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Monthly Archives: December 2011

The Public Cloud Diaries Part III – Public Cloud Stories from the Insurance, Non-Profit and Retail Industries

Welcome to our third installment of the Public Cloud Diaries – an ongoing project that showcases the various business situations and challenges that companies have experienced when moving to the public cloud. In this blog, we’ll discuss the public cloud experiences of three companies in the Insurance, Non-Profit and Retail industries.

In case you missed them, be sure to check out Part I, where we detailed the experiences of companies in the Business Services Industry and the ROI they achieved in moving to the public cloud, and Part II, featuring the stories of organizations in the Communications and Healthcare industries. 

Insurance

Company: Provider of Business Process Outsourcing Services Between Primary Insurance and Reinsurance Companies
The Needs: This firm needed a scalable cloud solution for rapid changes in demand, fast response times and the ability to comply with rapidly changing insurance security requirements.
The Solution: They chose a vCloud Service Provider that offered multiple virtual servers to scale with fluctuating business. The company hosted 3 applications in the cloud on secure servers with access keys.
The ROI: By working with a vCloud Service Provider, this company could focus on the business and not IT. They also enjoyed savings from not having to invest in hardware for a traditional datacenter and could bill IT costs directly to each client. 

Non-Profit

Company: A Non-Profit Website that Offered Info, Services and Social Media to the Art Community
The Needs: Before choosing VMware, this non-profit’s site was hosted on a small-hosting provider and was severely hacked and infested with Trojan spam. The non-profit needed utmost security, the ability to grow over time and remote management capabilities.
The Solution: The site was rebuilt with a vCloud Service Provider. With VMware vCloud Director, they were able to create and upload server images whenever they needed to, enabling them to react to new art information and make both structure and content changes to the website.
The ROI: The non-profit gained peace of mind with no major expenses. They also enjoyed a higher level of security, increased flexibility and painless growth options.

Retail

Company: National Retailer with a Franchise Model
The Needs: This large retailer utilized an intricate IT system that tracked over 475,000 SKUS and supported every franchise store. They needed an infrastructure solution for their software that could scale during the influx of business during the holiday season, geographic redundancy to prevent outages from a cloud provider site failure and the ease of building and managing technology.
The Solution: Their ecommerce system was hosted by a VMware Service Provider on customer facing VMs and load balanced with a backend server on a dedicated SQL database.
The ROI: The retailer enjoyed geographic redundancy, the ability to scale to handle seasonal increases in business and SAS70 and SSAE15 security certifications.

Interested in public cloud for your organization? Visit vcloud.vmware.com and apply to test drive a public cloud from a vCloud Service Provider today. Stay tuned for our fourth installment in this series, where we’ll explore the experience of four companies in the Software Industry who moved to the cloud with VMware!

For more info on these diary entries, download the complete Public Cloud Diaries, and be sure to follow @vCloud and @VMwareSP to catch our next installment in this series.

The Cloud Market Vendor Landscape – Key Takeaways by the Taneja Group for IT and Business Leaders

When it comes to choosing a cloud vendor, enterprises must consider a variety of different variables in order to ensure that the cloud solution they deploy will best meet the organization’s needs. Among the factors that IT and business leaders must consider when selecting a cloud vendor include the vendor’s virtualization platform, their resource and performance management tools, hybrid cloud capabilities, and data management support, just to name a few.

In a recent report, the Taneja Group evaluated ten of the leading cloud solution vendors, reviewing their products, solutions and overall cloud strategy. Here are seven key takeaways that the Taneja Group recommends to IT and business leaders when evaluating cloud vendors:

  1. When evaluating cloud solutions, be sure to check out whether the various offerings perform as advertised. The Taneja Group recommends that buyers participate in hands-on, proof-of-concept engagement activities that test and exercise the offerings’ key advertised capabilities.
  2. Focus on vendors who can provide the best of both worlds – enterprise-class security, cross-cloud management and interoperability to bridge on- and off-premise deployments.
  3. Before you can deploy a successful enterprise hybrid cloud, organizations should first lay the foundation with an enterprise-class private cloud.
  4. Look for cloud solutions that offer virtual security and work with the vendor to ensure that their security framework addresses each layer of the cloud IaaS stack.
  5. Cloud environments are dynamic and therefore require management that is equally as agile and flexible. Prioritize solutions that have management tools that are optimized for virtualization and cloud. 
  6. Look for vendors that have an ecosystem of compatible cloud providers – this gives you the freedom to move from one off-premise provider to another.
  7. Make sure your Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) options are wide open – your PaaS choice should allow you to switch providers or run the platform behind your firewall.

For more on the Taneja Group’s findings and to see how VMware stacked up against other cloud vendors, you can download the full report. Be sure to follow @vCloud and @VMwareSP on Twitter for future updates!

[How To] Get Started with vCloud Connector 1.5 – Part 2

By: Chris Colotti, Consulting Architect with the VMware vCloud Delivery Services team

This is a repost from Chris' personal blog, ChrisColotti.us

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In Part One of this two-part series, we examined the deployment of vCloud Connector 1.5, the architecture, and the options for accessing the user interface through the vCloud Connector Portal or the vSphere Client.  Here is a quick review of some key points to remember if you read part one previously.  Part two will focus on the actual moving of your workloads so you can see just how easy it is once you have it setup.

  • Deploy the vCloud Connector Server on Premise initially
  • Deploy vCloud Connector Nodes to all connection points you need access to
  • Provider clouds like Virtacore will have a single portal, but multiple actual clouds
  • The vCloud Connector Server today does not work behind NAT, so deploy on a local subnet
  • On Premise components can live outside the cloud, hosted nodes will be inside the provider cloud
  • Configure server and node passwords and create real Certificates for SSL between server and node
  • Using the portal still requires you have local access to the vCloud Connector Server via LAN or VPN if it is hosted on premise

Once you have the components all setup the fun can begin in moving the workloads.  Something to remember and consider is these are full network copies of the Virtual Machines.  They must be shut down in order to migrate them between vSphere, or your various vCloud setups.  Also if you have not read my series on the Clone Wars, it may be useful since some of the data around copying to and from transfer spaces is interesting.  If you have not let’s take a quick look at the process that vCloud Connector does to facilitate the moves.

  1. The Virtual Machine is Exported from the source location and temporarily stored on the vCloud Connector Node’s local space
  2. Once the export has completed from the source an import is initiated to the destination
  3. If the destination is a vCloud infrastructure, the data will be moved through the vCloud Cell’s “Transfer Space” located at /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/data/transfer
  4. The imported Virtual Machine will then be placed into the vCloud Director instance as a new vApp and the transfer space will be cleaned up.

The reason the Clone Wars series is important is to understand that on a local private cloud the transfer between vCloud, the transfer space and the final storage on ESX is all network copy based.  On a provider cloud like Virtacore or others, you will also have that copy going over the internet.  So basically, these things can take time to move.

Moving Your Workloads

I want to point out a couple of key changes from vCloud Connector 1.0 and 1.5 as it works today.

  • You MUST have Organization Catalogs available in order to copy between clouds.  

  • The underlying vCloud Director import/export functions use the catalog as a transport mechanism.  
  • If you do not have any Organization Catalogs you will not be able to copy.  In the situation with public cloud providers you may need to have one created if there is not one present.  I actually found this with Virtacore, but my account was created a while back.  New accounts should be coming with at least one catalog on your Organization to facilitate this.  If there is not one just contact the support chains for your provider.

The process is multi-step where vCloud Connector 1.0 did some of the steps for you.  What I mean is you have to do the following to get a vApp workload completely moved from one cloud to another.

  • Copy the vApp to the remote vCloud Catalog
  • Deploy the vApp from the Catalog using vCloud Connector or the vCloud Portal
  • Configure and test the vApp now in the new Cloud
  • Remove the Catalog item if you do not need it going forward

This may seem like more steps than with vCloud Connector 1.0, but this actually allows you to re-deploy the vApp should you have to for any reason before you remove it from the Catalog.  Only once you are sure you’re vApp is in the new cloud and functioning will you want to clean up and remove it.  This way you don’t have to do the entire process again.

From vCenter to vCloud

At this point in the game we will assume you are ready to move some workloads around.  For my test purposes I created an empty test VIrtual Machine on vSphere with a VERY small virtual disk, and no operating system installed.  I did this purely to see the movement, and not have to wait for 20 or 30 gigabyte to copy.  Below is the screenshot of all my clouds I setup in Part One, so the first thing to do is move a template from vSphere to my local vCloud Director.

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First we expand the vCenter object and locate the test template I created directly in vSphere by selecting the vCenter, then making sure I am on the template tab since this test object is an actual vCenter Template.  It is worth noting as well that this vCenter is actually the vCenter appliance, so that also works with vCloud Connector.

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If you want, you can also deploy this from vCloud Connector, but we will copy it to my local on Premise cloud first then move it to the public cloud.  When we select “Copy” We are given the options box.

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Now we can also select the VDC import.

Ccolotti2_vcc5Now we can also sect the Catalog for the import and select “Copy”.

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What we see is that the copy exports from vCenter and completes the import to the vCloud Catalog.

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With a refresh of the vCloud connector view we can see the template in the catalog of vCloud Connector’s interface and we are ready to deploy it for use by selecting the deploy option.  However, I will jump over to moving a workload from a Private vCloud to a public vCloud as that may be more interesting.

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From Private to Public vCloud

Now comes the fun part.  As before I am using my Virtacore vCloud Express account to move the workload from my on premise vCloud to the Public vCloud.  The process is similar to the vCenter move, but now we are going vCloud to vCloud via the internet instead of local network.  Remember that depending on your provider you may have multiple vCloud’s behind their portal as is the case with Virtacore.  Therefore if you have a true template, you may want it on both vCloud’s for local deployment.  If your workload is an actual vApp, you can decide which cloud you want to run it in.  Again you need to ensure you have a Catalog available in both your provider based vCloud’s for this to work.

First we select the “Production” workload from the local Private vCloud on premise and copy it to the remote vCloud Catalog.

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The same as before only now you see the source is my local vCloud and the target vCloud is the Virtacore Los Angeles in my Public vDC on my Organization Catalog.  We also see in the vCloud Connector interface the progress of the copy.  As a reminder, I am using a test Virtual Machine with only a 25MB virtual disk to make this go quicker for test purposes.

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Once this process is completed, I could run another copy from my on premise to the remote vCloud to have this same vApp available on the Virtacore Virginia vCloud Express location, or I could copy it from the LA to VA vClouds and let theVirtacore network handle the transport.  Instead I am going to simply deploy it to the LA vCloud.

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Here I get my options for deployment to the vCloud in LA so I can deploy it from the Catalog.  I can select my vDC, name the vApp, as well as select the network from the options available.

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Once deployed it will show up in the Virtacore portal as a new vApp for me to power on and manage as I see fit.  I did find out the Virtacore portal does have a caching setup so it may take a couple of minutes for it to show up, but it will.

Ccolotti2_vcc14At this point I can configure my vApp and when I am done I can use vCloud Connector to remove the version of the template in the Catalog.  Again you may want to have a copy in your other hosted vCloud for future use, or you can remove it completely

Summary Review

What all this testing has shown me is that the combination of a hosted provider like Virtacore along with the vCloud Connector architecture provides a pretty powerful way to move workloads between clouds.  There are a few things you need to understand and get used to in the way of the architecture, user interfaces and other aspects.  Once you nail those down you can start copying workloads between your clouds and at the very least get copies of your templates and vApps into a public cloud provider to experiment.  What this has also done is allow me to take feedback of my findings back to the vCloud Connector team as feedback to possible adjustments in the future.

The key to remember is this is slightly different from the 1.0 product in the sense that you have to copy, deploy, and remove the vApp and that Catalog’s are required to facilitate the moves.  As with Part One, I wanted to thank Virtacore for being kind enough to provide me the public cloud space for this testing, and let you know they are offering $50 off the initial use of their vCloud Express product so folks can give it a shot.  Just use the code STEKREF when you sign up to get the offer if you sign up and check out their new portal as well.

Chris is a Consulting Architect with the VMware vCloud Delivery 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 a Consultant and now 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 solutions and architectures for enterprise-wide private cloud deployments.

Best Practices for Providers Offering vCloud Powered Services Part 4: Make Your Cloud Safe, Secure and Easy with VMware vShield Technologies

It’s no secret that security concerns are one of the biggest inhibitors to public cloud adoption – many customers fear moving their workloads to the public cloud, because they believe that the infrastructure they host themselves is safer and more secure than a public cloud. However, providers of vCloud Powered service offerings can attract more customers and customer workloads by demonstrating how VMware technologies can deliver higher levels of security, making their virtual datacenters safer and more secure, and often at a lower cost than hosting themselves. This is the 4th installment in our series on best practices for service providers with vCloud Powered offerings.

With VMware vShield Edge and vShield App, providers with vCloud Powered service offerings can offer their customers a comprehensive range of security options that best meet their organization’s needs.

VMware vShield Edge technologies are integrated into VMware vCloud Director to enable service providers to support their customers with their own secure and dedicated virtual infrastructure. The full VMware vShield Edge product provides site-to-site VPN connectivity with 256-bit encryption to protect the confidentiality of all data transmitted between datacenters, making cloud computing even more safe, easy and secure for customers.

For added value, customers can also take advantage of VMware vShield App, a hypervisor-based firewall solution for virtual datacenters with capabilities that can help increase the value of VMs to customers. 

By basing their offerings on VMware technologies, providers with vCloud Powered services are already leading the market by providing secure, resilient, and compatible public clouds. Through this blog series, we hope we have been able to help providers with vCloud Powered service offerings discover new ways to capture more of their market and increase monthly revenues. Technologies from VMware can help service providers with vCloud Powered offerings establish new revenue streams for added services that offer real value to customers.

In case you missed them, be sure to check out Part I, Part II and Part III in this series. For future updates and tips about VMware’s vCloud Powered program, be sure to follow us at @vCloud and @VMwareSP on Twitter! 

[How To] Get Started with vCloud Connector 1.5 – Part 1

By: Chris Colotti, Consulting Architect with the VMware vCloud Delivery Services team

This is a repost from Chris' personal blog, ChrisColotti.us

So this weekend I set out to document and understand the new aspects of vCloud Connector 1.5 and how some of the components go together.  It seemed like there might be some interest in a how to article explaining the process not only of putting the pieces together, but also how to actually do some of the moving of workloads.  So I set out on a mission to see if I can explain some of this in detail.  The first thing anyone will need to do in order to truly try out vCloud Connector is to get some public cloud space on a provider that is using vCloud Director.  My choice was Virtacore for a number of reasons, but they were open to letting me try out their beta portal and provide some initial feedback.  If you do happen to sign up with them you can actually get $50 off of your initial public cloud service by using the code STEKREF when you sign up, so not a bad deal if you have not tried out a vCloud Express provider yet.

vCloud Connector 1.5 Architecture

First I think it is important to understand the new architecture of vCloud Connector 1.5 as it differs greatly from 1.0.  Many who have played with both will see the differences out of the gate, but I wanted to also tie this to how I deployed the various components for testing.  Refer to the figure below which was taken from the vCloud Connector user guide.

vCloud Connector Server – The server component is the control and management point for vCloud Connector.  You really only need one server as long as it can connect to the various nodes.  In my case the server was hosted in my lab, on the management cluster for vCloud Director.  I did not host it inside my vCloud as a vapp simply because I did not see the need to.  I decided to treat it like any other management server workload supporting the vCloud Eco-System

vCloud Connector Node – The “nodes” are the 1:1 connection points managed by the server.  The 1:1 aspect is that you actually need a node per cloud, Organization, or vSphere instance you want to move workloads between.  So in my case I needed two nodes on premise and two nodes hosted at Virtacore.  These remote nodes were of course hosted in the cloud.  I needed two of them because their public cloud is made up of two datacenters, each with their own vCloud installation and thus two different API’s.  The nodes are also where the various exports happen during the process of the move and where you may need to increase the disk sizes, or mount them to NFS if you can.  In my case I connected all the nodes to either the SYSTEM level or the top-level of vSphere for testing.  In a hosted public cloud, you could need more nodes depending on the number or organizations you have as well as the number of datacenters.

vCloud.VMware.com – This is the remote web portal you can use to manage your various vCloud Connector servers in a single pane of glass.  There is some requirements to get connected to this which we will talk about in a little bit. UPDATED 12/7/11: I wanted to point out a couple things about the portal. Although the portal is internet based, it will direct your browser to the local address of the vCloud Connecter Server.  This means you are not able to manage the vCloud Connector server unless you also have VPN or on premise access to it.  The component could be hosted externally with an external IP, but as of today it also will not work behind NAT.  Some folks have discovered this and there is a KB article about it.  Just take note that even though you are accessing a public portal it will be sending your browser to the local IP addresses.  This also means that a firewall rule for for “External” access is not needed until the NAT issue is worked out.  Because of this reason you will not be able to make console connections to some Virtual Machines if the vCloud Director Console IP is not exposed and properly directed or load balanced.

Security – It is important to understand the security of these components.  The Server and Nodes communicate over SSL using port 8443 and this is the port used my the online portal to connect to your server.  So it stands to reason you will want to generate some real certificates at least for your vCloud Connector server since that will be connected to be the remote nodes as well as the portal.  The local nodes may not be as big a concern since they are on the same network.  However you can see below, that if you are transferring a workload from a private cloud to the public the two nodes will interface and then you have an argument for some real certificates on all nodes as well.  Generally in a production deployment I would get all real certificates, but in my lab I decided not to.

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What I ended up with was the following servers on my network once I decided on the deployment scenarios

  • vCloud Connector Server – on the same local subnet as the other management virtual machines
  • vCloud Connector Node – on the same subnet as other management components for vCloud Director Connection
  • vCloud Connector Node – on the same subnet as other management components for vSphere Connection
  • vCloud Connector Node – Remote on Virtacore in the Virginia Datacenter
  • vCloud Connector Node – Remote on Virtacore in the Los Angeles Datacenter

Installing the Various Components

The first step you want to do is visit vcloud.vmware.com and register a username on the portal.  Bear in mind that this is the first and primary username that will be used to connect the server to the portal.  You can invite others to use the portal, but I would not suggest making the initial login your personal email.  You may want to make it something more generic to the company like you may currently do for the support or licensing portal.  In fact, if you already have a login that is a single company login you may be able to already use that since it is a valid vmware.com account.

Next you want to set up a public cloud testing account at Virtacore or other provider.  Virtacore has already put the server and node components in their catalog for users to deploy into their host public cloud saving you the setup time on that side.

Once you are logged in the first thing you can do is download the appliances from the portal since that is the only option available.

Ccolotti1_vcc2Once you have the OVF files you can import as many of them as you need.  As mentioned above one server should suffice but if you have multiple organizations in your cloud, depending on the URL you will use to configure them, the node will be “Pinned” to that organization.  For my tests, again I simply used a system level admin as we will see in the configuration section.

On the Virtacore side simply deploy a new node from the catalog using the portal as shown below.  You will need to deploy one in LA and one in VA if you want to have access to each datacenter.  Having these utility machines on the service provider side does save a lot of time and effort from having to upload them to my own catalog for sure.

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You will also want to add some users to your hosted Virtacore cloud.  The initial login they provide you cannot be used to connect using the nodes, and you will need to add other Organization Administrators to perform most of these functions.
Ccolotti1_vcc4You will use these credentials later, but I found out this weekend you cannot use the original login since that is tied to their billing system as well.  Simply go to administration and add a new user to assign them as an Organization Administrator

Configuring the vCloud Connector Nodes

Once you have the vCloud Connector Server Nodes deployed you can get them each setup.  I found doing these first was the easiest since you need them configured when you setup the server.  When you deployed the local nodes you were asked to configure their IP addresses, but on the hosted one those were pre-assigned, however you will need to do one additional step before you can fully configure the remote nodes.  Connect to Virtacore and be sure to “Assign Public IP Addresses” to your remote nodes.  This is pretty easy just by selecting the configuration and going to the public IP page.  You will need this IP address to configure the node for the basic settings.  You will also need this address when you setup this node in the server settings.

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Once you select the option you will be taken to another page to add the IP which is automatically assigned by an IP pool

Now that you have the remote node’s external IP addresses setup you can configure each Node.  What I recommend configuring is the following items in the Node’s themselves.  You can do this by opening a browser to https://[IP_Address_of_vCC_Node]:5480 and using the default credentials username of “admin” and password of “vmware”.  For the remote nodes you may also want to generate an external DNS entry so you can create the SSL certificate to match properly.

  • System/Timezone – Select your preferred timezone.  Remember on hosted nodes you may want to change
  • Network/Address – Change the hostname to match your DNS entry for certificate generation
  • Update/Settings – Select automatically check for updates
  • Node/General – Change the password
  • Node/SSL – Generate real SSL certificates for your nodes

Once you have completed setup on all of your nodes we can set up the vCloud Connector server itself.

Configuring the vCloud Connector Server

As with the Node configuration point your browser to https://[IP_Address_of_vCC_Server]:5480 and login with the same default credentials.  As with the nodes setup the following to begin with.

  • System/Timezone – Select your preferred timezone.  Remember on hosted nodes you may want to change
  • Network/Address – Change the hostname to match your DNS entry for certificate generation
  • Update/Settings – Select automatically check for updates
  • Node/General – Change the password
  • Node/SSL – Generate real SSL certificates for your nodes

This is where the server differs from the Nodes, as you will also see under the server section an option for registration of the vSphere client as well as vcloud.vmware.com, however there is something to consider.  Each vCloud Connector Server can only register with a single vCenter Server to access the client plugin.  So if you have multiple vCenter Servers you need to decide which one to register it with.  Remember this plugin is only to see the available clouds, but that is also the reason for the web portal.  If you have to choose a vCenter Sever, I would recommend the vCenter where the vCloud Management components are located.  The vCenter used by vCloud Director may be hardened, but rarely should users need to access that one as opposed to the first vCenter.

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You must enter a vCenter Administrator here for the plugin to register, but once registered those credentials should no longer be used.  Since this is for plugin registration only, you should not need a long-term service account.  You can also update the registration, or un-register it completely.  Now you can register with the portal as well.

NOTE:  You must have a firewall rule with access on port 8443 for the portal to be able to connect properly.  Also if you did NOT create valid SSL certificates do not check the SSL box.  Look at the disclaimer that you need valid certificates for that to work.  I did not read that the first time and could not get the portal to work even with the firewall rule for 8443 open.

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Finally you can configure the various Nodes for the server to communicate with.  Here you will need the various API connection information depending on the cloud or vSphere vCenter server you are connecting to.  You will need the login information you setup for each node as well for the connections to work.  You can also see from below you have the option of connecting to both cloud and vCenter as well.  If you used real certificates you can uncheck the box for “Ignore SSL”, but remember you would have to also have real certifications on vCloud Director and vCenter server to remove that option under cloud info.

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Once configured you can see below the different connections, and be sure to note that the cloud URL’s need to include the Organization for the public providers.  On a local private cloud, maybe you are using nodes per organization, but in my case I just used the system level connections.  I have omitted my Virtacore organization ID but with them that would be a string of numbers you use.  Also you can see they have two different API addresses for each cloud.

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Connecting To the Clouds

Now that all the nodes, and the server are fully configured for connectivity, we as individual users with access to the vCenter where the plugin was registered, or as the master admin to the portal can start to add our view into the various clouds.  Remember that at this step the connections are contextual based on the user.  So if I log into vCenter and add these 4 clouds, another user logged in will have to add them for their view.  Same goes for the portal as well.  Since vCenter is already tied to users and groups the first thing you may want to do from the master portal admin is “Invite Users” from the settings link in the upper right corner.  You can see the link and the dialog screen as well where you can add other users.  You can see by the note the users must have connectivity and a vmware.com login.

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Once you have sent the invitations they will get an email where they can accept the invite.  They will need to have their vmware.com credentials, but this is what they will see when they log in.  They can accept, decline, or download their own versions of the appliances.
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Now that users have been invited, and by the way you may want to invite yourself to the portal since most likely you used the generic login to set it up.  You do not want to use that to add a cloud, as if you log in again with your credentials you will need to do it all over again.  From this point on adding a cloud int he portal OR through vCenter is the same thing since the nodes are pre-configured to connect to certain places.  You will need the various credentials for the different clouds as well.  From here I will use the portal interface to add the four different clouds so I can ultimatly move workloads.

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We are going to repeat this process four times to get all of the clouds added in.  Remember these are the nodes that have been pre-configured to connect to certain API’s so if you find you made a mistake you will need to update those on the vCloud Connector Server’s node settings.  Each one will use the various credentials for my user to connect.  Once all four are connected you will see them in the left hand pane, and the templates and workloads in the right hand pane.

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Once you know that all your connectivity is sound, we can investigate the process of moving workloads between clouds as well as vSphere.  That will be done in Part 2 of this series so we can keep the content to a few pages per article.  I know from doing this it has opened up my eyes on the requirements to really get vCloud Connector going not only in a private cloud, but also connected to a public cloud like Virtacore.   If you have not actually tried the provider based clouds, now is a great time to with the ability to use vCloud Connector 1.5.  Give my friends a Virtacore a try using their offering for vCloud Express and vCloud Connector 1.5 and I do not think you will have bad experience.  I have also found they are very open to helping with any issues you may have and working to better their offering.  Don’t forget to use the code STEKREF when you sign up for $50 off your initial public cloud offering with Virtacore.  Stay tuned for Part 2 sometime later this week or next week.

Chris is a Consulting Architect with the VMware vCloud Delivery 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 a Consultant and now 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 solutions and architectures for enterprise-wide private cloud deployments.

The Role of the Cloud in Increasing Business and IT Agility

Increasing agility is undoubtedly a goal of many CIOs. According to McKinsey & Company, the benefits of agility include faster revenue growth, greater and more lasting cost reduction, and more effective management of risks and reputational threats.

In the graph below (taken from a business agility survey conducted by market-research firm AbsolutData), you can see the link between “Extremely Agile” companies and their ability to outperform others across several business-agility dimensions, such as “recognizing shifts in customer trends/demands,” “launching new products or functionalities,” and “scaling resources in order to meet demand.” 

Agility1

So where does the cloud tie into this? According to the corporate decision makers surveyed by AbsolutData, 72% of respondents who have already deployed cloud enterprise-wide believe that it has played a key role in their IT agility, by allowing their IT departments to become more flexible in meeting changing business demands. Additionally, according to 63% of business leaders, cloud can make the entire organization more “business agile” and “responsive.” As the cloud expands beyond Software as a Service (SaaS) to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings, business leaders may now take advantage of new capabilities to help increase business agility. 

Agility2

The evolution of the cloud has also spurred IT organizations to consider the variety of cloud models – public, private and hybrid – with different cost savings. The hybrid cloud model, for example, offers the advantages of lowering IT spend through virtualization and consolidation, optimized workload sourcing and higher productivity, and is becoming the most economically appealing model for enterprises today.

Cloud computing empowers businesses to increase their competitive advantage by enabling enterprise IT to dynamically anticipate and respond to changing business needs. If you’re thinking about building for the cloud, why not build a cloud that meets your organization’s particular needs? Do you want to begin with a private cloud? Do you want to leverage public cloud services, or do you want to adopt a hybrid cloud model? At VMware, we move beyond a one-cloud-fits-all approach, because we understand that business needs vary from one enterprise to the next. In other words, it’s not about the cloud, it’s about Your Cloud.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to increase your business and IT agility through cloud computing, be sure to download our recent whitepaper. For future updates on how VMware can help with Your Cloud, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @vCloud and @VMwareSP!

Check Out the New vCloud Powered Section on Partner Central

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VMware recently added a vCloud Powered section to Partner Central, with informative resources such as collateral, tools and documentation for service providers offering vCloud Powered services.

Content in the vCloud Powered section has been divided into four areas: LEARN, DELIVER, PROMOTE, and SELL. Here are some of the resources you can find on each tab:

LEARN: Here service providers can find background information about the vCloud Powered program, including:

  • VSPP Solution Focus webinar recordings
  • The vCloud Powered Fight Plan
  • A vCloud Director Essentials Training Course

DELIVER: Under the ‘Deliver’ tab, service providers can find resources to help them deliver their vCloud Powered services, such as:

  • A Flash Demo of vCloud Director in the Public Cloud
  • A whitepaper on ‘Extending the Value of vCloud Powered Services with VMware Technology’
  • A datasheet on ‘What’s New in vSphere 5 and vCloud Director 1.5’
  • The Public Cloud Reference Architecture Kit 2.0

PROMOTE: Here service providers can find demand creation tools and public relations support to help them promote their vCloud Powered services. The demand creation tools include:

  • Website in a Box
  • Event in a Box
  • GRID Partner Ready campaigns

Service providers with vCloud Powered offerings can also learn how to leverage VMware social media efforts (via @VMwareSP) to promote their events or products.

SELL: Under the ‘Sell’ tab, service providers can find resources to help them sell their vCloud Powered services to customers, including:

  • The vCloud Powered Fight Plan (which has tips for sales teams to explain, sell and differentiate your services)
  • A solutions brief on, ‘What do vCloud Powered Services Mean to Your Customers’

With the new vCloud Powered section on Partner Central, VMware hopes to provide our service provider partners with even more tools and resources to help them be successful in their service offerings. For future updates, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @vCloud and @VMwareSP!

December Events and Webinars from VMware Service Providers

By: Matt Sarrel

There are a number of upcoming events being held by VMware Service Providers for customers who want to learn more about building and managing cloud solutions.  In fact, there are more and more of these events (and more service providers) so I’m going to post a few of the best events at the start of every month so you can get these on your calendar.    

12/1 – Austin, TX Lunch and Learn with iland 

Register: http://www.iland.com/austin-lunch-learn 

Join iland at Maggiano's Little Italy! The event will be held December, 1 2011 from 11:30-1:30 pm, Central. Learn the different ways that IT organizations and service providers are harnessing the power of a virtual datacenter to gain unprecedented agility without sacrificing security, compatibility, performance, or control.

Hear from the pros at iland and VMware as they discuss distinct use cases such as streamlining the deployment of applications and role based administration.  iland Cloud Services enables IT organizations to build and manage secure virtual datacenters in North America and Europe on trusted high performance cloud infrastructure with extensive compute capacity and flexible billing options.

Don't miss this exciting opportunity to enhance your cloud infrastructure strategy. Each attendee will be placed into a drawing to win a $50 Best Buy gift card, which will be given away at the event, and space is limited so register today!

12/7 - Free Steak & Learn: Bluemile's Bulletproof VMware vCloud Powered Enterprise Virtual Datacenter 

Register: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/2499299472  

One word was enough to sell me on this event: s-t-e-a-k. And top it off with learning about how to determine and meet Recovery Time Objectives and Recovery Point Objectives for disaster recovery.  

Learn how Bluemile leverages VMware, VPLEX from EMC and physical data centers on separate national power grids to deliver immediate RTOs and RPOs with zero downtime and zero data loss.

Learn about Bluemile’s:

  • ability to slide virtual servers between geographically diverse physical data centers
  • hot/hot or active/active systems that can run 100% uptime
  • access to bandwidth, memory, compute power, storage, backup, and 24/7 technical support

Bluemile virtualizes your IT infrastructure using VMware vSphere, the industry’s most trusted virtualization platform. Built on the vBlock architecture combined with vCloud Director, Bluemile can securely connect your private cloud to the resources in our network. This allows applications to seamlessly move from your internal private cloud to Bluemile’s secure network.

12/14 – Bluelock: Managing Cost in the Cloud

Register: https://bluelock.webex.com/bluelock/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=666545006 

Time: 1-2 PM EST
Presenter: Pat O’Day, CTO, Bluelock

It’s no secret that IT organizations are under tremendous pressure to deliver the most value for every dollar spent on technology. Instead of simply hacking and slashing budgets, it’s important to understand how new IT paradigms can best be utilized in the new economy. With effective visibility and control, it becomes much easier to align your utilization and spending. 

Bluelock will demonstrate how it delivers on this promise by enabling you to make fast effective decisions and wrench the most value out of the cloud.

Learn how to:

  • Understand the True Cost of IT
  • Avoid Unnecessary Spending
  • Forecast Future Spending
  • Spot the Outliers
  • Stay out of the Line of Fire

Bluelock, a VMware vCloud Datacenter provider, is an experienced provider of Virtual Datacenters hosted in the public cloud. Providing VMware-based and fully compatible cloud solutions, Bluelock delivers an efficient way to make hybrid cloud strategies a reality. 

12/15 - Bluemile Presents 5 Solutions to Protect Applications & Eliminate Downtime

Register: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/891212918

This event is online only and promises to be very informative regarding business continuity, especially virtualized solutions designed to help automate and simplify your organization's recovery procedures. 

This presentation will focus on 5 solutions designed to protect your critical applications and eliminate unnecessary downtime. Join Bluemile & VMware as they discuss how VMware vMotion, SRM and vCloud Director products enable Bluemile to provide you with the flexibility, security and scalability that your business needs. 

  1. Active/Active Virtual Datacenter 
  2. VM Disaster Recovery 
  3. Storage as a Service 
  4. Backup & Recovery 
  5. Archiving 

All of these events promise to be informative opportunities to learn more about how VMware Service Provider solutions can benefit your organization. For future news and updates about VMware’s Service Provider ecosystem, be sure to follow @vCloud and @VMwareSP on Twitter.

Matthew D. Sarrel (or Matt Sarrel) is executive director of Sarrel Group, a technology product testing, editorial services, and technical marketing consulting company.  He also holds editorial positions at pcmag.com, eweek, GigaOM, and Allbusiness.com, and blogs at TopTechDog.