How to Create Visio Documentation of Your HomeLab Using Veeam ONE Community Edition
Updated: Nov 27, 2020
In Part Two of this blog series, I'm going to show you how to use Veeam ONE Community Edition to create beautiful and deeply informative Visio infrastructure documentation of your vSphere environment. In this part I assume you've already installed Veeam ONE and connected it to your vCenter Server. If not, go back and check out Part One for details on how to get it installed in a small environment.
Begin by signing in to Veeam ONE Reporter either by launching the shortcut on the Veeam ONE Server desktop or by pointing a browser at https://[VeeamONEServer]:1239 where [VeeamONEServer] is the IP address of the Windows VM where we installed Veeam ONE.
You'll need to authenticate with an account with administrative rights on the Veeam ONE Server. If you're running from the server desktop and logged in as an administrator, just select the option to Use Windows session credentials.
Once you've authenticated select WORKSPACE, Offline Reports, and then Infrastructure Overview (Visio).
Be sure to select Include VMs (it's not checked by default) and then Save as.
Give the report a name and select OK. To be clear, you're not actually running the report at this point, you're just configuring it (i.e. including VMs option) and then saving that configuration to the My Reports folder to be run later.
Before you browse away from this page, also be sure to select Download Veeam Report Viewer. You'll need this to export the reports as Visio files later.
Now head over to the My Reports folder and find your new infrastructure report. From now on you can go straight to this step whenever you want to run a fresh copy of the report, you won't need to recreate it each time.
Select View which will run the report and then prompt you to download the resulting file.
Save the resulting .vmr file to a convenient location.
Now that you have the report, you'll need to convert it to Visio for viewing. You can either do this directly on your Veeam ONE server, or copy the report to another machine and run it there. Whichever machine you choose to do this on however must have Microsoft Visio 2010 or newer installed. Prior to opening the report, you'll also want to install the Veeam Report Viewer you downloaded earlier.
When installing the Veeam Report Viewer, just accept all of the defaults. It's a simple install.
Summary: Copy the Veeam Infrastructure Report (.vmr file) to a machine with Visio 2010 or newer and the Veeam Report Viewer installed.
From the machine with Visio and Veeam Report Viewer installed, open the Veeam Infrastructure Report (.vmr) file. This should start the Veeam Report Viewer which you can find running in the Windows Taskbar.
If you open the Veeam Report Viewer you can watch the progress of the process as it generates the Visio files. For small environments, this should take less than a minute to complete.
The resulting Visio files will be saved in a new folder called My Veeam Reports within the users Documents folder.
Once the process completes, the Index_[date].vsd file should open automatically. If it doesn't or if you are viewing the file later, just manually open it from with My Veeam Reports folder.
IMPORTANT! The very first thing you should do is make sure the Shape Data Window is enabled in Visio. There is a wealth of data about every element in the diagram but you need the Shape Data Window open to see any of it.
You can see in the screenshot below I have selected my ESX host in the Visio diagram and in the Shape Data Window on the left I can see all of the captured information about that item. This technique can be used to view data about every element in the report.
There are 5 VMware sub-reports that you can access by selecting them from the (i) menu in in the Index report. Configuration, Datastore Utilization, Network, Storage, and VMotion.
Here is the VMware Configuration report. You can see each VM as well as state information and as before, clicking on any individual VM or other element will give you loads of extra information in the Shape Data Window. Also notice the (i) in the top right corner that will take you back to the Index page.
Here is a close up of the legend since it's a little hard to see in the first screen shot.
Here is a zoomed in view of the Storage report with an example of some some extra information for a selected VM.
That's it! Now you have an as-built report of your home lab with pretty pictures and tons of drill down data and it was completely free. Any time you make a change, just rerun the report and you'll have an updated version.
Now that you've done that, you can consider the following...
- Keep exploring Veeam ONE and see what else it has to offer.
- Enable Veeam ONE to monitor VBR as well.
- Monitor your Hyper-V infrastructure with Veeam ONE.
- Install the Veeam ONE Monitor Client on your local workstation.