol. This probably has a yellow warning as we've just added the vCenter server and not performed a data collection.
These figures are slightly skewed as I'm using a lot of nested ESXi, but still, this tells me for my two nested Compute ESXi hosts, how much they're costing me... You can see above how the figures are made up, but in order to modify them, you can click on 'Cost Drivers' down the left-hand side and, for example below, modify how much each tier of storage costs.
One other thing that I quite like in vRBC is the ability to see an overall figure of what the datacenter is costing you, broken down into hardware, storage, etc... As I mentioned, I used an administrator account which had more rights than I'd ideally have if this was in production and not my lab - so I can see both my physical datacenter and my virtual datacenter costs:
So for customers who trying to move to a proper private cloud model (i.e, using chargeback or showback), how all this looks from vRA is very user-friendly. Costs are displayed at the time of VM provisioning, and 'View Price Details' will give a breakdown in terms of CPU, RAM, Storage, etc:
And the view from the deployed items tab gives a month-to-date view of what the VM has cost:
There are a few other tools that I really like in vRBC... As well as the ability to manage costs associated with AWS and Azure subscriptions (with the advanced license), what vRBC can also do is compare a deployment scenario across private and public cloud platforms:
This can be customised based on what actual resource you think you might use.
Thanks for reading.