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Optimizing VMware vCloud Automation Center Integration with vCloud Hybrid Service

The recently released vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) version 6 is a leap forward in the area of heterogeneous cloud provisioning.  In addition to cross-platform cloud provisioning, vCAC also enables a true Hybrid Cloud approach by integrating off-premises infrastructure back into the data center and allowing users to provision workloads to the cloud in exactly the same way they provision to their existing private data center.

When your off premises and on-premises infrastructure platform both support the exact same workloads without the need for porting, re-building or conversion, you can realize the benefits of a true hybrid cloud infrastructure.  For VMware vSphere® customers, there is no better extension of your data center to the cloud than vCloud Hybrid Service.

Because the templates and underlying components used to stamp blueprints are the same with vCloud Hybrid Service as they are in your private data center, users experience a seamless hybrid approach to modern cloud infrastructure.

Achieving tight integration between vCloud Hybrid Service and vCAC during the early stages of this hybrid cloud journey requires some understanding and careful planning to achieve maximum ROI and minimize the time to realize the benefits of hybrid cloud.

This is not an exhaustive list, but these are some important points to consider when integrating vCAC to vCloud Hybrid Service: vCloud Hybrid Service

  • Out of the box support for vCloud Hybrid Service via vCloud Director (vCD)
    • Both vCAC 5.2 and 6.0 fully support vCloud Hybrid Service vCD endpoints without any modification to the vCAC installation or underlying configuration
    • vCAC uses vCloud Hybrid Service’s vCD Organization URLs as Endpoints
    • vCD URLs can be found within the vCloud Hybrid Service Portal (click the ‘vCloud Director API URL’ button within any Virtual Data Center to expose the URL you need to enter into vCAC)
  • vCAC + vCloud Hybrid Service Extension
    • Certain user rights are required in vCloud Hybrid Service to support all operations. Supported user roles include Account Administrator, Infrastructure Administrator, Network Administrator
    • Consider using a Service Account for regional teams to reduce account management overhead and security risk footprint (although this may reduce activity visibility/accountability)
  • Not every Public Template in vCloud Hybrid Service will work as expected with vCAC
    • Some templates have unbound NICs, and they will fail to deploy properly with vCAC
    • Consider using corporate templates (which can be easily migrated using vCloud Connector) to achieve “known good” shared configurations
  • No Empty vApps
    • Virtual Appliances or vApps are logical groups of Virtual Machines (VMs) in a self-contained package that includes intra-VM networking configuration. vApps must contain at least one VM to function properly. If you receive errors during ‘Discovery’, ensure that there are no ‘empty’ vApps in the vCloud Hybrid Service Virtual Data Center you are connecting to.
  • Changes in Storage Profile
    • If vCloud Hybrid Service renames a storage profile, blueprints relying on the original profile will fail to deploy, citing a missing resource.  While this isn’t expected to happen regularly, additions or modifications to the existing platform, including storage profile labels, may occur as we add or improve existing features of the service.
  • Other issues?
    • Capacity: If you are unable to deploy / provision a VM using vCAC, verify there are sufficient resources (RAM, CPU, Storage) available in the destination cloud.
    • Latency: Consider using a vCloud Hybrid Service data center location that is closer to your on-premises data center for minimal latency.  Otherwise, vCloud Hybrid Service offers a Direct Connect option that can provide a high throughput, low latency private dedicated link between your data center and vCloud Hybrid Service.

With these suggestions in mind, the integration of vCAC with vCloud Hybrid Service shines as a new and modern way of provisioning applications across clouds.  VMware vCAC provides a self-service model that reduces the ‘time-to-live-VM’ and pain points of the procurement process, transforming traditional requests and the associated manual steps required into an automated ‘IT-as-a-Service’ workflow that keeps everyone focused on what matters most to them.  IT administrators stay in control of their cloud deployments and infrastructure requests by pre-defining policies for workload deployment, and application developers and users get infrastructure provisioned rapidly without all the red tape.

When used together, vCAC and vCloud Hybrid Service enable companies to fully realize the advantages of Hybrid Cloud while allowing them to adopt public cloud infrastructure at the right pace to meet their requirements.