By: Matt Sarrel
I’ve been playing around with vCloud Connector 2.0 for a few weeks and I’d like to pass along some of the lessons I’ve learned and provide some tips for getting started.
First, I should explain what vCloud Connector is – vCloud Connector is a virtual appliance that allows you to move workloads and virtual machines between clouds. These clouds could be private, public, or hybrid (a combination of the two). Private clouds need to run vSphere and vCenter Server, and public clouds need to run vCloud Director.
There are two components to vCloud Connector: vCloud Connector Server and vCloud Connector Node. The server provides management features and you’ll probably want to host it with your management and maintenance server workloads. A node is a connection point for each cloud that is managed by the server. A typical configuration involves a single vCloud Connector Server and multiple vCloud Connector Nodes (one per cloud, organization, or vSphere instance). Think of this as the server is the gateway that controls the nodes as they prepare and shift workloads between clouds.
After servers and nodes are installed, you can log into each server individually, or you can get a free account on vcloud.vmware.com and manage all of your vCloud Connector servers through a single web based interface. You will need network access to each server as the portal redirects logins directly to the server. All communication between your machine, the servers, and the nodes is SSL encrypted. You may also choose to not use the portal and instead connect to the servers using vSphere Client 4.0, 4.1, or 5.0.
There is a lot of information about getting started available on vcloud.vmware.com. However, one of the best ways you can get hands-on testing and experience with vCloud is by signing up for the VMware vCloud Service Evaluation. The vCloud Service Evaluation is an inexpensive option allowing users to get their feet wet in the public cloud arena (pricing starts at 4 cents an hour). This gives you the chance to experiment with connecting your internal vSphere environment to a public vCloud Director environment and moving workloads between them.
A great place to get started learning about all of this vCloud stuff is through the Learning & Support section on vCloud.VMware.com, as well as the New Users Guide to Using vCloud by VMware document. This document provides detailed instructions on how to get started with the vCloud Service Evaluation. Another must read document is the vCloud Connector User’s Guide which provides more detailed information on implementing and working with vCloud Connector.
Two additional valuable resources are the vCloud Community and the vCloud Playlist on VMwareTV. I’ve found the vCloud playlist on YouTube to be particularly helpful as there are plenty of videos available for users to learn more about using vCloud, ranging from architecture overviews to detailed installation walk-throughs.
Speaking of detailed installation walk-throughs, my next post will show you how to install and configure vCloud Connector 2.0.
Matthew D. Sarrel (or Matt Sarrel) is executive director of Sarrel Group, a technology product testing, editorial services, and technical marketing consulting practice based in New York City and San Francisco. He currently writes for Enterprise Networking Planet, eWeek, PCmag.com, and GigaOM, blogs at TopTechDog, and publishes the Insights & Opportunities newsletter. You can follow him on Twitter: @msarrel.