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Migrate a VMware Fusion VM to vCloud Hybrid Service

By: Mike Roy, Technical Marketing Manager at VMware

This post is a repost from Mike’s personal blog, mikeroySoft.com.

So, you may have heard that my team at VMware launched the ‘vCloud Hybrid Service.’ It’s pretty exciting, and the way we built it gives instant value to existing VMware customers by allowing them to easily migrate their VMs to the cloud without having to completely rebuild them, or learn a whole new paradigm of how to do IT and deliver infrastructure.

In that vein, the service supports any workload that runs on VMware hypervisor technology, from ESXi/vSphere, all the way up to Fusion and Workstation, making it pretty easy to build a VM locally and then ‘push’ that to the Cloud with minimal tweaking.

In this post, I’ll show the process to migrate a VMware Fusion based Virtual Machine to vCloud Hybrid Service (‘vCHS’ for short). There are some subtle differences between how a Fusion VM works and how a VM that’s living in vCHS needs to behave.

So, cool, but, why do this?

There are several use-cases here. Develop an app locally, and then push to the cloud to make it public. Maybe you want a cloud-backup of an important VM. Maybe you create a standard template and then just clone it in the Cloud.  As you can see, there are many reasons why you would want to migrate a Fusion VM to the cloud.

So with that said, let’s get started!

To start off I created a VM using Fusion. In this case it was a simple Ubuntu 12.04 LTS VM after a fresh install.

I was sure to install VMware Tools while it’s still in Fusion, as Tools is the same regardless of what the host is, just some features are enabled or disabled depending on that host.

So, here’s my VM, with Tools installed, running in Fusion.

Ubuntu-in-Fusion6

First thing we do is power the VM off. Once the VM is powered off, we need to adjust some of its settings while it’s still in Fusion to remove the components, which won’t work in the cloud.

Firstly, let’s turn off the CD drive.

FusionVM-CD-settings

Second, we’ll disable any encryption.  It’s best if the VM was never encrypted in the first place, but if it is encrypted, it will work if you decrypt it.

FusionVM-encryption-settings

 

Turn off 3D Graphics. 

FusionVM-Display-settings

Shared Folders should be disabled as well. If you used this, be sure to disable it while the VM is running, so it removes the mount points (or network drives for Windows).

 

FusionVM-sharing-settings

Of course you want to remove the sound card!

FusionVM-soundcard-settings

 

And the printer as well.

FusionVM-Printer-Settings

Make sure to keep the VM at Hardware Version 9. 
It will also support older versions but I wouldn’t go back beyond version 7.

FusionVM-compatibility-settings

So with all that done, now we need to convert the VM to the Open Virtualzation Format or OVF ,so it’s fully compatible with the vCloud environment. To do this, we use the ‘ovftool’ which comes bundled with VMware Fusion. The command-line only app lives within the VMware Fusion application itself, so you have to know how to reference it properly and how to tell it what to do.

 

Thankfully, ovftool only does 1 thing by default… Export as OVF.

Terminal-ovftool-string

So, the command I had to run is the following (on one line):

/Applications/VMware\ Fusion.app/Contents/Library/VMware\ OVF\ Tool/ovftool /Users/mike/Documents/Virtual\ Machines.localized/Ubuntu-Fusion.vmwarevm/Ubuntu-WP1.vmx /Users/mike/Documents/Virtual\ Machines.localized/Ubuntu-Fusion-OVF.ovf

To break that down…

<path to ovftool> <path to .vmx> <path to .ovf output>

First part is the path to the tool itself.

/Applications/VMware\ Fusion.app/Contents/Library/VMware\ OVF\ Tool/ovftool

On a Mac, / denotes a file structure, whereas \ is an escape character needed in front of spaces in a file path (since Unix command line interfaces don’t handle spaces the same way that the UI of Mac OS X does…). So, it’s actually:

 Applications > VMware Fusion.app > Contents > Library > VMware OVF Tool > ovftool

Second part is the path to the .vmx file. Terminal supports this really neat feature where you can drag a file onto it and it will spit out that file’s path. So, I typed in the path to the ovftool, then just dragged my .vmx from Finder into Terminal.

I got to the VMX by right-clicking the VM in Fusion and clicking ‘Show in Finder’. Then I right-clicked the VM in Finder and clicked ‘Show Package Contents’. From there I just dragged the .vmx file into Terminal and it spit out the path.  Make sure you have a space after the ofvtool string though.

Then it’s just a matter of spitting out the location where you want the ovf and other files to end up.  I made a folder and used that.

If the VM is on an SSD, this goes pretty quick.

Terminal-ovftool-progress

Once the conversion is done, you’re left with a few files… The OVF file, the .vmdk (virtual disk) and a .mf file (which is just checksum data to ensure the integrity of the files).

Finder-OVF-files

Screenshot of the ofvtool output is above.

Now we should have our OVF package ready to upload to vCHS. To do this, we need to get to the vCloud Director interface of vCHS, and specifically the Catalog Management area. From the Portal, there’s a handy button to get right to vCD.

vchs-dash

The Java-based upload tool is what we’ll use to actually upload our .ovf.

vCD-Catalog

 

When we use this tool, it asks us for permission to run the Java apple –  so we say ‘Yes’ and then choose our .ovf file.

Upload-browse-ovf

Give it a description so you know what this is.

vCD-Upload-dialog

Progress indicators, indicating progress!

vCD-upload-progress

After upload, Importing to the Catalog.

Once complete, the VM should now live as a ‘Template’ in our ‘Catalog.’ From here, standard vCD operations begin. We want to ‘Add’ the VM to ‘My Cloud’ to deploy it.

vCD-importing

Time to Cloud!

This process starts a workflow/dialog that we need to step through so the VM lands safely in your “My Cloud.”

vCD-add-to-my-cloud

 

Do not choose NAT! 

vCD-network-pick-notNAT

We can step through the first screen, or change the resources. On Networking, however, we have to change the NIC to Network mapping. Since ‘Cloud’ doesn’t have the VMware Fusion ‘NAT’ network, we have to pick one that exists in this environment. In this case I’m picking my default routed network.

vCD-network-choose

 

Step through the confirmation screen and click ‘Finish’ to kick it off.

When the Deployment / Creation finishes you are in business!

vCD-creating

One thing to note is that thanks to VMware Tools being installed, the new cloud environment forces a password change, so make sure you know where to get that so you can log into the VM! (Hint: It’s in the VM Properties > Guest OS Customization screen, and also in the vCHS Portal itself on the VM’s Settings page).

vCD-password

So, once logged in, I like to make sure networking works before calling it a day…

vCD-console-ping

And there you have it!

In a few steps we took a VM in Fusion, exported it using OVFTool, uploaded it using the Java Upload tool directly into our vCD Catalog in vCHS, and deployed it.

Cool stuff, right?

Michael Roy is the Technical Marketing Manager for vCloud Hybrid Services at VMware. He guides product roadmap and messaging, produces and presents technical collateral, and works across teams to refine product integration strategy. Michael has been with VMware since 2009, and recently relocated to the Palo Alto headquarters.

For future updates, follow vCloud on Twitter and Facebook at @vCloud and Facebook.com/VMwarevCloud.

For more information about the VMware vCloud Hybrid Service, visit vCloud.VMware.com.

OVF upload browser plug-in vulnerability

As VMware previously noted in KB 2076225, a component called ovftool is vulnerable to the Heartbleed OpenSSL bug. This tool is included in a browser plug-in used to upload OVF files (virtual machines) to vCloud Director 5.6, as used in vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS). The affected component, the “VMware Client integration plug in 5.5”, can be downloaded if you choose to directly upload an OVF file using the vCloud Director user interface.

To remediate, close your browser and uninstall the plug-in. The next time you elect to upload an OVF file directly to vCloud Director web interface in vCHS, you can download and install the patched version of the plug-in.

Previous versions are not affected. Other forms of OVF transfer such as vCloud Connector and API uploads are not vulnerable, and the vCHS service itself is also not vulnerable.

A successful attacker could read sections of process memory, potentially revealing sensitive information. It is difficult for an attacker to exploit this vulnerability, as it requires a sophisticated attack on the client and a compromised network.

For additional information about Heartbleed and VMware products and services, please see KB 2076225

Running vCloud Hybrid Service – Disaster Recovery Supporting Infrastructure

by Chris Colotti

With the new release of VMware vCloud Hybrid Service – Disaster Recovery there is one common question that people keep asking me, and that is “Where do I run needed supporting infrastructure like Active Director, DNS, and other things I need?”

You may, or may not, have seen your Disaster Recovery resources are not “Always-On.” What I mean is you are getting them via a subscription that is only holding replicated placeholders on storage until you fail them over. The machines are not using compute and memory until a failure or test failover occurs. In addition, the default leases on the machines is 30 days. This means you cannot stand up a real-time running machine in this offering to hose something like Active Directory and/or DNS and what I refer to in presentations as ‘Infrastructure’ machines. There is a way to solve this challenge, and as with all things cloud, you need to think outside the box.

The fact is most people that do Disaster Recovery today using traditional means run these ‘Infrastructure’ machines hot and always on in the DR site. I’ve almost never seen a Domain Controller get replicated usually because the DR site has a different IP address range. Instead it’s treated as simply another “site” in active directory and certain applications and resources are just running there waiting for failed over machines to use them. This is not always the case, but it’s what I have seen and what I set up when I was an administrator. This being said, there are a few options for solving the need for these running machines outside your vCHS-DR specific subscription.

  • Option #1 – Connect a VPN from a physical to your vCHS-DR resources.
  • Option #2 – Cross Connect to a Cage in a vCHS Data Center where those resources may already be running
  • Option #3 – Purchase a vCHS Virtual Private Cloud or Dedicated Cloud to run them and setup a cloud-to-cloud VPN.

VPN from a Physical Site Option

This option really only works if you have more than one physical site. The obvious reason is if you connect to the primary site you are protecting and it goes down, you are left without the infrastructure you initially needed. Instead if you have two sites and you are only protecting one, you can leverage the other for these resources. Below is this example in a diagram.

02 - Image_1

Cross Connect to a Cage

vCloud Hybrid Service has an add-on option of cross-connect, which is the ability to wire from your vCHS resources directly to a cage you own in the same data center where vCHS is hosted. I’d suspect in most cases if you have a cage, that infrastructure is already connected back to your physical data center and you’ve setup basic resources there you could leverage.

02 - Image_3

The downside here is that today cross connect is not yet available in all vCHS data centers so you’d have a limited list of choices. However, when it becomes widely available, you will have many more options and this will be a very viable solution.

Cloud to Cloud VPN with a Virtual Private Cloud or Dedicated Cloud

The last option is very good especially if you are already considering additional Infrastructure as a Service resources with vCHS. This option is also good if you will be connecting your new standard vCHS resources back to your on premises data center and creating basic services in the cloud to support your deployed applications. Once you have these you are already setup to simply configure a cloud-to-cloud VPN.

image4

This is in fact the setup I used in the tutorial video series located on the tutorials page. The benefit of this is you can run these resources in any vCHS location and connect them together as well as back to on premises. The idea is you need these resources additionally for new applications. This is part of your initial Hybrid Cloud data center extensibility.

Network Considerations

You do have to think about the networking considerations when configuring these VPN connections and things like Active Directory Sites and Services.

  1. For VPN the endpoint networks cannot be the same.
  2. You should define the networks in vCHS-DR as a new “Site” and assign the proper domain controller.
  3. Ensure that your VPN mappings also have the right vCNS Edge Gateway firewall rules for traffic to pass.

In the end, you can solve this problem in more than one way. The intent here is not to give the step-by-step configuration since each setup will be different, but you can see in the diagrams I have tried to show some level of detail on the networking so you can get the basic idea. Hopefully this overview has helped answer your questions and you will decide to give vCloud Hybrid Service Disaster Recovery a try.

Chris is a Principal Technical Marketing Architect with the vCloud Hybrid Services team with over 10 years of experience working with IT hardware and software solutions. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Systems from the Daniel Webster College. Prior to VMware he served a Fortune 1000 company in southern NH as a Systems Architect/Administrator, architecting VMware solutions to support new application deployments. At VMware, in the roles of Consulting Architect, Chris has guided partners as well as customers in establishing a VMware practice and consulted on multiple customer projects ranging from datacenter migrations to long-term residency architecture support. Currently, Chris is working on the newest VMware vCloud Hybrid Service solutions and architectures for vSphere customers wishing to migrate to the VMware Hybrid Cloud Service. Chris is also a VMware Certified Design Expert, (VCDX #37).

New Disaster Recovery to Cloud Tutorial Videos

By Chris Colotti

I wanted to take a few minutes to explain more about the eight new VMware vCloud Hybrid Service – Disaster Recovery tutorial videos that were recently published on http://vcloud.vmware.com/tutorials.  There are approximately 8 videos that cover various areas in order of how you might setup the service.  Although these are meant for someone to use after they have purchased the service, I feel that they can be very useful even if you just want to better understand how you do things within the VMware vCloud Hybrid Service – Disaster Recovery.  Below are brief explanations of each video so you have an idea of what they are all about.

Introduction Video

This video is a short compilation of the individual videos below.  It’s intended to touch on two or three key areas in an abbreviated form as an overview before diving into the individual videos. This video is a great starting point to learn basics about the service.

Prerequisites Video

Before you begin to configure VMware vCloud Hybrid Service – Disaster Recovery, like anything else there are some pre-requisites you need to cover.  This video discusses the basic things you need to have in place before you begin, such as having the right appliance and vCloud Connector components.

Configure Remote Site Video

In this video you will see all the basic steps and information you will need to get a remote site set up and configured within vSphere Replication.  You will see how to select your test and failover network, as well as hear some considerations about networking in general.

Configure Replication Video

This covers everything you need to know to get replication setup on any given virtual machine using vSphere Replication and VMware vCloud Hybrid Service – Disaster Recovery.  You will see there are very few steps involved in getting the actual replication started.

Performing a Test Failover Video

Once you have completed a replication, the next step will be to perform a test failover, which will maintain the replication in the background. This video covers the simple process of performing a failover so you can actually see a test failover in action, and the virtual machine running post test failover. 

Performing a Planned Failover Video

Of course, a planned failover can be done, but it will shutdown the source machines and stop replication. In this video, you will see this process in action. Remember, once complete this process you have to perform a failback – not just a test cleanup as explained in the previous video.

Failing Back to vSphere On-Premises Video

This video is one of the longer in the series, but only because the failback process can be slightly more time intensive.  You will see the complete process for returning the failed over machine back to vSphere on premises.  This video also illustrates the restart of the replication process using the cloud-based machine as a replication seed.

Advanced Concepts Video

This final video is perhaps the most important. In many Disaster Recovery videos, all you see is the failed over machine being powered on. In this video, you will see a Windows Domain member machine logged onto a local Domain Controller failed over. Not only is the machine powered on, but it’s also logged into a new local domain controller in an adjacent vCloud Hybrid Service Virtual Private Cloud via a cloud-to-cloud VPN.

Hopefully these videos help you get a better understanding of the VMware vCloud Hybrid Service – Disaster Recovery offering and how you can use it in your organization.

Be sure to subscribe to the vCloud blog, follow @vCloud on Twitter or ‘like’ us on Facebook for future updates.

Chris is a Principal Technical Marketing Architect with the vCloud Hybrid Services team with over 10 years of experience working with IT hardware and software solutions. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Systems from the Daniel Webster College. Prior to VMware he served a Fortune 1000 company in southern NH as a Systems Architect/Administrator, architecting VMware solutions to support new application deployments. At VMware, in the roles of Consulting Architect, Chris has guided partners as well as customers in establishing a VMware practice and consulted on multiple customer projects ranging from datacenter migrations to long-term residency architecture support. Currently, Chris is working on the newest VMware vCloud Hybrid Service solutions and architectures for vSphere customers wishing to migrate to the VMware Hybrid Cloud Service. Chris is also a VMware Certified Design Expert, (VCDX #37).

Announcing VMware vCloud Hybrid Service – Disaster Recovery: Making DR Simple and Affordable for Businesses

The vast majority of IT applications are not protected by Disaster Recovery because it’s too expensive and too complicated – that changes today with the availability of vCloud Hybrid Service Disaster Recovery.

A worrying minority of applications, both Tier 1 and Tier 2, are protected by DR because of that cost and complexity. vCloud® Hybrid Service™ – Disaster Recovery  is simple to install and operate, and costs just $835 per month for:

  • 1TB of storage
  • 20GB of RAM
  • 10 GHz of stand-by capacity

That’s less than half the price of competing DR offerings, and there is also no initial set-up fee and no requirement to buy professional services.

It works by replicating your virtual machines to vCloud Hybrid Service, where they are stored in a recovery virtual data center. You decide the recovery point objective, from 15 minutes to 24 hours. At any time you can start the VMs to conduct a test or recover from a disaster.

This new disaster recovery service is ideal for organizations that don’t want to have to build and maintain tertiary DR sites – it’s much more cost effective. It’s also useful for organizations that want to protect more applications from data loss and downtime during a disaster, but could not justify the cost and complexity of traditional DR.

Installation is simple: you download and install the replication virtual appliance into your vSphere environment, provide the API address for the vCloud Hybrid Service location of your choice, decide which VMs to protect and the recovery point objective(s) and then you can begin replicating. You can also ship VMware a disk containing your existing VMs to seed the initial replication process, and then only the changes (deltas) are replicated to vCHS.

Many DR services simply throw people (managed services) at the complexity of DR, which is why they’re expensive – and the complexity hasn’t gone away, which can be problematic when you want to recover. vCHS DR was designed to be simple from the outset, which helps to keep costs down – but you don’t have to manage everything yourself if you don’t want to. VMware partners are standing by, ready to help you plan and manage your business continuity and DR strategies.

Other cloud DR solutions only work with a narrow set of operating systems and applications. vCloud Hybrid Service supports the widest range of certified operating systems (90) and applications (more than 5,000) because it’s based on vSphere. No tricky VM conversions are required, which is vital when you have a real disaster and need to be sure you can run all of your applications right away. vCHS runs more versions of Windows than Microsoft Azure, and more versions of Linux than AWS and Google Compute Engine combined.

In the event of a disaster, you can run your applications on vCHS as long as you like, and transfer your VMs and data back to your own site at any time.

Don’t just take it from us though – watch Planview discuss how vCloud Hybrid Service – Disaster Recovery has enabled the organization to cut costs and expand their Disaster Recovery services for customers while enjoying a flexible disaster recovery environment that’s easy to deploy (within a day), suits their needs without requiring a secondary location and is backed up by rock solid support:

To learn more about what VMware Hybrid Cloud – Disaster Recovery can do for your organization, visit vCloud.VMware.com and discover how you can protect your apps. Don’t forget to follow VMware vCloud on Facebook and Twitter for the latest in hybrid cloud news.

The Results Are In! Findings From Our Recent @vCloud Audience Survey

We asked, and you delivered. Thanks to everyone who took the time to fill out our recent audience survey – we feel like we know you all just a little bit better now. For those interested, here’s a summary of what our followers had to say in our recent vCloud audience survey:

Which of the following best describes your role in your organization?

1

Not surprisingly, an overwhelming number of our followers work in IT. Nearly 40% are IT Directors, about 20% are IT practitioners, and IT Managers and VPs of IT each make up 15%.

How large is your company?

2

Nearly 40% of our audience, are at companies with 5000-9999 employees, 40% come from smaller organizations and 20% from larger.

What workloads/applications are you moving, or considering moving, to the cloud?

3

When looking at the workloads that our audience is looking to move to the cloud, 60% are looking at packaged applications, 50% are looking at disaster recovery and 40% are looking at dev/test. Note: In the survey, participants were allowed to select more than one option.

Who are you considering using for your next cloud project to ensure interoperability with your internal data center? 

who are you considering

The majority of respondents, over 60%, said they are considering VMware for their next cloud project in order to ensure interoperability with their internal data center. Amazon and Microsoft follow with a little over 50% and 35% of your vote, respectively. 

Are you a current VMware customer? (if you’re a VMware partner, select “No.”)

5
An overwhelming majority of respondents, 70%, are current VMware customers.

As you can see, most of our audience already has a relationship with us, and for that, we’re thankful. We hope to continue to provide you with useful content about VMware and how the hybrid cloud can benefit your organization, regardless of size. 

Thanks again for everyone who took our survey, and if you were one of the first 200 respondents, enjoy the coffee.

For more information, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @vCloud or ‘like’ us on Facebook at http://facebook.com/VMwarevCloud.

3 Reasons to Never Start an IT Project in Your Data Center Ever Again

By: Josh Gwyther

I’m often asked by customers, “Why should we use the cloud?” and “Why should we use vCHS?” My answer always involves explaining that “Cloud” as a technology by itself isn’t the answer – it’s how you change your mode of operation to take full advantage of vCloud Hybrid Service that is key.

Based on my conversations with customers, here are 3 reasons to never start an IT project in your data center ever again:

1. Projects fail

IT projects don’t often go as planned. In fact, a large majority of IT projects never see the light of day. A study done by McKinsey in 2012 found that 40% of all IT projects fail, and that’s a very conservative number.

There’s no shame in failure – we all experience it at some point. The best batter in the history of baseball, Ty Cobb, only batted .366. Most successful companies in the world have failed many times over, many private, some public. If failure at some point is inevitable, the key is to mitigate your risk, fail fast and recover.

Leveraging VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Service allows you to start a project with the bare minimum or capital and operational resources. This has two major benefits:

  • It mitigates risk. Instead of sinking capital resources and wasting operational manpower into building infrastructure for a project with an unknown outcome, use a state-of-the-art cloud service provided by VMware and just pay for what you need when you need it.
  • It frees up capital and staff. VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Service allows IT to say “yes” to more. It also allows the business to “try everything,” to explore new avenues of revenue and projects without costly ramifications of those that don’t succeed. 

2. Time-to-market

In the not so distant past, a new IT project could take a year or more to launch and that was considered acceptable. Those days are long gone. Agile development has taken over and that means resources need to be available at a moment’s notice, and they need to scale from the smallest of the small to infinity.

Instant resource consumption is the definition of cloud computing, and it’s all there waiting for you to exploit today. By leveraging the instant resource availability of VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Service, IT never becomes the bottleneck, only the enabler, adding value and decreasing the time-to-market of every project.

3. VMware vCloud Hybrid Service Isn’t One-Way

The hard truth is that compared to an efficiently ran data center, the cost of cloud resources come at a premium. You’re paying that premium to mitigate risk and gain agility.

But what about steady state? What about those projects that do succeed and become critical to your business?

With most cloud companies, you’re stuck paying that premium for the life of the application. Most clouds are a one-way ticket. That’s because most clouds are built on an infrastructure that is unique and often proprietary. The only way out is a grueling re-write of your application to fit back into your existing data center platform.

VMware has changed all that with the vCloud Hybrid Service. VMware’s cloud service is built using the same platform you’re using in your data center today. That means complete mobility of your applications to the cloud and back from the cloud – no conversion, no re-writing of the application. You get all the cloud benefits of risk avoidance and agility, without being locked in to paying the cloud premium forever.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook at @vCloud and Facebook.com/VMwarevCloud for future hybrid cloud updates and resources.

Josh Gwyther serves as a Senior Cloud Strategist for VMware Inc., focusing on Cloud technology (vCloud Hybrid Services). His role includes relationships with key clients to drive adoption of VMware’s Cloud products, public speaking, strategy and roadmap, and driving innovation inside the company. Josh has a technical background in Computer Science, experience as an entrepreneur, and has worked in the industry for 17+ years, focusing on Virtualization and Cloud since 2006. Josh has multiple technical certifications from VMware, EMC and Cisco, with an undergraduate in Computer Science.

vCloud Hybrid Service is not affected by OpenSSL “Heartbleed bug”

On Monday, a serious vulnerability in some commonly used versions of the OpenSSL library was published that allows attackers to compromise an SSL or TLS endpoint (CVE-2014-0160 http://web.nvd.nist.gov/view/vuln/detail?vulnId=CVE-2014-0160). This is also known as the “Heartbleed bug” and has attracted considerable attention due to its seriousness and because the library is embedded in many applications and operating systems.

VMware has reviewed the use of the OpenSSL libraries deployed within vCloud Hybrid Service, including the service APIs and the load balancing service, and the service is not affected by this vulnerability.

As the affected OpenSSL library versions are included in many operating systems and applications, we strongly encourage customers to review their virtual machine configurations and apply the appropriate patched versions of OpenSSL if necessary.

For the results of VMware’s ongoing investigation into the Heartbleed OpenSSL issue, please visit VMware Knowledge Base article 2076225.

Hybrid Cloud: A New Way of Thinking About Disaster Recovery

Protecting business applications against outages, failures, disasters and other causes of downtime is a top priority for many organizations, but as we discussed in our last blog, not all companies have the budget, expertise, time or staff to spare to improve their IT resiliency. For organizations that do have DR services in place, the challenge lies in maintaining the solution on an ongoing basis – this has led many to look into refreshing their options, in order to cut on spending and leverage existing investments as much as possible.

Customers want DR to be faster, cheaper and simpler. And with only 5% of today’s applications protected by DR, Gartner predicts that mid-size enterprises are the expected growth market for recovery-as-a-service. For those that lack a comprehensive DR plan or the expertise and resources to configure, manage, and test an effective DR plan, the answer to disaster recovery is in the hybrid cloud.

With hybrid cloud, organizations can easily extend their on-premise DR solution on- or off-premise, without heavy upfront investment. Hybrid cloud also allows DR to be within reach for more customers, giving them the ability to cost-effectively cover tier 2 applications not included in their existing DR plan. And even more importantly, it enables companies to utilize the same tools and technology they currently run and are already familiar with in their datacenters.

Planview, a VMware customer and provider of cloud-based enterprise software, is a great example of an organization that currently has a DR solution in place, but is considering a cloud-based disaster recovery plan to complement their solution. Its requirements for a cloud-based DR solution are three-fold: it must be cost-effective, easy to deploy within the organization and flexible enough to support changing business needs.

The company is excited to leverage VMware for their hybrid cloud needs, due to the affordability, simplicity and flexibility of VMware’s hybrid cloud offering. With VMware, Planview’s IT organization doesn’t have to learn how to use new management tools in order to take advantage of the cloud, because they can use the same tools and resources they’re already familiar with in their internal infrastructure. 

Is your organization ready to consider a hybrid cloud-based disaster recovery plan? Here are four things you should keep in mind when evaluating vendors:

  • Platform compatibility: Your service provider for DR should seamlessly integrate with your current environment.
  • Ease of Use: Your DR plan should be easy to deploy within your organization, and not require additional training or resources for your IT organization to manage it.
  • Cost: Look for a DR plan that has straightforward packaging, with no upfront fees or deployment requirements. Ultimately, your DR plan should save you money, not cost you more due to hidden one-time fees.
  • Flexibility: Your organization has changing needs, and your DR plan should reflect that. Look for a solution that can scale your compute and storage needs according to business demands, and for whichever term length best suits your needs.

Our upcoming solution is packaged specifically for DR – a convenience many public cloud vendors do not currently provide for end user consumption. It’s also simpler, more affordable, and easier to use for organizations who are already familiar with vSphere technology. But we’ll have more to say about this soon.

Be sure to subscribe to the vCloud blog, follow @vCloud on Twitter or ‘like’ us on Facebook for future updates.

vCloud Hybrid Service Customers Share Success Stories

Many VMware customers are leveraging vCloud Hybrid Service to take their business to the next level.

Here are a few of the benefits VMware customers are achieving with vCloud Hybrid Service:

  • Nexon America, a leading free-to-play video game publisher, leveraged vCloud Hybrid Service to expand the capabilities they had already implemented in their private cloud. This expansion was made even easier thanks to the internal team’s existing familiarity with VMware-based environments.
  • Columbia Sportswear first looked at the public cloud as an option to prevent downtime during disasters or data center moves. Their strategy is to seamlessly scale their on premises data center by moving Tier 3 and Tier 4 workloads off premises. Their deployment of vCloud Hybrid Service was enhanced by VMware’s easy onboarding process and support team. 
  • Digital River was able grow their internal capabilities into a global enterprise solution that works both in a private could, as well as with vCloud Hybrid Service. Under vCloud Hybrid Service, Digital River was also able to burst into other third-party cloud providers, achieving global flexibility, as needed, on demand.
  • Planview, a leader in the portfolio and resource management industry, appreciated vCloud Hybrid Service’s easy onboarding process, especially with the assistance of VMware’s support team. Planview is now looking at expanding their bursting or DR capabilities for customers using vCloud Hybrid Service.
  •  As Creative Solutions in Healthcare found, shifting to vCloud Hybrid Service has been a “total game changer,” enabling them to deliver new applications while adhering to state and federal regulations.

Listen to what other organizations have to say about vCloud Hybrid Service in the video below:

Ready to see what vCloud Hybrid Service can do for your organization? Visit vCloud.VMware.com to learn how vCloud Hybrid Service can enable you to seamlessly move workloads between your data center and the cloud with no modification.

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For more information about the VMware vCloud Hybrid Service, visit vCloud.VMware.com.