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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Upcoming Leadership Luncheons with VMware and Internap, Provider of vCloud Powered Services

VMware and Internap are holding two leadership luncheons in March, where they'll be discussing the latest innovations shaping the cloud market. Santa Clara and New York City residents – don't miss this unique opportunity to speak with experts from VMware and Internap and learn about the different paths that businesses take towards cloud adoption.

Attendees will also learn tips and best practices for developing their own cloud strategy, as well as considerations for choosing a provider to meet their organization's goals. 

The first leadership luncheon will be taking place in Santa Clara on Wednesday, March 7th, 11:30am-1pm. Here are the details: 

Leadership Luncheon 
Developing Your Cloud Strategy 
March 7, 2012 
11:30 am – 1pm
Hyatt Regency Santa Clara 
5101 Great America Parkway 
Santa Clara, CA 95054 

RSVP for the Santa Clara Luncheon

The second leadership luncheon will be taking place in New York City on Thursday, March 15th, 11:30am – 1pm. Here are the details: 

Leadership Luncheon 
Developing Your Cloud Strategy 
March 15, 2012 11:30 am – 1pm
Old Homestead Steakhouse 
56 9th Ave. (between 14th & 15th St.) 
New York, NY 10011  

RSVP for the New York City Luncheon

Both luncheons present a great opportunity for those interested in learning more about cloud solutions for their enterprise – hope to see you there! For future updates on events like these, be sure to follow @VMwareSP and @vCloud on Twitter. 

VMware vCloud Director Infrastructure Resiliency Case Study

Earlier this month on the blog, Chris Colotti and Duncan Epping provided an Overview of Disaster Recovery Solutions in vCloud Director

Following this, Chris and Duncan have released a technical paper that dives more into how vCloud Director disaster recovery can be achieved through various scenarios and configurations. If you’re interested in Disaster Recovery solutions in vCloud Director, be sure to download the case study and see how a simple and effective DR strategy can be achieved by leveraging basic vSphere 5 and vCenter Site Recovery Manager functionalities. 

You can watch Chris and Duncan talk more about the solution they developed in the video below: 

 

 

Interview with Duncan Epping – VCDX and VMware Principal Architect

By: David Davis 

Ddpex41During my great trip to VMware Partner Exchange (PEX) 2012 (which I summarized in my Day 1, Day 2, and Wrap-Up blogs), I again had the honor of meeting the esteemed Mr Duncan Epping. Most people in the virtualization admin world know Duncan from his blog – Yellow-Bricks.com – or from one of his books with Frank Denneman, such as VMware vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive, or because he is the famed VCDX 007. Today, in his role as a Principal Architect in the Technical Marketing group at VMware, Duncan is focusing more on cloud infrastructures. It was in that role that he was speaking at PEX about disaster recovery of vCloud infrastructures.

I am trying to learn more about vCloud Director while building my own vCloud lab and I bet that many of you have the same types of questions I have for Duncan. Fortunately, he agreed to help us out by answering them. Here’s my 11 question Q&A with Duncan about vCloud Director:

#1. What does vCD really do? If I have vCenter, why do I need vCD?

A: vCloud Director is an abstraction layer and offers a self-service portal. This abstraction layer removes all the virtual infrastructure components one want normally see with vSphere. Through the self-service portal it is possible to deploy new workloads in various kind of configurations and all sorts of different network models. vCloud Director offers a tenant a lot of flexibility without adding complexity.

#2. Do only the largest enterprises need vCD?

A: No, vCloud Director can be used for every segment of the market. Be it as a provider of resources or as a consumer of resources. Of course in many cases, the provider aspect of vCloud Director makes more sense for enterprise or medium sized companies as they often have departmental IT staff or the need to provide specific services to various parts of their organization.

#3. Do you ever foresee a need for a kind of "vCD lite" (much smaller and with fewer features) to be released for the SMB so that they could take advantage of the benefits of a private cloud?

A: I guess you could say that vSphere + Orchestrator could offer "vCD Lite" functionality today! I had this same question at VMware PEX, which to me means that this might be a possibility some day. I could imagine that vCD becomes slightly more modular and that it will be possible to enable and disable certain functionality at some point. But that is pure speculation at this point. (I am not involved with vCD development or planning…)

#4. How do you backup cloud?

A: How you backup a cloud depends on what your definition is of "cloud" and what your exact requirements are. The challenge is not backing up a cloud, but restoring it. More particular, restoring individual vApps or a virtual machine from a given vApp including all required metadata. I do not have the answer for that today.

#5. How do you do DR for a cloud?

A: DR of the cloud is actually very simple and we recently released a blog article around how to do this – especially if you followed the best practices for your vCloud implementation using the vCAT. The key here is that SRM can be used to fail-over your vCloud Management Infrastructure virtual machines. Your vCloud resource clusters will need to be failed over using common vSphere functionality (in order to avoid any changes of unique identifiers). The concept is very simple and the blog linked to above describes a lot more detail.

#6. Are there any common VMware features or products that are incompatible with vCD? DRS/HA/FT? View? VCSA? SRM?

A: Incompatible sounds very heavy, but currently vCloud Director does not support Storage DRS. The reason for this is simple, vCloud Director is not aware of the main Storage DRS construct, a "datastore cluster". SRM is currently also a challenge. 

#7. What improvements & features would you like to see in an upcoming version of vCD?

A: I would love to have an option to snapshot vApps. I think this would be very useful for test/dev vCloud environments. 

#8. Have you heard of any vCD certifications?

A: I have read recently on blogs.vmware.com/vsphere that a vCloud Director certification / exam is in the works. I haven't heard anything about timelines etc. It sounded interesting to me though and as soon as it drops I will definitely be taking the exam.

#9. What's the easiest way to get started learning about vCD?

A: The easiest way is to download vCloud Director and install it. There is an excellent evaluators guide which can be used as a guide, especially during the first encounter this will be very useful. I have written numerous blog articles about vCloud Director allocation models and networking. These will come in handy when you are past that first encounter and want to know more about how vCloud Director leverages vSphere resources. The way I learned this though was by simply creating new virtual data centers, networks and vApps and by checking what happened on the vSphere layer. Especially the vCenter "maps" functionality will give great insights!

#10. Any news on an upcoming Duncan & Frank book?

A: Frank and I are always working on new material. We are indeed working on a project as we speak but as it is in very early stages I cannot say what it is about unfortunately. I will inform you when the time is right through yellow-bricks.com. In the meanwhile look out for some of the whitepapers that Frank and I have been working on. Soon a whitepaper about Storage DRS interoperability will be released and a Cloud Infrastructure Architecture Case Study will be released. Worth reading!

BONUS Question #11: When 3rd party management & backup product solution providers adapted their products from physical server management to virtualization management, they had to make numerous changes including the use of the vSphere Management API. What changes do those same companies now need to make to adapt their products for infrastructure clouds using vCloud Director?

A: The will indeed need to understand the vApp construct and use the vCloud API. The vApp construct is the foundation for a "service" and having a consistent backup for a service means that the full layered cake needs to be backed up, this cannot be limited to a single VM. Not only will all VMs part of the vApp need to be backed up, preferably the metadata associated with that vApp will need to be backed up. Think about things like NAT, internal networks, firewall rules but also startup orders. When I first started thinking about this problem I wondered why no one had released a product yet, but if you look at how cloud services are constructed you realize it is fairly complex to develop a solution. I know various partners are working on this though and hopefully we can expect the first announcements soon.

For more information on Duncan’s work, see:

David Davis is a VMware Evangelist and vSphere Video Training Author for TrainSignal. He has achieved CCIE, VCP, VCAP-DCA, and vExpert level status over his 18+ years in the IT industry. David has authored hundreds of articles on the Internet and over 10 video training courses for TrainSignal.com including the popular vSphere video training package. Learn more about David at his blog or on Twitter and check out a sample of his new vSphere 5 video training course over at TrainSignal.com.

PEX 2012 Wrap-Up

By: David Davis

After attending VMware Partner Exchange 2010 and 2011, I can tell you that PEX 2012 has been the best show so far. In case you missed them, check out my summaries of PEX Day 1 and PEX Day 2. On Day 3 of PEX, the excitement in the air continued with another great general session, Partner Award announcements, great sessions, labs, vExpert meetings, and the Partner Appreciation Party. Here’s my report on each of them, as well as the show overall.

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The day started off with the second general session. VMware’s Carl Eschenbach, Co-President of Customer Operations started off by talking about why you should “Double Down with VMware in the Cloud Era”. Carl said that customers are embracing next-generation Cloud technologies and that VMware and its partners are capturing and expanding their global revenue opportunities. He covered VMware go-to-market strategy and how VMware partners are a part of it. Carl said that by joining forces with partners, huge wins can be made in “the cloud era”.

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Next up, William Taylor, Founding Editor of Fast Company magazine, gave an inspiring speech about transforming your company and challenging yourself in business. He said that we are living in the age of disruption. Inspiring case studies like those from Southwest Airlines and Umpqua Bank were offered up as examples of how businesses can be transformed. William said that the only way to stand out from the crowd is to stand for something special.

After the general session, I headed to the PEX labs to continue my labs on VMware vCloud Director. I enjoyed the short line, good performance, and scenario-based labs that helped me to understand how to create hybrid clouds with vCloud Director.

I also attended sessions like those from John Arrasjid, VCDX #001, about the vCloud Architecture Toolkit (vCAT) and sessions like Disaster Recovery in VMware vCloud Director by Duncan Epping and Chris Colotti. After the session, Duncan and Chris posted a blog and a video about their solution for vCloud Director. See the video below: 

 

That evening was the Partner Appreciation Party. VMware SVP Scott Aronson gave a rousing introduction for the BareNaked Ladies. My favorite part was when they played the theme song to “The Big Bang Theory," which they wrote. 

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While at PEX, I also posted a blog and video vChat from the show. You can find them here:

Overall, the show was the best Partner Exchange yet! VMware touted how they are the leader in virtualization and cloud as well as how partners have the opportunity to capitalize on that. Through labs and sessions, I updated my education on VMware cloud, and through the Solutions Exchange, my eyes were opened to all of the new solutions for the VMware cloud.

If you missed the show, make sure that you plan to attend next year!

David Davis is a VMware Evangelist and vSphere Video Training Author for TrainSignal. He has achieved CCIE, VCP, VCAP-DCA, and vExpert level status over his 18+ years in the IT industry. David has authored hundreds of articles on the Internet and over 10 video training courses for TrainSignal.com including the popular vSphere video training package. Learn more about David at his blog or on Twitter and check out a sample of his new vSphere 5 video training course over at TrainSignal.com.

PEX 2012 Day 2 Recap

By: David Davis

The second day of VMware Partner Exchange (PEX) 2012 kicked off with the keynote address. It started off like no other keynote I have seen. A talented actor circled the room, describing different types of clouds while a gifted artist digitally drew what was described on the screen. 

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While the keynote didn’t make any specific product announcements, it was inspiring, visionary, and a sign of what is to come in 2012. It started off with VMware’s Scott Aronson, Senior Vice President, Global Channels and Alliances taking the stage and offering some amazing statistics related to virtualization. If my notes serve me correctly, some of them were:

  • VMware has approximately 350,000 customers to date
  • 32% growth year after year and 85% of sales come from VMware partners
  • VMware is in 95% of enterprises today
  • The cloud computing market represents a $41.5 B opportunity by 2015
  • SMBs are only 20-30% virtualized
  • 215,000 partners were trained last year on VMware technologies

Scott went on to say that the VMware approach to the market must change to focus not only on enterprise and commercial segments but also the SMB. In order to do that, VMware is announcing a SMB accreditation for partners. Overall, Scott rallied partners to capitalize on the opportunity before them.

Next, VMware CEO Paul Maritz took the stage. He talked about how VMware’s goal is to continually transform IT and evolve the software-based datacenter. Paul pointed out that 1 VM is created every 6 seconds, and 25 million virtual machines are running on vSphere today. Over 50% of the world’s workloads are now virtualized. He gave us a history lesson on how well known applications have died off over the years (like Wordperfect and others) and how VMware partners and customers need to make a decision to choose (what will be) the winner.

After that, VMware’s CTO Dr Stephen Herrod (always my favorite speaker at these conferences) took the stage. Steve pointed that there are 25 million VMs in the world and that if they were physical servers, they would stretch twice the length of the great wall of China (also in the Infographic – The World Runs on vSphere). Those VMs must be managed efficiently and that’s what the new VMware vCenter Operations Manager 5 (vCOPS) is there for. Steve talked about the new vCloud Director iPad Client, Project Horizon, and Project Octopus, and the new vCloud Service Delivery Manager. 

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Steve went on to say that there are over 4,000 developers at VMware who are focusing on “cloud management with less management.  A big part of that management is understanding performance and capacity. Steve pointed to the quote “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it”. That measurement will come from VMware vCOPs. Finally, Steve discussed that IT has to become a broker for IT services, not a builder of hem.

After the keynote, I had my photo taken with Elias Khnaser and the VM Monster! What fun!

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After that, I did my first VMware PEX Lab and was very impressed. There were no lines, the topics were great (building a vCloud Director lab), and the performance was FAST. If you haven’t tried them, I highly recommend them! I’ll be doing more today, and the lab hours are 11am-6pm today.               

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That afternoon, I attended the partner social media strategies session with John Troyer and was impressed with the packed out room. As always, John had great social media tips, based on years of social media experience. In this session not only did he go into details on VMware’s approach to social media, but he also gave VMware customers the opportunity to discuss how they went from social media phobic to developing innovative social media strategies that are bringing in real revenue for their businesses.

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As for today, I enjoyed this morning's keynote with Carl Eschenbach, where he discussed why VMware is the best bet for partners (more details on that tomorrow!), and I look forward to more awesome sessions and the PEX party with the Bare Naked Ladies! Enjoy!

David Davis is a VMware Evangelist and vSphere Video Training Author for TrainSignal. He has achieved CCIE, VCP, VCAP-DCA, and vExpert level status over his 18+ years in the IT industry. David has authored hundreds of articles on the Internet and over 10 video training courses for TrainSignal.com including the popular vSphere video training package. Learn more about David at his blog or on Twitter and check out a sample of his new vSphere 5 video training course over at TrainSignal.com.

PEX 2012 Day 1 Recap

By: David Davis

Yesterday was the first day of VMware Partner Exchange (PEX) 2012 and we’re off to an amazing start! I heard that this is the greatest attendance in PEX history, with an expected attendance around 4000+.

In my previous post, It Starts Here – VMware Partner Exchange 2012, I talked about how this is my third partner exchange and how you should make sure not to miss specific sessions. Those sessions will start tomorrow, after the keynote session – I can’t wait!

VMware and its major partners offered bootcamps on their products. At the EMC bootcamp, Chad Sakac (of VirtualGeek), Tommy Trogden (of vTexan.com) and Scott Lowe (of Blog.ScottLowe.org) spoke about the latest news from EMC. Over the weekend, numerous bootcamps were offered on VMware products like VMware vCloud Director.

On Monday, I was honored to be invited to a VMware vExpert meetup with VMware VIPs. That was where I met (and had my picture taken with) VMware’s CTO, Dr Stephen Herrod.

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I was also honored to see a large sign outside the door that recognized every one of the VMware vExperts in 2011, by name (I am on there under “D”, in the first column): 

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On Wednesday, we’ll find out more about the upcoming changes, the application process, and awards associated with the vExpert program for 2012.

Next, I attended the opening of the Solutions Exchange at PEX, which was a huge deal. I don’t ever recall the PEX solutions exchange welcome reception being so large and impressive (they even had a chocolate fountain). The hall was packed with partners enjoying food and drink while visiting the PEX booths. There was even an Indy race car! 

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And my company, TrainSignal, had their first booth ever!

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After that, I attended the unofficial community tweetup at Margaritaville, sponsored by HP, where I met up with so many great people in the virtualization industry. I love this picture of (left to right), Scott Lowe of EMC, Christopher Wells of NetApp, Eric Siebert of HP, and Jason Boche of Compellent. It shows that storage vendors of all types can finally get along.

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Day 2 Preview

Today things are really getting exciting, especially after the keynote address at 9am. Scott Aronson, Paul Maritz and Steve Herrod annunced new Partner Programs, solution competenceies, and rewards designed to help VMware Partners succeed.

On the vCloud blog this morning, they also announced a new vCloud Director Client for the iPad.

Besides that, VMware will be live blogging numerous sessions. I will be attending as many sessions as I can to give you the latest in vCloud news. Stay up to date on what’s happening at PEX with the PEX social media feed and make sure you blog using the hashtag #VMwarePEX.

Have a great Day 2 at VMware Partner Exchange 2012!

David Davis is a VMware Evangelist and vSphere Video Training Author for TrainSignal. He has achieved CCIE, VCP, VCAP-DCA, and vExpert level status over his 18+ years in the IT industry. David has authored hundreds of articles on the Internet and over 10 video training courses for TrainSignal.com including the popular vSphere video training package. Learn more about David at his blog or on Twitter and check out a sample of his new vSphere 5 video training course over at TrainSignal.com.

Announcing vCloud Client for the iPad – Enabling the Cloud at Your Fingertips

by Murthy Mathiprakasam & Neha Sampat

Hold your cloud in your hands with the new VMware vCloud Client for iPad.  The VMware vCloud Client for iPad empowers users to view and inspect their VMs, provision environments, and perform basic workload operations –all from the convenience of an iPad.  

Available in the App Store:  Existing vCloud users can quickly install the client from the Apple App Store and immediately access their vCloud Director environments. 

Available in the App Store

Inspect and Troubleshoot: Inspect running tasks and perform basic troubleshooting, such as checking on configuration changes. 

Quickly Provision Apps: Deploy apps and provision entire environments from your catalog of Cloud Computer Systems (vApps). 

Access Your Hybrid Cloud Now: Use your existing login credentials from a vCloud Powered private cloud or public cloud, and even file related support tickets directly to your service provider from your iPad.

See how it works:

 

App Screenshots:

 

 

0. LoginLog in using your existing vCloud Director Credentials



 

 

 

 

1. List of Deployed vApps

View and Interact with your existing VMware vCloud environment on the go

 

2. Powering On

Power apps on and off, start and reset leases & conduct basic networking modifications

 

3. View of VMs in a vApp

Demo or showcase your VMware vCloud environments

4. Catalog

Directly Provision and deploy vApps from a list of catalog entries

Download the vCloud Client for the iPad today to bring the power of vCloud to your fingertips!  

Join the community discussion at and for future product updates and releases, be sure to follow @vCloud on Twitter!

2012 Cloud Predictions – January #cloudtalk Recap

After a brief hiatus, we were glad to restart #cloudtalk in January and discuss 2012 predictions – what’s next in the cloud. Co-hosted with VMware’s very own vCloud Architects, Chris Colotti and Massimo Re Ferre’, participants sounded off on everything from hybrid cloud to production workloads in the cloud. For those who missed it, here are some highlights from last Tuesday’s chat.

We kicked off the chat by asking participants if they agreed with the buzz that 2012 is the year of the hybrid cloud.

@mreferre agreed but added that tools need to deliver on the promise of hybrid cloud. @cxi chimed in that 2012 will really be about enabling those realities. On the other hand, @tier3 and @gazzar_rj both thought that 2012 was more of the year for PaaS. @wholmes responded, “If you are an Enterprise, this is the year of Hybrid Cloud. If you are a startup, this is the year of PaaS Cloud,” to which both @Virtacore and @mreferre agreed. However, @jakerobison noted that he sees PaaS playing a big role for new development in the enterprise as well, with @tier3 also adding that as PaaS begins to support more traditional enterprise languages such as .NET, it will be adopted more among larger organizations. 

@bgracely then asked what would happen faster in the enterprise this year – PaaS investigations or the virtualization of mission-critical apps. @mreferre, @mikefoley, and @maishsk all believed that the virtualization of mission-critical apps would happen faster, with @mreferre adding that even though we talk a lot about cloud PaaS and IaaS, many organizations have not even started to virtualize their infrastructures yet.

We then asked if participants believed that 2012 would see more SMBs making the transition to the cloud.

The vast majority of respondents agreed that yes, more SMBs will transition or at least start seriously looking into the cloud, with @Stratustician pointing out that there are many great benefits to incentivize SMBs to make the move, from standardization and automation to security. @rob_rutherford also noted that the cloud is often the best fit in the SME market.

From there the chat moved into the consumerization of IT in 2012 and whether participants have seen more organizations adopting BYOD policies.

@ccolotti believed that BYOD is a good idea with a lot of bad implementations around the concept. @Stratustician recommended that companies should either adopt BYOD or hire more security folks to keep up with the increase in second policy violators, with @daviottenheimer suggesting that organizations could also extend responsibility for security to everyone. @Stratustician also added that the key is to allow BYOD under agreement that security needs to be used, ie. IDM, VPN, content management, and forceover from 4G to Wifi.

To round off the chat, we asked @ccolotti and @mreferre what most of their customers want to see in the cloud in 2012.

@mreferre responded that his customers want vCO most definitely, with @maishsk commenting on his surprise that it took so long for vCO to become such a major component. @mikefoley then added that good automation and orchestration will become important not just to IT but also security in vCloud implementations, a comment which both @jakerobinson and @joerglew agreed. 

@ccolotti responded that his customers want to see production workloads in the cloud, and that it was time to move out of test/dev cloud, which many agreed with, including @mreferre, @tier3, @wholmes, and @ZertoCorp. @bgracely then asked why @ccolotti believed that 2012 is the year of productions workloads in the cloud, to which he responded that people have spent enough time “playing” with cloud and that it’s time to move forward. @DuncanYB also added that people are getting used to the technology and have started seeing it as a proven solution.

Finally @cxi commented that cloud cannot be adopted mainstream without Executive Leadership buy-in, but that 2012 will see an increase of that, which @wholmes, @Virtacore, and @heidigro all agreed with.

Thanks again to everyone who participated in last month’s #cloudtalk, and special thanks to @mreferre and @ccolotti for co-hosting it with us! We'll be at the #PEXTweetup tomorrow from 4:30-630pm in the VMware Community Lounge, and we encourage both PEX attendees and other cloud enthusiasts to join in the discussion. We’ll be highlighting key cloud conversations using the #cloudtalk hashtag, so be sure to follow us at @VMwareSP and @vCloud to catch live content from the meetup! 

Overview of Disaster Recovery in vCloud Director

By Chris Colotti (Consulting Architect, Center Of Excellence) and Duncan Epping (Principal Architect, Technical Marketing)

This article assumes the reader has knowledge of vCloud Director and vSphere. It will not go in to depth on some topics, we would like to refer to the Site Recovery Manager, vCloud Director and vSphere documentation for more in-depth details around some of the concepts.

Creating DR solutions for vCloud Director poses multiple challenges. These challenges all have a common theme.  That is the automatic creation of objects by VMware vCloud Director such as resource pools, virtual machines, folders, and portgroups. vCloud Director and vCenter Server both heavily rely on management object reference identifiers (MoRef ID’s) for these objects. Any unplanned changes to these identifiers could, and often will, result in loss of functionality. vSphere Site Recovery Manager currently does not support protection of virtual machines managed by vCloud Director.

The vCloud Director and vCenter objects, which are referenced by each product, that are both identified to cause problems when identifiers are changed are:
   •    Folders
   •    Virtual machines
   •    Resource Pools
   •    Portgroups

Besides automatically created objects, the following pre-created static objects are also often used and referenced to by vCloud Director.
   •    Clusters
   •    Datastores

Over the last few months we have worked on, and validated a solution which avoids changes to any of these objects. This solution simplifies the recovery of a vCloud Infrastructure and increases management infrastructure resiliency.  The amazing thing is it can be implemented today with current products.

In this blog post we will give an overview of the developed solution and the basic concepts. For more details, implementation guidance or info about possible automation points we recommend contacting your VMware representative and you engage VMware Professional Services.

Logical Architecture Overview

vCloud Director disaster recovery can be achieved through various scenarios and configurations. This blog post is focused on a single scenario to allow for a simple explanation of the concept. A white paper explaining some of the basic concepts is also currently being developed and will be released soon. The concept can easily be adapted for other scenarios, however you should inquire first to ensure supportability. This scenario uses a so-called “Active / Standby” approach where hosts in the recovery site are not in use for regular workloads.

In order to ensure all management components are restarted in the correct order, and in the least amount of time vSphere Site Recovery Manager will be used to orchestrate the fail-over. As of writing, vSphere Site Recovery Manager does not support the protection of VMware vCloud Director workloads. Due to this limitation these will be failed-over through several manual steps. All of these steps can be automated using tools like vSphere PowerCLI or vCenter Orchestrator.

The following diagram depicts a logical overview of the management clusters for both the protected and the recovery site.

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In this scenario Site Recovery Manager will be leveraged to fail-over all vCloud Director management components. In each of the sites it is required to have a management vCenter Server and an SRM Server which aligns with standard SRM design concepts.

Since SRM cannot be used for vCloud Director workloads there is no requirement to have an SRM environment connecting to the vCloud resource cluster’s vCenter Server. In order to facilitate a fail-over of the VMware vCloud Director workloads a standard disaster recovery concept is used. This concept leverages common replication technology and vSphere features to allow for a fail-over. This will be described below.

The below diagram depicts the VMware vCloud Director infrastructure architecture used for this case study.

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Both the Protected and the Recovery Sites have a management cluster. Each of these contain a vCenter Server and an SRM Server. These are used facilitate the disaster recovery procedures. The vCloud Director Management virtual machines are protected by SRM. Within SRM a protection group and recovery plan will be created to allow for a fail-over to the Recovery Site.

Please note that storage is not stretched in this environment and that hosts in the Recovery Site are unable to see storage in the Protected Site and as such are unable to run vCloud Director workloads in a normal situation.  It is also important to note that the hosts are also attached to the cluster’s DVSwitch to allow for quick access to the vCloud configured port groups and are pre-prepared by vCloud Director.

These hosts are depicted as hosts, which are placed in maintenance mode. These hosts can also be stand-alone hosts and added to the vCloud Director resource cluster during the fail-over. For simplification and visualization purposes this scenario describes the situation where the hosts are part of the cluster and placed in maintenance mode.

Storage replication technology is used to replicate LUNs from the Protected Site to the Recover Site. This can be done using asynchronous or synchronous replication; typically this depends on the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) determined in the service level agreement (SLA) as well as the distance between the two sites. In our scenario synchronous replication was used.

Fail-over Procedure

In this section the basic steps required for a successful fail-over of a VMware vCloud Director environment are described. These steps are pertinent to the described scenario.

It is essential that each component of the vCloud Director management stack be booted in the correct order. The order in which the components should be restarted is configured in an SRM recovery plan and can be initiated by SRM with a single button. The following order was used to power-on the vCloud Director management virtual machines:

  1. Database Server (providing vCloud Director, vCenter Server, vCenter Orchestrator, and Chargeback Databases)
  2. vCenter Server
  3. vShield Manager
  4. vCenter Chargeback (if in use)
  5. vCenter Orchestrator (if in use)
  6. vCloud Director Cell 1
  7. vCloud Director Cell 2

When the fail-over of the vCloud Director management virtual machines in the management cluster has succeeded, multiple steps are required to recover the vCloud Director workload. These are described in a manual fashion but can be automated using PowerCLI or vSphere Orchestrator.

  1. Validate all vCloud Director management virtual machines are powered on
  2. Using your storage management utility break replication for the datastores connected to the vCloud Director resource cluster and make the datastores read/write (if required by storage platform)
  3. Mask the datastores to the recovery site (if required by storage platform)
  4. Using ESXi command line tools mount the volumes of the vCloud Director resource cluster on each host of the cluster
    • esxcfg-volume –m <volume ID>
  5. Using vCenter Server rescan the storage and validated all volumes are available
  6. Take the hosts out of maintenance mode for the vCloud Director resource cluster (or add the hosts to your cluster, depending on the chosen strategy)
  7. In our tests the virtual were automatically powered on by vSphere HA. vSphere HA is aware of the situation before the fail-over and will power-on the virtual machines according to the last known state
    • Alternatively, virtual machines can be powered-on manually leveraging the vCloud API to they are booted in the correct order as defined in their vApp metadata. It should be noted that this could possibly result in vApps being powered-on which were powered-off before the fail-over as there is currently no way of determining their state.

Using this vCloud Director infrastructure resiliency concept, a fail-over of a vCloud Director environment has been successfully completed and the “cloud” moved from one site to another.

As all vCloud Director management components are virtualized, the virtual machines are moved over to the Recovery Site while maintaining all current managed object reference identifiers (MoRef IDs). Re-signaturing the datastore (giving it a new unique ID) has also been avoided to ensure the relationship between the virtual machines / vApps within vCloud Director and the datastore remained in tact. 

Although we have not specifically validated it, yes this solution/concept would also apply to VMware View.

Chris Colotti and Duncan Epping
VMware Center of Excellence & Technical Marketing

Your Partner in the Cloud – Where VMware vCloud and VSPP Fit in the Revolution

The demand for cloud has grown tremendously in the last few years, with an increasing number of enterprises expressing interest in and taking advantage of private, public and hybrid cloud models. Hybrid cloud models in particular have received much attention in the last year, and in a recent Forbes article, David Nichols, principal and Americas CIO services leader for Ernst & Young IT Advisory Services, noted that hybrid cloud strategies provide a “failsafe” model for enterprises and may be the best approach to cloud computing for the enterprise.

So where does VMware fit in all this? Well last week we featured a report by the Taneja Group that discussed how VMware stacks up against other cloud vendors and why the Taneja Group considers VMware the clear cloud leader. In addition to that, check out the handy infographic below that breaks VMware down by the numbers and illustrates where VMware’s growing ecosystem of Service Provider partners fits in the cloud revolution, providing hybrid cloud services to the enterprise. 

VSPP Infographic

VMware values all of its Service Provider partners, and at VMware Partner Exchange next week, we look forward to highlighting all the reasons why VMware’s ecosystem of Service Providers and partners ranks among the best in the industry. Check out yesterday’s blog for a full rundown of what to expect at VMware Partner Exchange, and don’t forget to follow @VMwareSP for live coverage from the show!