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Monthly Archives: March 2012

5 Things You Need to Know about vCloud Director

By: David Davis

If you aren’t too familiar with vCloud Director, here are 5 things that you should know:

  1. Released with vSphere 5, vCloud Director 1.5 is the latest version. It offers a number of new features including a virtual appliance deployment for training and proof of concept (exactly what I would recommend for your training and lab environment). vCD 1.5 Release notes can be found here.
  2. vCD is going to sit on top of your existing vSphere infrastructure and create a self-service portal for you and your power users (or customers).
  3. Requirements for vCD are vSphere enterprise (enterprise plus recommended) on minimum 2 ESXi hosts in a DRS/HA cluster with vCenter (and shared storage) but typical vCD implementations are larger.
  4. You can get away with running vCD even on a laptop with VMware Fusion or Workstation for a demo and testing (great for tech sales people)
  5. You can download a free 60 day eval of vCloud Director that includes vCenter, vShield, and vSphere Enterprise Plus.

Now that you’ve got some base facts on vCD, what should you do next? Take a training course! I recently highlighted all the video-based training courses available to users interested in learning more about vCloud Director – choose one that fits your schedule and see how vCloud Director can increase your IT agility. 

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.

Learn VMware vCloud Director on a Shoestring

By: David Davis

Just about the only qualification to learn about vCloud Director is whether or not you have vSphere knowledge, as vCD builds on top of your vSphere infrastructure. vCloud Director allows your end users or customers to consume the virtual infrastructure with maximum agility (that means it makes your life, and theirs, easier). Whether you are a vSphere admin at a medium-size company or at a large service provider, it’s the perfect tie to get started learning vCloud Director!

So how do you get started learning about vCloud Director?  Sure, you can work through the vCD Evaluation guide and other documentation. And, yes, VMware education has their flagship classroom (or online) 4 day class on vCloud Director (Deploy and Manage the VMware vCloud 1.5). But let’s say that you are just getting started and don’t have much money in your budget to learn about vCloud Director. What are your options?

Video-based training (or CBT) is the best option! It’s self-paced so you can learn on your own schedule. In some cases, it’s portable so you can learn on the go (on your iPad while on the plane or train). And, once you have it, your video-based training option is always available for you to come back to and reference when you are using the product (unlike most classroom training that is a one-time event).

Here are two CBT options that are available to users interested in learning more about vCloud Director:

  1. TrainSignal vCloud Director Essentials (1.5) – I spent the last few months creating a 5 hour Ddtraining1 vCloud Director Essentials video training course. I designed this course to give you a solid foundation on vCloud Director concepts/terminology and then show you how to install and configure vCD. It was enjoyable showing the two different ways to install vCD – using the new virtual appliance (for proof of concepts & labs) as well as the production method (installing Linux, installing vCD, connecting it to a database, etc). Once installed, I walk you through creating provider virtual data centers, organization, and vApps. And when you choose video training from TrainSignal, you get it in both streaming video over the web as well as a DVD for offline viewing on your laptop or iPad. The course was tech edited, and one of the videos (vCloud Director in the Real World) was created by Jake Robinson of Bluelock (a vCloud Datacenter provider). I hope you enjoy my course and I welcome your feedback!

     

  2. VMware vCloud Director Fundamentals (1.5) – VMware’s self-paced 3.5 hour vCloud Director 
    training is another great option that offers a base introduction to cloud computing and the vCloud architecture. It shows you how to analyze your license needs, how to configure vSphere and cloud resources, and how to create and manage vCloud Director networks. It’s broken down into 6 modules – overview, architecture & components, installation & configuration, administration, networking, and user administration.

Additionally, VMware Education has a couple of CBT courses available that are based on vCloud Director 1.0. They are:

Now is the time to start learning about vCloud Director (and other vCloud components). vCloud Director continues to improve and be adopted by providers and enterprises around the world. It’s likely that VMware will soon have a certification around vCloud Director (a partner competency is already in beta) and your enterprise could really take advantage of what infrastructure clouds can provide. Get s­tarted today!

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.

vCloud Director 1.5 Multisite Cloud Considerations

By: Massimo Re Ferre', vCloud Architect

This is a repost from Massimo’s personal blog, IT 2.0 – Next Generation IT Infrastructures.

In the last few months, among other things, I have been working on a document called vCloud Director 1.5 Multisite Cloud Considerations. Being able to deploy vCloud Director 1.5 across different sites is something our customers and service provider partners have been asking us a lot.

Some of these customers and partners have decided to deploy independent vCloud Director instances in different “sites”, others have wanted more clarity on how far they could stretch a single vCloud Director instance across multiple “sites”. Of course both approaches present advantages and disadvantages.

We have never been very clear about the supportability boundaries other than “a single vCD instance can only been implemented in a single site”. What is a single site anyway? Is it a rack? Is it a building? Is it a campus? Is it a city? Is it a region? What is it? In this paper we have tried to clarify those boundaries. We have also provided some supportability guidelines. 

In the document, we have described the various components that comprise a vCloud environment and we have classified them in macro areas such as provider workloads, user workload clusters and user workloads.

VCD15MultisiteCloudConsiderations1

 

In a nutshell, throughout the document, we have tried to clarify and classify different MAN and WAN scenarios based on network connectivity characteristics (namely latency). We have determined, in our vCD parlance, what would constitute a single site deployment (over a MAN) and what would constitute a multisite deployment (over WAN). We have determined 20 ms of latency to be “our” threshold between what we can support and what we cannot support with this specific vCloud Director 1.5 release.

The document gets into a lot more details and scenarios but the two major takeaways are:

  • It is not possible to stretch the provider workloads that is the software modules that comprise your VMware vCloud (e.g. vCD cells, vCD database, the NFS share, etc).
  • It is possible to have Provider vDCs that are located up to 20 ms (RTT) from the provider workloads.

This picture summarizes one of the supported scenarios:

VCD15MultisiteCloudConsiderations2

 

In the doc we call out and describe more precisely other supported scenarios (such as stretched clusters) and various caveats associated. The following are the scenarios we are taking into account:

VCD15MultisiteCloudConsiderations3

 

It is important to understand that, when we talk about a distributed vCloud environment, we are not necessarily referring to DR of the end-user workloads. This is really about how a Service Provider can allow an end user to spin up workloads in a distributed environment. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the SP is responsible for failing over those workloads in the other data centers. If you want to know more about how to build a resilient vCloud architecture you should read this link.

Towards the end of the document we have summarized the supportability statements associated to distributing compute resources in a vCloud setup. In the current version of the doc the summary looks like this:

VCD15MultisiteCloudConsiderations4

 

If you are evaluating a multisite vCloud Director 1.5 deployment you may want to give this document a read. Note that it isn’t published externally on VMware.com but it is available through your VMware representative.

I’d be interested to hear any questions, comments, or feedback you may have. 

Massimo currently works as at VMware as a Staff Systems Engineer, vCloud Architect. He works with Service Providers and Outsourcers to help them shape their Public Cloud services roadmap based on VMware cloud technologies. Massimo also blogs about Next Generation IT Infrastructures on his personal blog, IT 2.0.

Highlights from the Growing VMware Service Provider (VSPP) Ecosystem

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The VMware Service Provider ecosystem continues to grow, and Partner Exchange 2012 is a testament to this growth – with over 4,000 attendees, PEX 2012 was the largest one yet. We had a great time meeting and greeting with all of the VMware Solution Providers, Service Providers and Partners that make VMware’s Partner ecosystem among the greatest in the industry, and we wanted to highlight some of the successes that VMware Service Providers have had to share due to their partnership with VMware.

In the video below, Bluelock CTO, Pat O’Day, discusses Bluelock’s vCloud Datacenter Service and how they’ve been able to help move their customers to the cloud with vCloud Connector:

  

In another great video with NTTA Communications, Nayan Naik, Director of Product Strategy, talks about the advantages of being a global provider of vCloud Powered services and the growing customer interest in hybrid cloud technologies:

 

Hosting.com has also seen success with its Cloud Enterprise public cloud service, a vCloud Powered offering. In the video below, Craig McLellan, CTO of Hosting.com, talks about their vCloud Powered offering, as well as how working with VMware has benefited Hosting.com to deliver disaster recovery and high availability options to enterprise customers:

 

You can visit VMwareTV on YouTube to watch all of our interviews with VMware Service Providers at PEX.

During key breakout sessions at PEX, we had the opportunity to hear more about how VMware Service Providers have been able to achieve big customer wins by delivering public cloud services powered by VMware technology.

For example, in CIM1345, a panel moderated by Mathew Lodge, Craig McLellan (CTO of Hosting.com) and Dante Orsini (CTO of iland) took the stage to discuss their real-world cloud experiences. Dante discussed how vCloud Connector has increased the speed of adoption internally for their customers, while Craig noted that education of the customer early in the opportunity is crucial when selling cloud services. Both vCloud Service Providers agreed that based on their experiences, they’re seeing more of a demand in the market for service-based offerings.

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In SMP1540, a panel moderated by Kedra Simm, representatives from VMware Solution Providers Fortrust and Kembit discussed how partnering with vCloud Service Providers PeakColo and Uniserver has enabled them to increase their revenue and further benefit their current customer base. Both Solution Provider partners agreed that by taking advantage of VMware Service Provider Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings, they can focus on their customers instead of spending millions of dollars on building infrastructure.

Many of the breakout sessions during PEX also underlined VMware’s commitment to ensuring the success of its growing Service Provider and Partner Ecosystem.

In CIM1343, Mathew Lodge discussed the benefits of delivering vCloud Powered services, as it enables Service Providers to extend their datacenter, secure their infrastructure and access on-demand. Mathew noted that the top reasons why customers leave Amazon for vCloud Powered services are storage performance and operational costs, with one Fortune 100 Software Company being quoted as saying, “Our costs today are 50% of what they were with AWS” after switching to a vCloud provider.

We’re excited to see the continued growth of the VSPP program, and we hope everyone who attended PEX enjoyed the event and were able to network successfully with other VMware Service Providers, Solutions Providers and Partners! We also wanted to acknowledge and congratulate our Service Provider Partners who received awards during the VMware Partner Network global awards, such as Dell, who won VMware’s Global SMB Partner of the Year Award, and iland, who won the Global Service Provider of the Year (VSPP) Award. Check out the full list of winners.

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For future updates about the VSPP ecosystem, be sure to follow @vCloud and @VMwareSP on Twitter! 

Announcing the General Availability of vCloud Integration Manager

By: Joe Andrews, Director of Cloud Product Marketing

Today VMware is happy to announce the general availability of VMware vCloud Integration Manager – a new tool designed specifically to give vCloud Service Providers a simple and standardized way to provision vCloud Director, vShield and vSphere. With vCloud Integration Manager, VMware provides vCloud Service Provider Partners a pragmatic path to offer a cost efficient and high margin public cloud service to customers. 

The interest from Service Providers has understandably been strong. To help them get started, VMware is offering a limited time promotion for eligible VSPP members to start using vCloud Integration Manager for free. More details on this offer can be found here.

VCIM

With vCloud Integration Manager, vCloud Service Providers can:

  • Accelerate delivery and reduce time to market: vCloud Integration Manager’s tight integration with vCloud Director, vShield, vSphere and vCenter Chargeback Manager enables vCloud Service Providers to deliver infrastructure and associated services rapidly with the click of a button.
  • Operate more efficiently: Through a Web-based portal, vCloud Service Providers can manage existing and new customers, products and partners in one place, reducing operational complexity and cost. 
  • Increase revenue: vCloud Integration Manager enables vCloud Service Providers to take cloud services to market through new or existing channels that deliver the best results.

At VMware Partner Exchange, VMware Service Provider Partners had the opportunity to see a demo of vCloud Integration Manager in action at the VMware Booth and share their thoughts on the new tool. Here’s what a sample of vCloud Service Providers have had to say about vCloud Integration Manager:

Kevin Van Mondfrans, VP of Product Management, Cloud & Infrastructure as a Service for Layered Technologies (video below):

“For Layered Tech, vCloud Integration Manager allows us to more easily deliver cloud services to our customers…It also helps us to better deliver dedicated private clouds built within our cloud framework.” 

 

Mike Salviski, Director of Datacenter Solutions for Earthlink (video below):

“vCloud Integration Manager allows us to automate the onboarding of customers and allow us to offer our partners integrated servers to our vCloud infrastructure.” 

 

Pablo Serber, Chief Technologist for Colt: 

"We believe vCloud Integration Manager is a key enabler for the Distribution and VAR channels. It provides enhanced flexibility allowing the resellers to fully control the creation and configuration of packages that without vCloud Integration Manager, is not only slow, but rather complex. It maintains the n-tier multitenant customer segregation, which is essential for this market. Colt is currently piloting the first and only vCloud Integration Manager in EU. We are following very closely its evolution and features, and analyzing all the different scenarios for expanding our current Distribution and Reseller capabilities."

Bill Card, Cloud Engineer at bluemile:

"As a Cloud Engineer here at bluemile inc, vCloud Integration Manager proves as a great addition. When using vCloud Integration Manager, it provides resellers as well as sales team members to have the capability to provision vDCs within designated organizations. This can be pre-configured using vCloud Integration Manager, which allows our Cloud Engineers to standardize vDCs and maintain total control of the environment. There are also some key management features for us, such as managing POC lifecycles and ensuring that vDC cleanup is done afterwards based on predefined parameters."

To learn more about vCloud Integration Manager, check out Mathew Lodge’s recent post on the Rethink IT blog or visit VMware.com for product collateral. Eligible VSPP members may also visit Partner Central (login required) to download the product and technical documentation.

Questions or feedback on vCIM? Tweet at us via @vCloud and @VMwareSP

Announcing VMware vCloud® Director 1.5 at Bluelock

by Jake Robinson, Senior Systems Engineer, VCP and 2011 VMware vExpert

Bluelock has completed the upgrade from VMware vCloud® Director 1.0 to 1.5 in its public cloud infrastructure. The upgrade to vCloud Director 1.5 is a result of the strong partnership and close alignment of Bluelock and VMware cloud strategies. Timing of this upgrade also represents Bluelock’s dedication to testing and QA for the new features within vCloud Director 1.5.

vCloud Director 1.5 Features and Benefits

VMware vCloud Director 1.5 offers a number of exciting new benefits for Bluelock clients. This upgrade further improves the economics and agility of the cloud with the security and control of enterprise IT infrastructure. A few notable features of vCloud Director 1.5 include:

  • User Interface Improvements – The vCloud Director web UI continues to mature and provide superior control and visualization of your Virtual Datacenters.
  • Firewall improvements – The firewalls in vCloud, powered by VMware vShield®, now offer sourced-based firewall rules, providing increased granularity and control of security in the cloud.
  • Self-Service VPN – vCloud Director 1.5 introduces the ability to self-provision IPSEC VPN tunnels from your virtual datacenters to the IPSEC VPN device of your choice. In addition, vCloud to vCloud VPNs are automatic, meaning less setup time and complexity.
  • vCloud API 1.5 – There are a number of enhancements in the API, including a new query service, which improves both speed and efficiency of applications utilizing the API. The API also introduces the ability to utilize PowerCLI 5.0.1 and the vCenter Orchestrator™ vCloud 1.5 plugin to automate and integrate your Virtual Datacenter.

Bluelock Portfolio Supports vCloud API 1.5

Bluelock Portfolio has been upgraded to take advantage of the new vCloud API 1.5 as well. Bluelock Portfolio is the first cloud-aware decision support tool. Built alongside vCloud Director, Bluelock Portfolio provides powerful resource and cost analysis tools for your Virtual Datacenters at Bluelock.

About Bluelock

Bluelock is an award-winning provider of cloud hosting solutions for the enterprise. Hosted in the public cloud, Bluelock Virtual Datacenters help companies get started quickly and deal with the unknown, while delivering the freedom to change their minds as IT needs evolve. With multiple SAS-70 Type II datacenters, Bluelock’s VMware vCloud Datacenter Service provides world-class SLAs, guaranteeing enterprise level uptime. Bluelock prides itself in its engagement model driven by greater control, price visibility and personal service relationships. A long-term VMware service provider with a shared vision for cloud computing, Bluelock was one of the first certified VMware vCloud Datacenter service providers.

Learn more about Bluelock’s upgrade to vCloud Director 1.5 in the video below:

 

Visit our website for more on the Bluelock Portfolio and additional features, or call 888-402-2583 (BLUE).

More Upcoming Events from VMware Service Providers

By: Matt Sarrel

With all the advances being made in the VMware service provider platform, there’s plenty to learn and keep up with. Through all of the upcoming VMware Service Provider events coming up in March, we’ve got an all you can eat buffet of virtualization knowledge spanning from Italian food in San Jose to steak in NYC. From Internap you can learn what’s going on in the cloud market so you can develop a cloud strategy, and then learn how to evaluate infrastructure providers in order to make a choice that matches your needs. iland turns it up a notch by moving you from theory to practice with case studies and live demonstrations. 

Internap's leadership luncheons were covered in a previous blog, but here are the details on iland's upcoming Lunch & Learns: 

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. Whether your IT infrastructure requirements are short or long term, static or dynamic, iland Cloud Services can accommodate your IT needs in an all encompassing virtual datacenter environment.

Attendees to either Lunch & Learn will learn the different ways that IT organizations and service providers are harnessing the power of a virtual datacenter to cost effectively gain unprecedented agility without sacrificing security, compatibility, performance, or control. 

Through a series of live demonstrations, iland and VMware vCloud architects will reveal unique use cases; from streamlining the deployment of applications and role based administration to securely extending your existing vSphere environment to the cloud.

San Francisco Lunch & Learn
Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
11:30am-1:30pm PT
Thirsty Bear 
661 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

RSVP for the San Francisco Lunch and Learn
 
San Jose Lunch & Learn
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012
11:30am-1:30pm PT
Maggiano's Little Italy
3055 Olin Avenue, Suite 1000
San Jose, CA 95128

RSVP for the San Jose Lunch and Learn

Atlanta Lunch & Learn
Wednesday, April 19th, 2012
11:30am-1:30 pm ET
Fleming's Steakhouse
4501 Old Perimeter Way  
Atlanta, GA 30346

As an added bonus, all attendees 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!

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.

For VMware Service Providers – Usage Meter v2.3 is Now Available

Today we announced to VMware service providers the availability of the new version 2.3 of the vCloud Usage Meter. For background, the Usage Meter is an important operational tool in the VMware Service Provider Program (VSPP) that enables VMware Virtualized and vCloud Service Providers to accurately measure and report on service usage of vRAM by customers consuming a VMware based Infrastructure as a Service offering. 

This release delivers key customer reporting improvements that help providers better understand their customer usage – both individually and in aggregate, so providers improve their prioritization of development and marketing resources.

Resources for Service Providers – You can learn more about the new version of the product and how to install and use it through a number of collateral, including a User Guide, FAQ, technical deck, and “How-to” videos on Partner Central, the one-stop content library for all VMware partners.

Registered Service Providers may download the vCloud Usage Meter (virtual appliance) at VMware.com.