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Tag Archives: hybrid cloud

Configuring Multiple Machines for vCloud Air Disaster Recovery

This is a summary of a post that originally appeared on Chris Colotti’s Blog. You can find the original post here.

Having done multiple demonstrations of vCloud Air Disaster Recovery, Chris Colotti, Principal Technical Marketing Architect for vCloud Air, is often asked, “Can we configure multiple machines for replication?” As Chris found out (with the help of Akeem Jenkins and lab testing) the answer is yes! There are a few conditions that must be met first, but overall, the process of configuring multiple machines for replication is simple. Continue reading

How to Get Started with VMware vCloud Air Disaster Recovery in a Few Easy Steps

Few companies can afford to have their business-critical operations go offline, yet many businesses don’t have the proper resiliency tools in place. It’s not because organizations lack the desire to adopt disaster recovery, it’s because the constrictive contracts, inflexible environments, and high price points that come with traditional options makes it prohibitive to do so. The cloud changes that.

VMware’s new recovery-as-a-service offering gives midsize businesses an affordable option for disaster recovery. VMware vCloud® Air™ Disaster Recovery helps you fulfill the need to implement or supplement your continuity plans while addressing budget, time, and resource constraints. If you’re interested in getting started with the service, keep in mind the following tips:

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VMworld 2014: Check Out What’s in Store for the Hybrid Cloud!

No Limits

It’s the beginning of August, which means VMworld is only a few short weeks away! Attendees will soon get the chance to preview the latest in VMware technology, view demos of VMware tech and solutions, and wine and dine among some of the leading minds in the industry!

VMworld is always a packed event with more to do, see and learn than there are hours in the day. Rest assured, we’ll be on-site shooting videos, taking pictures, and live-tweeting the whole event so you can catch up on what you missed later. But to make sure you don’t miss the essentials, we’ve compiled this handy guide to VMworld 2014. Here are 4 things you don’t want to miss:

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Q&A with Gavin Jackson on the future of VMware vCloud Hybrid Service in Europe – Part One

This is a cross-post from the EMEA Blog. You can find the original post here.

Last week, we announced the launch of vCloud Hybrid Service in the APJ region, and this week, as part of the growing global momentum around vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS), we’re able to announce a second vCHS data centre located just outside of Chessington in the UK. We asked Gavin Jackson, Vice President and General Manager for Cloud Services EMEA at VMware, to explain why the demand for vCHS is growing in Europe and why it has received such a positive reception from VMware’s customers.  

vCloud Hybrid Service is clearly engaging customers in Europe. Can you tell us a bit more about this?

You’re right, there has been a strong appetite among customers for vCHS in Europe, and it is resonating because it fundamentally helps organisations solve genuine business problems, with ease and without infrastructure investment. While I can’t talk about all of the customers we’re now working with, we’re seeing customers of all sizes, across sectors and industries and across European countries take up the service to help them solve some very common business problems.

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Announcing VMware Cloud Academy: The Place to Go to Learn More About vCloud Hybrid Service

Ready to add hybrid cloud to your resume? Or want a chance to win a ticket to VMworld 2014? Visit the newly launched VMware Cloud Academy—a new site designed to help VMware vSphere administrators become more cloud-ready. The site includes a complete 7-part technical video series, a downloadable eBook featuring Dilbert cartoons by Scott Adams, and an opportunity to connect with your peers on cloud best practices—either online or at VMworld.

The cloud is here to stay, so take advantage of your VMware knowledge and see how easy it is to use the Hybrid Cloud as another target for your vSphere workloads. Check out the videos presented by our cloud experts to learn more about how Infrastructure-as-a-Service can solve your data center capacity problems or how Recovery-as-a-Service can give you a low cost and easy-to-manage disaster recovery solution. Then pass the quiz to enter a raffle to win a free ticket to VMworld 2014 in San Francisco.

Here are the details:

  • The quiz runs from July 18th to July 31st.
  • To enter, complete the quiz, get 18 out of 20 questions correct to pass, and fill out the drawing entry form. (If you don’t pass the first time, you can try again.)
  • The quiz is  based on our 7-part video series, so watch the videos. We kept them short and easy to consume. Hint: Download the eBook prior to taking the quiz.
  • Five winners will be randomly selected.
  • Winners will be announced on August 4th.

We’re looking forward to helping you on your cloud journey. Keep an eye out for upcoming Google Hangouts with cloud subject matter experts, more videos, and other opportunities to connect and expand your hybrid cloud knowledge. So bookmark VMware Cloud Academy today!

Good luck, and we hope to see you at VMworld 2014!

For future updates, follow us on Twitter at @vCloud and on Facebook at Facebook.com/VMwarevCloud.com.

For more information about VMware vCloud Hybrid Service, visit vCloud.VMware.com.

Why Run Your Exchange Environment In A Hybrid Cloud Model?

By David Hill

VMware vSphere has always been a premier destination for virtualizing packaged applications like Microsoft SharePoint and Exchange. Being built on the same trusted foundation of vSphere, vCloud Hybrid Service continues to see the hosting of these packaged applications as one of the five common starting points to hybrid cloud.

I thought I would expand on this, specifically around why would you would host Microsoft Exchange in VMware vCloud Hybrid Service.

Let’s initially think about the use case of Exchange itself. Microsoft Exchange provides email services to users. Exchange is sometimes considered a static workload that is not a suitable candidate for cloud deployment. However by the very nature of the Exchange use case where users are the key, it becomes a great candidate for deployment in a cloud.

Growth

Let’s think about an actual business and how they grow. No company wants to remain static, so one of their ultimate goals is growth. As a company grows, they take on more and more staff, and maybe then acquire companies, which again brings in even more staff. This in turn causes growth in your messaging systems; more staff equals more users, more users equals more data, more data equals more resource requirements and so it continues until your current infrastructure becomes too constrained and more capital investment is needed. This is where the potential for cloud comes in.

Cloud or IaaS provide the speed and agility IT departments need today. Gone are the days where a project to increase Exchange capacity could take 6 months. Businesses need to expand quickly and need IT to keep up with this expansion as quickly as possible. By leveraging cloud, you get the flexibility to grow your environment as you need to.

Leveraging Your Existing Infrastructure Through Hybridity

By leveraging a hybrid cloud model, you have the ability to leverage your existing investments in your on-premises environment. For example, consider backups that are typically a big investment for your Exchange environment. If you have invested in on-premises backup infrastructure, you will want to continue to leverage this investment. You’re not going to throw it away. This is one of the key benefits of hosting Exchange in a cloud. By designing and building a hybrid cloud, you can continue to leverage this existing infrastructure, while gaining the benefits like agility and ultimately reducing the time to resolve your capacity issues.

Disaster Recovery

Out of all the tools that are used for communication and collaboration, email services are probably the most critical of them all. Ensuring that a robust disaster recovery plan is in place for email is critical for most businesses.

In my personal blog, I talk about how you can leverage the built-in disaster recovery features of Exchange to build a fully redundant email infrastructure across multiple sites. Not all companies have multiple data centers and data centers are expensive to build and maintain, even if we use data center colocation. By leveraging a hybrid cloud model, you gain geographic diversity without the high costs and outlay of capital expenditure required to build multiple locations and data centers. You can simply purchase the amount of resources you need when you need them.

See the diagram below for a high level overview of how you might achieve this.

dc1

Why Not Office 365

Microsoft offers Exchange Online and Office 365 as their cloud-based email solution. They recommend you use this service alongside your current existing on-premises Exchange environment instead of hosting Exchange in the cloud. So why would you host Exchange rather than just pay for a SaaS offering? It comes down to three concerns: investment, control and compliance. Many companies have invested heavily in 3rd party tools and utilities that improve their existing on-premises Exchange environments. These include spam-filtering tools and backup solutions as described earlier. Some of these tools are used specifically to meet compliance and regulation standards. You cannot install these 3rd party tools in an Exchange Online environment – and the ecosystem is not yet mature enough to offer the same capabilities that are offered by an on-premises solution today. Also, some companies need control over when software is upgraded or patches are applied in order to conform to company policies. These companies need access to the Exchange server while still gaining the geographic reach and scale of a cloud-based solution. That is possible in a hosted environment.

Summary

The key to hosting a successful Exchange environment in the cloud is to understand all the benefits of that move. Some of the benefits that we have mentioned are:

  • Agility
  • Speed
  • Cost
  • Ability to leverage existing infrastructure

When making your decision on where to host Exchange, it’s important to consider supportability. Not all vendors and providers support Microsoft Exchange running in their clouds, so making sure that your environment and design is supported by both is critical. With vCloud Hybrid Service, you can run Exchange in one of the five different data centers across the United States or two data centers in the UK and still call the same Global Support team that you’ve always worked with – a great example of true hybridity.

For more information on migrating Exchange to vCloud Hybrid Service and to see how VMware’s own IT department deployed this, come to my VMworld breakout session “Architect the Hybrid Cloud for Microsoft Exchange and Lync”.

For future updates, follow us on Twitter at @vCloud and on Facebook at Facebook.com/VMwarevCloud.

For more information about VMware vCloud Hybrid Service, visit vCloud.VMware.com.

Top Five Reasons Why Your Organization Should Consider Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery

Few organizations can afford the downtime caused by a disaster. Those capable of weathering such events usually have the datacenters, internal expertise and budget to do so — options that aren’t available for most mid-market organizations.

However the tides are changing, as many organizations look away from traditional disaster recovery solutions and to the cloud. According to an IDG market survey, 43% of respondents are getting started with hybrid cloud to improve their disaster recovery capabilities. With VMware vCloud Air® Disaster Recovery™, businesses can leverage cloud-based disaster recovery at a price they can afford, while using the tools they’re already familiar with.

While there are many reasons to adopt a cloud-based disaster recovery solution, we highlight the top 5 reasons below:

1. Ease of Getting Started 

Traditional disaster recovery plans are often complex, requiring dedicated budgets, knowledgeable staff and management resources your organization may not be able to spare.

vCloud Air Disaster Recovery makes it easy for organizations to get an effective disaster recovery plan in place. By providing a simple, secure, automated process for replicating and recovering applications and data in the case of a local disaster or disruptive event, vCloud Air Disaster Recovery is the cheaper alternative to investing in new hardware or specialists.

2. Flexible, Lower Cost Alternative

In the past, traditional disaster recovery solutions often forced companies to decide what they need to protect versus what they can afford to protect. This situation puts companies in a vulnerable position – if a disaster were to strike, inadequate protection could result in the loss of valuable company data.

vCloud Air Disaster Recovery addresses variable capacity requirements needed to support common disaster recovery use cases, allowing organizations to replicate, failover and recover at a significantly reduced price point. vCloud Air Disaster Recovery also provides flexible subscription options, so you only need to pay for what you need.

3. Simplified Environment

Implementing a disaster recovery solution doesn’t have to be a complicated process. vCloud Air Disaster Recovery is built on VMware vSphere® Replication and integrated with vCloud Air, letting you leverage the same tools, skill sets, and processes your IT team already uses.

4. Management Consistency

The ongoing maintenance and monitoring of disaster recovery solutions usually requires new training and skills, which can be time-consuming and cost prohibitive for many organizations.

However, vCloud Air Disaster Recovery provides users with a single interface and common management with your onsite VMware environment. This allows admins to use the UI they’re already familiar, and comfortable, with to manage your disaster recovery environment. Workflow execution and task management are also available to ensure access to your disaster recovery environment at all times.

5. Self-Service Protection

The quality of a disaster recovery solution often depends on the quality of support your organization receives when implementing and testing it.

vCloud Air Disaster Recovery allows self-serve protection, which means you have complete control over what to protect and when. You can also set custom Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) for each virtual machine and control replication frequency based on application priorities.

Cloud-based disaster recovery — like vCloud Air Disaster Recovery — gives organizations more benefits and control at a lower price point than traditional disaster recovery solutions. For more information on why you should adopt cloud-based disaster recovery and common use cases, download our whitepaper.

To learn more about vCloud Air Disaster Recovery, visit us at vCloud.VMware.com.

Be sure to subscribe to the vCloud blog, follow @vCloud on Twitter or ‘like’ us on Facebook for future updates.

VMware Continues to Expand Hybrid Cloud Data Center Presence in U.S. with New Jersey Location

We continue to expand vCloud Hybrid Service and broaden our footprint in the U.S., with the addition of a new data center in Jersey City, NJ. In close proximity to the New York and New England markets, the New Jersey data center is attractive to companies seeking greater resiliency and proximity to their customers, partners and existing data center locations. New Jersey is our sixth data center opened to date, with plans for additional data centers later this year as we continue to expand to meet customer demand. You can purchase cloud capacity in the New Jersey location immediately. Pricing is the same as our other U.S. data centers, and is available here.

VMware vCloud Hybrid Service, built on VMware vSphere, enables customers to extend the same applications, networking, management, operations and tools across both on-premises and off-premises environments. Customers can manage and automate vCloud Hybrid Service from their vSphere console, vCloud Automation Center, vCloud Application Director and their own tools using the vCloud API.

Designed to serve the growing demand for vCloud Hybrid Service, the New Jersey data center delivers a high performance software-defined data center architecture including:

  • Redundant VM Service – Unlike other clouds, VMware provides a service level agreement for VM availability, backed by fully redundant server infrastructure using VMware vSphere vMotion. This maximizes the performance and uptime of customer applications, automatically live migrating them to other compute nodes if there is server congestion or equipment failure.
  • Enterprise-class Storage – VMware uses flash-accelerated disk storage, 10G networking and congestion control to meet the performance demands of today’s enterprise applications cost-effectively.
  • Full Network Virtualization At no extra cost, VMware customers can deploy a rich set of load balancers, firewalls and VPNs using virtual networks, switches and routers to replicate their physical networking configuration.

Our hybrid approach helps enterprise customers use the public cloud with an infrastructure that matches their existing architectures and data location, giving IT all the freedom of the public cloud with the manageability and security they expect from their existing data center or private cloud.  For IT departments, a hybrid cloud can remove traditional barriers to innovation and radically change the relationship between IT and the business.

To get started with the vCloud Hybrid Service, visit vCloud.VMware.com.

For future updates, follow us on Twitter at @vCloud and Facebook.com/VMwarevCloud.

How vCloud Hybrid Service is Different: 10 Cloud Capabilities on vCloud Hybrid Service that Don’t Exist on AWS

By: Mathew Lodge, Vice President of Cloud Services at VMware

We first published this blog back in March, but since it’s been our most popular post to-date, we are sharing it again in case you missed it. Since March, we have shipped updates to vCloud Hybrid Service every 3-4 weeks, including a simple, cost-effective Disaster Recovery service that also simply isn’t possible on AWS. We also introduced our Desktop as a Service offering, a new low-cost Standard Storage Tier, production hybrid PaaS with Pivotal CloudFoundry, and a refreshed version of our data protection service — also something you can’t get on AWS.

With vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS), we’re firmly focused on solving enterprise customer cloud problems – especially making the transition from today’s investments in apps and data to a cloud future as easy as possible. And that means building a different kind of cloud – those that matter to enterprises. To make that very concrete for those familiar with Amazon Web Services (AWS), here are 10 things in vCHS to make that transition easier that you can’t do in AWS.

1. Free automatic availability monitoring and fast VM restart

vCHS includes hot standby redundant capacity to maximize the uptime of your application. It’s free and requires no configuration. vCHS automatically monitors all servers and if there’s a catastrophic failure, immediately re-starts all affected VMs on hot standby hardware in the same vCHS cluster. At reboot time, the VM’s file system is exactly as it was before the failure, preserving as much state as possible to allow the OS and application to recover quickly. It also has exactly the same network configuration – MAC addresses, IP addresses and so on – ensuring other VMs can communicate with the new VM without reconfiguration.

By contrast, AWS offers no redundant capacity, no automatic monitoring, and no fast VM restart. New EC2 instances don’t have the same MAC address and require extra configuration to get the same IP address. For redundancy you must buy extra instances, buy and manage a load balancer (assuming the app traffic can be load balanced), architect and code a state-sharing mechanism, buy and manage monitoring, and orchestrate VM re-start.

2. Free automatic proactive performance management

The same VMware technology that watches for server failure in vCHS also monitors the overall performance and health of servers. It’s free and there’s no configuration. If any particular server is overloaded, vCHS automatically live migrates VMs to a server with more capacity. There is no downtime and no “pausing” of the application – it just keeps on running.

The variability of AWS performance is legendary, leading users to devise cunning strategies to juice performance. One example: start more AWS instances than you need, conduct performance tests to see which ones perform well, and kill off the poorly performing instances. Rinse and repeat until you have enough working instances, and continue to monitor instances during their lifetime. With vCHS, this “Darwinian instance infanticide” isn’t necessary.

3. Non-disruptive maintenance

When AWS needs to do preventative maintenance on a server (e.g. a hypervisor security patch), your instance is going to die. There’s even an API where you can learn about when this will happen. vCHS uses live migration to move VMs to redundant server capacity, then performs maintenance on the affected server. The net? Your apps don’t stop because VMware needs to do server maintenance. There is no need for an “apology API.”

4. Create a VM of any size

With vCHS, you get to choose exactly the VM dimensions you want — any ratio of CPU, memory and disk up to the physical maxima. All VMs run on physical servers with 20Gbit/sec aggregate connectivity, unlike AWS servers with single 100Mbit or 1Gbit network cards. Unlike AWS, there is no need to process a complex decision tree of 29 instance choices (as of Feb 2014) to figure out which one you need (choose wisely because you can’t change it later). In vCHS, there is no need to over-buy CPU when all you want is high memory, or over-buy memory when all you want is good I/O.

On AWS, you have to buy up to the largest size that meets your memory or I/O requirement. If you get it wrong, then you have to pick a new instance and figure out if you can run what you want on it (not all AWS images run on all instance types), and how to transition your application without down-time, which leads me to…

5. Resize a VM or disk while it’s running

On vCHS you can add vCPU, memory and disk space to any running VM. Operating system support for adding CPU, memory and disk is present in Linux distros and Windows versions shipped since 2008. AWS instances cannot be expanded, and ensuring they can scale effectively requires careful planning (picking the right instance type and a fixed disk size) and writing code to do state sharing (adding parallel instances). Inadvertently making a bad sizing choice for horizontal scaling can put you in a world of operational pain – if, for example, your instances start running out of disk space, adding more of them just means more instances failing in exactly the same way because they’re all clones of each other.

VM and disk resize on vCHS can be a lifesaver for operations teams managing a critical application that is under load and needs more memory, disk or CPU right away. 

6. Get strong I/O performance as standard, with no clever tricks

Netflix only ever buys AWS instances that completely fill a physical server in order to eliminate the I/O performance variation that comes from multiple tenants sharing the same physical server. This is just one example of clever strategies AWS customers have devised to extract better performance, along with choosing “EBS optimized” instance types – i.e. instances that run on servers with a 1 Gig NIC card.

On vCHS, all servers have 20G of aggregate network bandwidth 20 times that of “EBS optimized” instances at AWS. Storage is a maximum of two network hops from server, unlike AWS, minimizing congestion. Couple that with the ability to have any size of VM, and you can get exactly the VM you want, with the I/O bandwidth you need.

7. Higher performance disk without paying for provisioned IOPs

The standard disk tier on vCHS is a blend of SSDs (flash) and enterprise high-end disk. The flash acts as a cache for most-recently-used blocks, and multi-tenancy of the disk subsystem is limited to improve good cache hit rates. Therefore, you get the acceleration of flash and high performance disk without having to buy higher-priced all-flash disk with I/O guarantees, or settle for AWS’ low-performance SATA-based EBS.

8. Bring your own VM without conversion, with full app vendor support

vCHS can run any VM you currently run on vSphere, Workstation or Fusion without any conversion into a proprietary format – and it’s supported by the software vendor for your application. You can also transfer and run practically any x86 physical machine running any operating system from DOS onwards, without having to switch to a special kernel or re-platform. There’s no waiting, or testing cycles to ensure that the converted VM actually works the same way. There is no arguing with your vendor about whether or not they support the deployment if it’s one of the 5,700 apps already certified on VMware.

With AWS, you must convert the VM, and that only works for a very small set of operating systems, and then covert it again if you want to export the VM. If the VM is at all dependent on any AWS services, you can’t run it in your own data center later because they don’t exist and they use proprietary APIs. You must also make sure that your software vendor can support your deployment on AWS.

9. Use the management tools you already have

vCHS can be managed by any of the VMware management toolset, third party tools that support the vCloud API, or offer generic REST API adapters. You can manage vCHS from the vSphere client (web or Windows), vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) and vCenter Operations (vCOps). This is huge for many customers because it means they don’t need a second operations team to manage cloud infrastructure – one that assumes the radically different AWS architecture and operational model, along with the “fix it yourself” approach to performance and availability.

10. Stretched layer 2 networks between data center and vCHS

VMware allows you to stretch an Ethernet (layer 2) network from your data center to vCHS, making it appear like a single flat LAN segment. The simplest way to do this is with Direct Connect, a dedicated link between your data center and vCHS. Traffic is simply bridged between vCHS and your data center using the virtual networking capabilities of vCHS. To applications, it looks like all VMs are “on net” in the same LAN segment, which is useful for those apps that have a rigid, pre-defined idea of how the network should work and can’t be easily reconfigured. AWS by comparison offers no layer 2 stretched networks, only IP (layer 3) network connectivity.

All of these capabilities are designed to make it easier to run today’s and tomorrow’s applications with high performance and high resiliency. There’s no reason going to the cloud should mean a wholesale re-architecture where you take on the burden of implementing and managing those.

For future updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook at @vCloud and Facebook.com/VMwarevCloud.

For more information about the VMware vCloud Hybrid Service, visit vCloud.VMware.com.

Bill Fathers’ “Fireside Chat” at GigaOM Structure

GigaOM Structure kicked off yesterday with an overarching focus on what the infrastructure powering next-generation applications will look like. VMware’s Hybrid Cloud Services Business Unit’s GM and SVP Bill Fathers joined in on the conversation during a “Fireside Chat” with GigaOM’s Barb Darrow to discuss:

  • The advantages of “hybridity” and openness;
  • what is top of mind for CIOs when considering public cloud;
  • data privacy and the Snowden impact and
  • the power of network virtualization.

Interested in hearing more?

Watch the replay here.

For more information about GigaOM Structure 2014, visit their website.

For future updates, follow us on Twitter at @vCloud and Facebook.com/VMwarevCloud.

Watch www.becometheITdepartment.com over the next month for insights and research on the move to hybrid cloud.