Customers beginning their journey to the Cloud all start in the same place, and that is by asking:
- What is a Cloud?
- Do I really need it?
- What kind of cloud offering do I need (Public vs. Private)?
- Which components do I need?
- Does it require me to add additional infrastructure to my current environment?
- Can I build it on top of my existing Virtual Environment?
- What are the best practices to deploy VMware vCloud Director?
... and so on. Most of these questions are best answered in VMware's vCloud Architecture Toolkit. The presentations available on that page are primarily designed for someone who is responsible for architecting and designing a Cloud Environment. There are some good implementation examples as well.
Once you have brainstormed your architecture, you want to then then start looking at it from a Cloud Administrator's perspective for how to implement your design. Here is the complete documentation for vCloud Director. It's important to note that each component of the vCloud Suite has its own documentation set. When deploying a particular component, make sure to follow the relevant section.
VMware vCloud Suite 5.1 Components:
VMware vCloud Director
VMware vCloud Connector
VMware vFabric Application Director
VMware vCloud Networking and Security
VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite
VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager
VMware vCloud Automation Center
What follows is a smattering of tips we recommend for your journey to the cloud.
We recommend you take a quick look at the Licensing Guide to understand the Licensing Model. If you already have a vSphere Edition License and want to know how to upgrade to vCloud Suite, take a look at Upgrade paths from vSphere editions to VMware vCloud Suite 5.1 (2032390)
For a new environment, The vCloud Director Installation and Upgrade Guide coupled with Installing vCloud Director 5.1.x best practices(2034092) and
vShield Installation and Upgrade Guide coupled with Installing vCloud Networking and Security 5.1.x best practices(2034173) should help with a fair start to the initial phase of setting up a vCloud Environment.
SSL Certificates is a key component of vCloud Director, you need to be sure that you create and import certificates appropriately. You might encounter the error "Could not verify this certificate for unknown reasons". Take a look at these articles:
- Accessing the vCloud Director Web site fails with the error: Could not verify this certificate for unknown reasons(1032520)
- Generating SSL certificates for VMware vCloud Director(1026309)
Take a note of which supported browsers which can administer your vCloud Environment. Supported web browsers in VMware vCloud Director 5.1(2034554).
Basic Administration Tasks:
Grab hold of the vCloud Director Administrator's Guide which will help you accomplish various tasks such as Creating Provider virtual Datacenters, Organizations, Creating Network Pools, Creating vApps, Managing Templates Users and their permissions etc.
During VMworld 2012 a nice Networking Poster was released by our Technical Marketing Team. Check it out.
One often overlooked component during the Install phase is our Network Ports requirements. A good reference is Network port requirements for vCloud Director 5.1(2034426).
When you create a Provider vDC for the first time you will notice that a VXLAN Network Pool gets automatically created. If the ESXi hosts participating in the cluster are not prepared for VXLAN, you will see an Error in the vCloud Director UI. A good read on VXLAN Configuration for vCloud Director 5.1 can be found here. Another good reference for VXLAN commands using ESXCLI can be found here.
You can also add VXLAN to a Host's Image Profile and use it with Auto Deploy. See Deploy VXLAN through Auto Deploy(2041972).
Choosing the right allocation model is important to deliver service within the defined Service Level Agreements. Though the Administration Guide provides you good information on various Allocation Models, a good supplement to read is this Whitepaper.
When creating vApps make sure the Operating Systems are supported. Take a look at Supported guest operating systems in vCloud Director 5.1(2034491).
With vCloud Director 5.1 we now have the ability to take snapshots of a single virtual machine or the entire vApp. But note that only a single snapshot can be taken. When a vApp snapshot is taken it applies to all child VMs in the start order groups, regardless of whether the child VMs have been separately modified. So let's say you snapshot a vApp where one of the VMs already has a snapshot, a new snapshot is taken for that VM and the existing one is overridden. Also, if you delete the snapshot for a vApp and then snapshot a child VM, then the vApp is again seen as having a snapshot. Note that Snapshots are not allowed for VMs with Independent disks attached.
Storage Profiles was introduced in vSphere 5.0. They can now be utilized in vCloud Director 5.1. Enabling Storage Profiles offers multiple tiers of storage within a single virtual Datacenter. They can either be system generated or user defined. Just creating Storage Profiles is not enough though, they need to be enabled on the Host or Cluster so that vApps can be deployed using them. You enable them using the vSphere Web Client by connecting to your vCenter Server. If not enabled you will see an error message when creating a vApp stating "Cannot Create".
Typically on the Storage Profiles screen you will see a pseudo "*(Any)" storage profile. That denotes all the datastores irrespective of whether the datastore provides any other Storage Profile. Storage Profiles are specified per VM, you can change the functionality by using Storage vMotion. Once changed, you can force Refresh the Storage Profiles (which by default happens every five minutes) by right clicking and selecting "Refresh Storage Profiles" on the vCenter in the vCenters section under vSphere Resources in the vSphere Web Client.
Usually when there are issues surrounding Storage Profiles, the first thing to check would be to ensure "vCenter Inventory Service" and "Profile Driven Storage Service" is operational on the vCenter Server. Also make sure you have the right licensing(Enterprise Plus) which supports Storage Profiles.
In earlier versions of vCloud Director there used to be an option to add a new datastore to the Provider vDC, however that is not possible in vCloud Director since you add Storage Profiles to the PvDC and not individual datastores. By default you get the "*(Any)" Storage Profile which is accessible from the Provider vDC's Resource Pool.
Lastly it is very important to make sure you don’t make changes to the Entities within your vCenter Server which is managed by vCloud Director using the vSphere Client or the Web Client. Doing so might leave the vCloud Director in an inconsistent state.
We recommend you dedicate a good amount of time designing your Solution and make sure it is documented well. Follow the Guides from VMware and you will be just fine. ☺