A handy little tool that was useful for me which might come in handy for others too while working on my VSAN VM Storage Policy recovery article is the SPBM (Storage Policy Based Management) MOB which works similar to the vSphere MOB and FDM MOB for those of you who have used this interface before. The MOB stands for Managed Object Browser and simply put is an interface that allows you to browse the objects and properties of your vSphere environment by just using a web browser. You can also interact with the MOB by executing the same set of vSphere API methods as you would if you were to write a script or application which is useful for quickly getting a sense of what a certain property might look like or the output of an API method without writing a single line of code.
In vSphere 5.5, there is now an SPBM API which is available as a separate API endpoint on the vCenter Server. This new API allows you to manage the full lifecycle of a VM Storage Policy formally known as VM Storage Profiles from a programmatic standpoint which is very important when working with VSAN as everything is policy driven. For more more details about the new SPBM API, please take a look here. As mentioned earlier, one great way to learn about the API is by exploring the MOB and luckily the SPBM API includes one!
To access the SPBM MOB in vSphere 5.5, you will need to point your browser to your vCenter Server as that is where the endpoint is exposed using the following URL format:
To access the SPBM MOB in vSphere 6.0, you will need to point your browser to your vCenter Server as that is where the endpoint is exposed using the following URL format:
You will be prompted for your vCenter Server credentials before the MOB will allow you to login. Once you are logged in you will be brought to the main service content of the SPBM endpoint similar to the vCenter Server service content and you can then click on content link to explore the various sub-managers that are available.
To quickly show you around, I will provide a couple of examples using the ProfileManager and I am sure you can probably guess what type of functionality it provides :). The first method that we will take a look at is the PbmQueryProfile which will return the list of available VM Storage Policies that have been defined. You will need to set the resourceType property to "STORAGE" and remove the profileCategory and then click on "Invoke Method".
If you are using VSAN and you do not have any VM Storage Policies defined, there will still be two default VM Storage Policies that is automatically created when VSAN is enabled. What you will see are the internal identifiers for each of the VM Storage Policy and as you can see from the output I have 5 VM Storage Policies.
You will notice that the output does not contain the human readable display name for each VM Storage Policy, to retrieve that information we will need to use the PbmRetrieveContent which accepts a list of VM Storage Profile ID's and in return provide the human readable name as well as other properties such as the initial creation date and last modified date. Using the pre-canned input form, you can specify one or more VM Storage Profile IDs from the previous step and then click on "Invoke Method".
In my example, I specified two of my VM Storage Policies and I can see they map to the names "Aluminum" and "Copper" which is what I named them when I first created the policies.
From here on out, we will be using the VM Storage Policy ID as that is what is used to uniquely identify a VM Storage Policy and input for majority of the SPBM API methods. Now if we want to see what objects (VM Home directory or VMDKs) are associated with a particular VM Storage Policy we can use the PbmQueryAssociatedEntity method. You will need to provide the VM Storage Policy ID and remove the entityType and then click on the "Invoke Method".
As you can see from the output this a virtualMachine object type which tells us this VM Storage Policy is used for the VM Home. Lets go ahead and specify a VM Storage Policy that is used for a Virtual Machine's VMDK and see what that looks like.
We now see the object type is virtualDiskId and you can see the particular VMDK and the associated Virtual Machine by looking at the key which has the format of vm-mo-ref:vmdk-key. Now what if we wanted to perform the reverse look up, by providing only a Virtual Machine or VMDK as input? Well, we can easily do this lookup by using the PbmQueryAssociatedProfiles method. This API method requires you to specify three parameters: objectType, key and serverUuid (technically speaking the serverUuid can be left out).
From the above examples you will get an idea of what the expected input format is for either a Virtual Machine or VMDK query.
Here is an example of a Virtual Machine query:
Here is an example of a VMDK query:
Hopefully this quick introduction of the SPBM MOB will give you a good idea on how you can leverage this interface, especially if you plan on using the new SPBM API to automate and manage your VM Storage Policies.