Track VM and sole-tenant node usage for license reporting

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If you bring your own licenses for operating systems such as Windows Server, contractual obligations might require you to track and report how many VM instances, physical servers, and physical CPU cores you're using these licenses on.

This article describes how you can use the open-source tool License Tracker to track the number of VM instances, physical servers, and physical CPU cores you're using, and how you can visualize the results by using Looker Studio.

The License Tracker tool works by analyzing Compute Engine audit logs to determine placements for each VM instance. A placement describes the time period during which a VM instance is running on a specific physical server. Each time a VM is migrated from one physical server to another marks the end of one placement and starts another.

As an example, consider a VM instance that is started and, several months later, stopped again. At some point during its runtime, the VM is automatically migrated from Server 1 to Server 2 and later back to Server 1 again. This history corresponds to 3 placements:

Multiple placements

When you run the License Tracker tool the first time, it analyzes Compute Engine usage of the past 90 days and writes its result to BigQuery. On subsequent runs, the tool analyzes the delta between the last run and the current day, and updates the BigQuery dataset accordingly.

The License Tracker tool replaces the usage reporting feature provided by IAP Desktop.

Costs

This guide uses billable components of Google Cloud, including:

Use the pricing calculator to generate a cost estimate based on your projected usage.

Deploying the License Tracker tool

This section describes how to set up Cloud Run and Cloud Scheduler to automatically run the License Tracker tool once a day.

The following diagram illustrates the solution described in this article:

  • The License Tracker tool is deployed on Cloud Run and configured to analyze the logs of one or more projects.
  • Once a day, Cloud Scheduler triggers the Cloud Run job, causing the License Tracker tool to update a BigQuery dataset.
  • A Looker Studio dashboard visualizes the data from BigQuery and makes it available to users.

Architecture

Create a project

To set up Cloud Run and Cloud Scheduler, create a new project:

  1. Sign in to your Google Cloud account. If you're new to Google Cloud, create an account to evaluate how our products perform in real-world scenarios. New customers also get $300 in free credits to run, test, and deploy workloads.
  2. In the Google Cloud console, on the project selector page, select or create a Google Cloud project.

    Go to project selector

  3. Make sure that billing is enabled for your Cloud project. Learn how to check if billing is enabled on a project.

  4. Enable the Cloud Logging, Resource Manager, Cloud Build, Cloud Scheduler, and Cloud Run APIs.

    Enable the APIs

  5. In the Google Cloud console, on the project selector page, select or create a Google Cloud project.

    Go to project selector

  6. Make sure that billing is enabled for your Cloud project. Learn how to check if billing is enabled on a project.

  7. Enable the Cloud Logging, Resource Manager, Cloud Build, Cloud Scheduler, and Cloud Run APIs.

    Enable the APIs

Deploy the application

You now deploy the License Tracker tool to Cloud Run:

  1. In the Google Cloud console, open Cloud Shell by clicking the Activate Cloud Shell Activate Cloud Shell. button.

    Go to the Google Cloud console

  2. Set an environment variable to contain your project ID:

    gcloud config set project PROJECT_ID
    

    Replace PROJECT_ID with the ID of your project.

  3. Set the Cloud Run region to to deploy to:

    gcloud config set run/region REGION
    

    Replace REGION with a region that supports Cloud Run and Cloud Scheduler.

  4. Create a service account for the tool:

    SERVICE_ACCOUNT=$(gcloud iam service-accounts create license-tracker \
      --display-name "License Tracker" \
      --format "value(email)")
    
  5. Allow the service to create and access a BigQuery dataset and to start Cloud Run jobs in the same project:

    gcloud projects add-iam-policy-binding $(gcloud config get-value core/project) \
      --member "serviceAccount:$SERVICE_ACCOUNT" \
      --role "roles/bigquery.admin"
    
    gcloud projects add-iam-policy-binding $(gcloud config get-value core/project) \
      --member "serviceAccount:$SERVICE_ACCOUNT" \
      --role "roles/run.invoker"
    
  6. Allow Cloud Build to perform Cloud Run deployments and manage Cloud Scheduler jobs:

    PROJECT_NUMBER=$(gcloud projects describe $(gcloud config get-value core/project) --format='value(projectNumber)') \
    
    gcloud iam service-accounts add-iam-policy-binding $SERVICE_ACCOUNT \
      --member "serviceAccount:$PROJECT_NUMBER@cloudbuild.gserviceaccount.com" \
      --role "roles/iam.serviceAccountUser"
    
    gcloud projects add-iam-policy-binding $(gcloud config get-value core/project) \
      --member "serviceAccount:$PROJECT_NUMBER@cloudbuild.gserviceaccount.com" \
      --role "roles/run.developer"
    
    gcloud projects add-iam-policy-binding $(gcloud config get-value core/project) \
      --member "serviceAccount:$PROJECT_NUMBER@cloudbuild.gserviceaccount.com" \
      --role "roles/cloudscheduler.admin"
    
  7. Clone the GitHub repository and switch to the latest branch:

    git clone https://github.com/GoogleCloudPlatform/gce-license-tracker.git
    cd gce-license-tracker
    git checkout latest
    
  8. Submit a build to Cloud Build:

    gcloud builds submit . --substitutions=_REGION=$(gcloud config get-value run/region)
    

    The build deploys the License Tracker application to Cloud Run and configures Cloud Scheduler to trigger the job once a day.

    The build takes about 3 minutes to complete.

Selecting projects to analyze

The License Tracker tool analyzes all Google Cloud projects for which all of the following conditions apply:

  • The Compute Engine API is enabled.
  • The project grants Compute Viewer (roles/compute.viewer) and Logs Viewer (roles/logging.viewer) access to the tool's service account.

To include a project, folder, or an entire organization in the analysis, do the following:

Project

SCOPE_ID=RESOURCE_PROJECT_ID
SCOPE_TYPE=projects

gcloud projects add-iam-policy-binding $SCOPE_ID \
  --member "serviceAccount:$SERVICE_ACCOUNT" \
  --role "roles/compute.viewer" \
  --condition None
gcloud projects add-iam-policy-binding $SCOPE_ID \
  --member "serviceAccount:$SERVICE_ACCOUNT" \
  --role "roles/logging.viewer" \
  --condition None

Replace RESOURCE_PROJECT_ID with the ID of the Google Cloud project that you want the License Tracker tool to analyze.

Folder

SCOPE_ID=RESOURCE_FOLDER_ID
SCOPE_TYPE=folders

gcloud resource-manager folders add-iam-policy-binding $SCOPE_ID \
  --member "serviceAccount:$SERVICE_ACCOUNT" \
  --role "roles/compute.viewer" \
  --condition None
gcloud resource-manager folders add-iam-policy-binding $SCOPE_ID \
  --member "serviceAccount:$SERVICE_ACCOUNT" \
  --role "roles/logging.viewer" \
  --condition None

Replace RESOURCE_FOLDER_ID with the ID of the folder that contains the projects that you the License Tracker tool to analyze.

Organization

SCOPE_ID=ORGANIZATION_ID
SCOPE_TYPE=organizations

gcloud organizations add-iam-policy-binding $SCOPE_ID \
  --member "serviceAccount:$SERVICE_ACCOUNT" \
  --role "roles/compute.viewer" \
  --condition None
gcloud organizations add-iam-policy-binding $SCOPE_ID \
  --member "serviceAccount:$SERVICE_ACCOUNT" \
  --role "roles/logging.viewer" \
  --condition None

Replace ORGANIZATION_ID with the ID of your organization.

Starting the initial analysis

You can now start an initial analysis:

  1. In the Google Cloud console, go to Cloud Run > Jobs.

    Go to Cloud Run jobs

  2. Select the license-tracker job to open the job details.

  3. Click Execute.

    Depending on the number and size of projects that you selected, the initial analysis might take several hours to complete.

    When the job completes, your project contains a BigQuery dataset named license_usage.

  4. Optionally, view logs in Cloud Logging:

    Go to Logging

Creating a dashboard

You now create a Looker Studio dashboard by creating a copy of a sample dashboard:

  1. Copy the dashboard's data sources:

    1. Nodes
    2. Licensed nodes
    3. Nodes histogram
    4. Instances histogram

    For each of the data source, do the following:

    1. Click the link above to open the data source.
    2. Click Make a copy of this data source.
    3. Click Copy data source.
    4. If you're promoted to connect the dashboard to BigQuery, click Authorize.
    5. Optionally, click the header and rename the datasource.
    6. In the list of billing projects, select the project that you used to deploy the License Tracker tool.
    7. Click Reconnect.
    8. In the Apply connection changes dialog box, select Apply.
  2. Copy the dashboard:

    1. Open the sample dashboard.

      The dashboard isn't connected to a datasource, so it doesn't show any data.

    2. Click … > Make a copy

    3. In the Copy this report dialog, select your copies of the data sources:

      Copy dialog

    4. Click Copy report.

      The dashboard now shows the data from your BigQuery dataset.

Granting other users access to the dashboard

The dashboard's data sources are configured to use the viewer's credentials to access BigQuery. To grant another user access to the dashboard, you must:

  1. Share the dashboard and grant the user permission to view the report.
  2. Grant the BigQuery Data Viewer (roles/bigquery.dataViewer) and BigQuery Job User (roles/bigquery.jobUser) roles to the user. You can grant these roles at the dataset or project level.

Customizing the dashboard

You can customize the dashboard by using the Looker Studio report editor to modify existing charts or to add additional charts.

All charts in the sample dashboard are based on the placements view in the BigQuery dataset. This view contains all placements across all projects and uses the following schema:

Column Data type Description
instance_id INTEGER Instance ID
instance_name STRING Name of instance
instance_zone STRING Zone ID of instance
instance_project_id STRING Project ID of instance
tenancy STRING S if running on sole-tenant node, F otherwise
server_id STRING Unique ID of physical server
node_type STRING Sole-tenant node type
operating_system_family STRING WIN, LINUX, or null if unrecognized
license STRING License string used by image
license_type STRING BYOL, SPLA, or null if unrecognized
start_date TIMESTAMP Beginning of placement
end_date TIMESTAMP End of placement

You can use the placement view when customizing existing charts or adding your own charts to the dashboard.