This article demonstrates improving costing visibility by walking you through multi-tenant cost models, automated deployment, user-selectable deployment destinations and the VM Billing report. These features in concert provide information to help you minimize costs.

Our example organization has two main levels in its virtual infrastructure: a pre-production lab and a cheaper development lab, both residing on the same managed system. We want to make sure costs are optimized for both labs.

Here’s how to set up vCommander® to provide cost visibility for this scenario.

Create Cost Models

Cost models allow you to assign distinct CPU, memory, storage, operating system, support and custom costs to different parts of your infrastructure. You can assign different costs to high-end versus low-end compute resources, to different hypervisor platforms, or to different groups of consumers. vCommander uses cost models to generate information in reports that can help you manage your virtual infrastructure resources.

To create a cost model for each lab:

  1. Browse to Configuration > Costs and choose the Cost Models tab.
  2. vCommander’s default cost model contains global settings which you can copy when creating new models. Select the Default Cost Model and click Copy.
  3. On the Name and Targets page, name the first model Pre-production and select the pre-production datacenter in the tree.

  4. Use the wizard to specify appropriate costs for your pre-production lab. On the Storage page, specify the default storage tier for this cost model.
  5. Repeat the process for the development lab.

Here’s a summary view of our two cost models:

vCommander also provides a tree view of your cost model setup:

Set up the Service Catalog

To set up the Service Catalog, you need to create a Service Catalog entry and add the Destination control to the New Service Request form, so that users can select the appropriate deployment destination.

To add a Service Catalog entry:

  1. Browse to Configuration > Service Request Configuration > Service Catalog and click Add Service.
  2. On the Service Description page, give your service a name. Ours is named Ubuntu Linux.
  3. On the Components page, add a component from the managed system where you set up the deployment destinations.

  4. Accept the default settings for the rest of the wizard pages.

To add Destination control to the New Service Request form:
  1. Browse to Configuration > Service Request Configuration > Form Designer.
  2. Select the Default Service form.
  3. In the Toolbox, click Destination to add the element to the form.

  4. Use the arrows to move Destination to the desired location in the form.
  5. Click OK on the Destination form element, and then click Save to save the form.

Set up Automated Deployment

Automated deployment requires you to set up an approval workflow and create deployment destinations.

To configure an approval workflow for automatic deployment:

  1. Browse to Configuration > Service Request Configuration > Approval Workflow.
  2. Click Add.
  3. On the Name & Type page, specify that the workflow will be applied when a new request is created. Click Next.
  4. Accept the defaults and click Next for the Assigned Groups and Steps pages.
  5. On the Automation Options page, select Automatically deploy approved requests. Click Next.

  6. Click Finish.

To create a deployment destination for the pre-production lab:
  1. Browse to Configuration > Service Request Configuration > Provisioning Configuration.
  2. Under Automated Deployment Placement, click Add.
  3. Provide a name, and use the wizard to select appropriate folder, target host or cluster, networking, storage and disk format.
  4. Review your choices on the Summary page:

Repeat this process as needed to create other destinations from which users can select.

Request a service

Now, let’s put all the parts together and request a service.

  1. Log into the Service Portal and click Request New Service. The Destination control appears on the Service tab. The expected destination, if you let vCommander decide, will be the development lab:

  2. Select Production from the drop-down menu. Service Catalog costs are updated to reflect your choice:

  3. Click Submit Request.

Once you submit the request, it is automatically deployed to the selected destination.

Run the VM Billing report

To determine whether users are optimizing costs through this process, run the VM Billing report to see exactly where users are deploying their VMs. The VM Billing report provides a metered view of actual VM resource allocation and associated cost.

The report is based on VM billing records, which are generated nightly. The costs in the VM billing records, in turn, are calculated from cost models.

To run the VM Billing report:

  1. Browse to Reports > Chargeback & IT Costing > VM Billing.
  2. Click Add Advanced Filters.
  3. In the Filters drop-down menu, select Ownership > Primary Owner Login.
  4. Enter a login name in the text field.
  5. Click Generate.
Here’s a sample report: