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Tag Archives: Software-Defined Datacenter

vCloud Director Hybrid Cloud Design Case Study

By: Chris Colotti

This is a repost from Chris Colotti’s blog, chriscolotti.us

So all week I have been posting tidbits about the vCloud Director Hybrid cloud I have been building.  So what was my purpose for doing so?  Well I did it to make a couple of points of course the following is the final outcome formed into a bit of a case study that you can digest for a while.  The main reason I did this is that I feel we are still struggling with how to CONSUME the hybrid cloud model.   We’ve spent a lot of time architecting the vCloud Director implementations in both the public and private cloud space.  I decided I wanted to take a look at this from the consumer’s point of view.  Those people who would be wanting to come to those of you that are vCloud Director providers and help them understand HOW to use these public clouds.

Setting the Stage For vCloud Director Hybrid Clouds

So who are these consumers and users I am speaking about trying to help?  It can be any one of us but for the purpose of this case study I want to take two specific examples that fit many possible situations out there.

  • A new startup with NO Infrastructure
  • An enterprise that has reached the limit of their current Datacenter

In both cases the need is simple.  They both need to find new infrastructure without having to build it themselves.  In the case of both I am actually focussing on them not building more themselves, but rather leveraging the vCloud Providers out there.  They could consume in either a public cloud fashion, or a hosted private cloud fashion.  For purposes of this study let’s assume they have decided to go to public cloud providers.  I will play the role of the consumer as we continue forward.  I will also be taking the aspect of the second scenario above.  I have a datacenter, that’s met its limits of compute, memory, and storage.

Choosing your Providers

To be clear I am not suggesting where you go, but for my purposes here I happened to already have resources at two vCloud Public providers running vCloud Director 5.1 so I decided I was going to split my Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) between the two for some level of redundancy.  Also I personally think that makes you a smart IT person leveraging two different providers.  For my scenario as we know I have been using:

Obviously you can choose whomever you want, but in this case we are focussing on providers that are using vCloud Director 5.1 for it’s flexibility and simplicity to build your new organization   Once I have decided on the providers I am going to use the next steps are fairly simple and frankly are no different than you would do if you were building a physical datacenter, except now we are doing a Software Defined Datacenter, (SDDC).

Build your SDDC – Start with the Networking

Like any new datacenter you need to get the basic things configured.  As I have shown in previous posts, vCloud Director 5.1 provides a lot of power to the organization administrator….YOU.  The first order of business in my mind is the networking.  You want to design this separately for each site as you would for a new physical site.  Most all your traffic will leverage the Edge Gateway as well.

  • Decide on and configure your routed networks
  • Decide on and configure and isolated networks
  • Configure your SNAT rules
  • Configure basic outbound internet access firewall rules
  • Determine DHCP settings and Static IP Rules if any
  • Be sure to get from your provider various Public IP’s

Once you have gotten this figure out in your design of the two remote datacenters you can move forward.  It goes without saying you don’t want to cross networking subnets between sites or VPN will not work.  At this point you will also want to establish VPN connectivity between the sites and write the basic firewall rules for traffic to pass as you wish.  This will be important as you begin to stand up your infrastructure as a service.

Build your SDDC – Setup vCloud Connector, Import or Build New Templates

Here you can basically download and import the vCloud Connector Nodes into your two Public Clouds.  However, some providers are now building Multi-Tenant Nodes that you can simply leverage based on vCloud Connector 2.0.  If this is the case you only need to build your vCloud Connector Server hosted in one of your clouds, but maybe you want one in both.

Once you have this you can choose to move templates you already have in your current datacenter, or build fresh ones.  You can upload ISO images and just build new if you want to be sure things are setup fresh.  Either way you have the option so proceed as you wish.  So at this point, we have networking, templates, and site 2 site VPN connectivity established.  Now we just need to build out the Infrastructure we need to get started.

Build your SDDC – Active Directory

Like any new datacenter the first thing we probably need is localized Active Directory.  Assuming you have Active directory servers in your first datacenter you will want to make sure you setup new Sites and Services with the correct IP ranges.  Now I am now Active Directory expert, I am just trying to at least cover the basics.  Below you can see in my scenario I have set up the three sites, and also gone ahead and installed at least one Active Directory server in each of the new sites.  This will become the local authentication and DNS server for any new Windows infrastructure in that site.

vCloud Director

Once you have pre-configured Active Directory Sites and Services in your Physical Datacenter controllers you can install from templates and promote the ones in the other sites.  At this point you are ready to continue installing application servers, or other IaaS you want to add to your enterprise using your new vCloud Director Hybrid setup.  These can be things like Public DNS, Public SMTP servers, maybe even Desktops at some point although that’s neither tested, nor supported on vCloud Director.

Some Final Thoughts And Diagram

Although this has been a basic study of how you can leverage vCloud Director Hybrid Clouds to expand your enterprise, it should give you a foundation to start thinking about.  The diagram below is a much more expanded view of the possibilities you can reach to host many services in your new public vCloud Director Hybrid cloud.  Really the point is that this is just like building a new physical datacenter, only in most cases it’s much faster.  Of course as Network Virtualization and Storage Virtualization moves along this will only get better.  I will be presenting this on next weeks vBrown Bag as well so we can open up discussion.

vCloud Director

Chris is a Consulting Architect with the VMware vCloud Delivery Services team with over 10 years of experience working with IT hardware and software solutions. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Systems from the Daniel Webster College. Prior to VMware he served a Fortune 1000 company in southern NH as a Systems Architect/Administrator, architecting VMware solutions to support new application deployments. At VMware, in the roles of a Consultant and now Consulting Architect, Chris has guided partners as well as customers in establishing a VMware practice and consulted on multiple customer projects ranging from datacenter migrations to long-term residency architecture support. Currently, Chris is working on the newest VMware vCloud solutions and architectures for enterprise-wide private cloud deployments.

An Enterprise’s Journey to IT-as-a-Service: From Virtualization to ITaaS

As an IT Admin, you’re in charge of meeting the demands of your business. You have started the process by virtualizing your servers with VMware (According to IDC, more than 60 percent of all workloads running on global servers are virtualized, with over 80 percent of those servers virtualized by VMware. It’s incredible: More than half of all the applications running on servers throughout the world are running on top of a VMware platform), which has decreased costs, decreased maintenance and decreased time to build and provision new applications, but you are still being asking to deliver IT faster and now through a service portal.

At this point, you may be contemplating exactly how to meet these requests to take your company’s infrastructure toward a service-based model. You may be investigating cloud computing (private, public or hybrid cloud solution) to deliver  IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS). With the help of VMware’s vCloud Suite, ITaaS is made easy with a Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC) which provides an effective and proven solution.

What might surprise you is that you’ve already taken the first step towards ITaaS with a Software Defined Datacenter by virtualizing your servers with VMware.

While the leap from virtualization to the cloud may seem intimidating, the transition can be a simple process with the right executive sponsorship and a strategic plan.

Thinking Outside the Box: Virtualization is not just for Servers

The ITaaS journey to the cloud represents an evolution from rigid, inflexible architecture to a modern and agile infrastructure.

Virtualization was once only thought of as a catalyst for consolidating hardware infrastructure but now is recognized as the foundation for SDDC. Some vendors may have you think that the virtualization of servers is all you need. However, in order for your company to truly be ready for the cloud, virtualization needs to go beyond just your servers to impact your organization’s storage, networking and security resources in addition to your computing environment.

With each phase of the journey to the cloud, virtualization will penetrate every layer of your infrastructure to achieve the SDDC.

Self-service IT: From Reactivity to Proactivity

Traditionally, IT has been for the most part a reactive process: A request comes in, and IT works to solve the problem by scrambling and pulling together the resources to support the request. Depending on how virtualized the servers are, resolving an issue can take several days or even up to several weeks.

ITaaS with a SDDC is all about abstracting, pooling and automating your infrastructure.  This puts IT ahead of the game and gives them the power to deliver the appropriate service based on Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to meet the demands of the business .

With the combination of virtualization, automation and operations and a service catalog gives IT the environment to provide the right level of service at the right time. Virtualizing and automating all aspects of your infrastructure with integrated operations gives your IT department the ability to manage by application requirements and provides flexibility and cost savings for your end-users.

Making Your Way to the Cloud with VMware

Business is demanding a more proactive IT that revolves around services. The journey to ITaaS means viewing IT as an agile software based service delivery model.

If you’re ready for the cloud, we’re ready to get you there with the VMware vCloud Suite which is built on vSphere, one of the must robust platforms in the history of IT.. As we previously discussed, the vCloud Suite is an all-encompassing cloud IT infrastructure solution that includes our virtualization, cloud infrastructure and management solutions and operates each within Software-Defined Datacenter

Remember, if you’ve already VMware virtualized your servers, you’re well on your way to the cloud. If you’re not quite sure where to start, take advantage of our consulting and education services, and we’ll help you determine which VMware virtualization solutions you need to get you there.

Some of today’s leading organizations that are VMware virtualized have already successfully moved to the cloud with VMware. For more information on their virtualization to cloud journeys, check out our success stories at Another VMware vCloud and the case studies below:

For future updates, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @vCloud and @VMwareSP!

The Journey From Virtualization to Cloud – Highlights from #cloudtalk

Last Tuesday, we hosted our #cloudtalk on the journey from virtualization to cloud. Special thanks to everyone who participated in the chat for making it a lively and provocative discussion. We also wanted to thank Kurt Milne (@kurtmilne) and Bryan Bond (@VMJedi) for co-hosting the chat with us!

The discussion started off with the question, “What does the journey from virtualization to cloud mean to you?”

@millardjk was the first to chime in, stating that virtualization is a datacenter without automation, self-service or elasticity, while cloud brings all three with it. @tcrawford suggested that cloud is a maturity beyond virtualization in the progression of resource management. @jtimdodd stated that going from virtualization to cloud was going from an internal virtual infrastructure to an external environment that can scale on demand.

Several others chimed with their views, including @Dana_Gardner, who noted that going from virtualization to cloud means taking a utilization benefit to a IT transformation/strategy. @maishsk brought up a very interesting point, stating that virtualization is a consolidation/migration of workloads and cloud is more about process and culture, which @jakerobinson agreed with.  All seemed to agree after Kurt stated that “Cloud requires letting go of some traditional IT ops practices”.  @jamesurqhart built upon Kurt’s view, making the point that cloud also means adopting new IT practices and skills.

We then asked participants if there were any key decisions one should look at when considering making the move from virtualization to cloud.

Co-host @VMJedi made a great point, claiming that while automation is important, getting out of the hardware maintenance and upgrade business is a huge driver for making the decision of virtualization to cloud. @Dana_Gardner talked about how organizations must decide to support a class of requirements all at once, if they want to build a repeatable fabric and if apps have to align to it. @lmacvittie discussed how decisions must balance control and agility – how some things need control, while others do not. The decision that needs to made were to figure out what applications or processes need the control and to decide to let go of what does not.

The conversation soon shifted as soon as we asked participants if they have taken steps from virtualization to cloud and if so, what roadblocks or challenges have they encountered?

Our co-host @VMJedi shared that flexible scalability “in house” is starting to become an increasingly difficult thing to do, without the agility to maneuver changes rapidly. @tcrawford suggested that too many companies are looking at the move from virtualization to cloud as a tech swap, as doing this they miss core changes and significant opportunities. @kelvinpapp shared a similar sentiment that the biggest challenge is dismissing the perception that cloud equals a loss of control, and he suggested that organizations should instead view cloud as an opportunity. Almost all agreed about one of the main difficulties for companies is finding the opportunity and value in the process of changing from virtualization to cloud.

@davidmdavis then asked participants what exactly is stopping companies from using hybrid cloud? @joshcoen stepped in and answered, sometimes the company environment just does not allow for it. Sometimes there are disparate sites and latencies higher than one second.

Security popped up as a roadblock on the move from virtualization to cloud, as well as being a potential issue stopping companies from using hybrid cloud. This brought us to ask what the best practices in approaching cloud security are.

@jgershater noted that security is a shared responsibility – the provider secures the premises and firewall, while the customer secures the app and VM. @kurtmilne brought up how every IT shop tends to think that their security is above average and needs a reality check. He also went on to say that organizations need to recognize private and public resource pools and how IT is responsible for many activites that can impact security posture. @Dana_Gardner said that one of the best practices for cloud security was to focus on access control over perimeter control, which @lmacvittie agreed with, also adding app and data control as important focus areas. @jamesurquhart agreed with both, stating to “layer them turtles, but get those turtles talking to each other.”

We then asked participants, “When crafting cloud strategy, how do users decide what to focus their POC on?”

Co-host @VMJedi shared that in eMeter’s personal POC, he included security performance and ease of deployment. @KongYang answered that strategy should always be predicated on solving customer issues and addressing customer needs. He went on to say that the customer should always be top of the mind. @Dana_Gardner  said that the proof-of-concept should show ROI, saying that he isn’t sure it is a success without a demonstrated and repeatable economic benefit.

Later, we asked how users select cloud providers that align with their cloud vision or strategy.

@lmacvittie said that when selecting a cloud provider, they should ask several questions and talk to other organizations using providers on their list, which @KongYang agreed with. @KongYang also recommended to try before you buy, as well as verifying the SLA before committing.  @maishsk  cited portability, checking to see how easy it is to move workloads in and out of the cloud.

Co-host @kurtmilne posed one of the final questions, asking what inning we’re in, as far as IT Operations transformation for new SDDC and Cloud Operations practices.

The general populous of the chat seemed to agree that the game is nowhere finished. @maishsk said we are only in the bottom of the third inning. @shawncarey went as far to say that the game is just getting started, with players still warming up! @Dana_Gardner agreed with Shawn, saying we’re in the pre-game stage, only getting to the locker room and putting equipment on.

@GeorgeReese even got his two cents in towards the end of #cloudtalk, telling the chat that approvals processes kill when it comes to cloud and if you need a PO, it isn’t cloud.

Thank you to everybody who listened or participated in our #cloudtalk, and stay tuned details around our next #cloudtalk! In the meantime, be sure to check out our Google+ Hangout on the Software-Defined Datacenter today at 10am PT! Feel free to tweet us at @vCloud with any questions or feedback!

Demystifying the Software-Defined Datacenter – Join the Google+ Hangout!

Looking for new ways to transform and empower your organization’s IT department? The concept of the software-defined datacenter (SDDC) promises to abstract the datacenter from its underlying hardware – thereby enabling your IT department to connect and configure computing resources in new, powerful ways.

But what does this mean for you? Join VMware’s Google+ Hangout this Thursday, February 28th at 10am PT, as our panel of experts discusses the obstacles, drawbacks and opportunities companies and users may face as they make the leap above virtualization and cloud to a software-defined data center.

Other topics we’ll be covering during the chat include:

  • How to build the foundation for SDDC
  • Common obstacles to avoid
  • Strategies for realizing the full benefits of cloud
  • Predictions for how SDDC will evolve and impact IT in the future

For IT professionals preparing to redefine the way IT delivers services, this Google+ Hangout will help illustrate how the SDDC delivers greater agility, speed and innovation while positioning IT as an innovative business unit.

A Google+ account is necessary to post questions to the panel; however, you can still watch the live video stream without one. Click here to sign up for an account.

More on our panel of experts…


JJ Digeronimo is a tech executive, entrepreneur and author. She is currently a strategic initiator in Cloud Computing and Software-Defined Data Centers. She is a multifaceted talent with a passion for technology that enables her to quickly align business obstacles to solutions that encompass skilled people, quality technology and redefined processes.

The panel of experts will include:

Jeff Byrne is a Senior Analyst and Consultant, Taneja Group and recently served as VP of Marketing and Corporate Strategy at VMware. He currently provides consulting to a variety of virtualization, cloud storage and providers in areas such as strategy development, competitive assessments, and go-to-market initiatives.

Michael Leeper is the Director of Global Technology at Columbia Sportswear, one of the customers we featured last year in our “Another VMware Cloud” campaign.

Angelo Luciani is a Network Specialist at The Canadian Depository for Securities Limited and vExpert, involved in the entire IT value chain of discovery, design and delivery. He possesses a strong and successful background working with stakeholders to develop virtual architecture frameworks that aligns strategy, processes and IT assets with business goals.

Mark Sarago is a Business Solution Strategist in Accelerate Advisory Services at VMware. Mark has more than 30 years of IT experience. He provides collaborative services to global customers to help them define and communicate their IT strategy with strong alignment to business goals and measures.

We hope to see you there! Be sure to register for the Google+ Hangout, and follow @vCloud and @VMwareSP for future updates!

The Journey From Virtualization to the Cloud Within a Software Defined Datacenter – Join Us For Our Next #cloudtalk!

Analysts predict that 2013 will see continued increase in enterprise cloud adoption, but we want to know – is your organization ready to take the leap from virtualization to the cloud? Oftentimes people confuse virtualization as being synonymous with cloud computing, but virtualization is actually just a crucial first step in achieving the full range of business benefits that cloud computing offers within a Software Defined Datacenter.

For our next #cloudtalk on Tuesday, February 19th at 11am PT, we’d like to invite our service providers, partners, and the larger cloud community to share your personal experiences in moving your organization, or your customers, from virtualization to the cloud within a Software Defined Data Center. What are the main challenges organizations face when moving from virtualization to cloud? What applications are best suited for a cloud environment? We plan to discuss these questions and more during the one-hour chat.

Co-hosting the chat with us will be Kurt Milne (@kurtmilne), Director of Cloud Ops Marketing at VMware and co-author of the book, “Visible Ops Private Cloud: From Virtualization to Private Cloud in 4 Practical Steps,” as well as Bryan Bond (@VMjedi), Senior Systems Administrator at eMeter, one of our Another VMware Cloud customers. Kurt and Bryan will be on the chat to answer questions and share best practices and their personal experiences on moving from virtualization to the cloud.

Here’s how to participate in #cloudtalk:

  • Follow the #cloudtalk hashtag (via TweetChatTweetGrid, TweetDeck or another Twitter client) and watch the real-time stream.
  • On Tuesday, February 19th at 11am PT@vCloud will pose a few questions using the #cloudtalk hashtag to get the conversation rolling.
  • Tag your tweets with the #cloudtalk hashtag. @reply other participants and react to their questions, comments, thoughts via #cloudtalk. Engage!
  • #cloudtalk should last about an hour.
  • RSVP for #cloudtalk on our twtvite!

In the meantime, feel free to tweet at us (@vCloud) with any questions. Look forward to having you join us on Tuesday the 19th for #cloudtalk!

VMworld 2012 – Day 1 Recap

By: David Davis

VMworld 2012 got an early start this year by starting on Sunday evening with the opening of the Solutions Exchange and Hands-On Labs, following by the renowned (but independent) VMunderground party. With over 20,000 people attending and the largest Solutions Exchange I have ever seen, it was a great start for VMworld 2012!

VMworld 2012 Day 1 Keynote

First thing yesterday morning was the much-anticipated keynote address where Paul Maritz handed the CEO position to former EMC and Intel executive Pat Gelsinger. When Paul left the stage, he received a standing ovation from the crowd for taking VMware from a virtualization company to one of the leaders in cloud computing with a market capitalization of $40B. Since Paul took the CEO position at VMware, the enterprise data center has gone from 25% virtualized to 60%, according to Gartner.

With Pat on stage, he disclosed VMware’s plan to kill the unpopular and often confusing vRAM licensing model in favor of a simpler per-CPU/per-core model. He also said that his company will expand its support for OpenStack and a “multi-cloud world.”

From there, Steve Herrod, VMware’s CTO, moved more into the latest technology announcement from VMware – their vision of the software-defined datacenter (SDDC). To fulfill that vision, Steve announced the vCloud Suite 5.1 which includes vSphere 5.1, vCloud Director 5.1, vCloud Networking and Security (vCNS) 5.1, and SRM 5.1.

Here’s what it looks like:

Herrod talked about the VMware’s recent $1.26 billion acquisition of networking virtualization start-up Nicira as part of their vision to fulfill the SDDC.

For my full post about the VMworld 2012 product launches, see my post at: VMware Launches vCloud Suite 5.1 by David Davis. Also see the post from the vCloud Blog: VMworld 2012 Day 1 Announcements.

For a great video showing the Day 1 highlights watch:

vCloud Sessions

I ran across VCDX Chris Colotti in the solutions exchange and he said that he was speaking at roughly 12 sessions just this week. Besides being an incredible feat of endurance, this shows that there are a ton of excellent vCloud sessions here at VMworld. One great session that Chris gave on Monday was GD28 – vCloud Director Architecture and Deployment, which is repeated Wednesday, Aug 29, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM.

Today, the vCloud team will be live-tweeting the following vCloud sessions from VMworld 2012: 

10:30-11:30am: OPS-CSM3045 – How to Run Amazon Web Services Workloads on Your vCloud w/ Adrian Cole and Mathew Lodge
12-1pm: OPS-CSM1930 –  VMware Private Cloud: OneCloud: Architecture and Best Practices w/ Venu Aravamudan and Ford Donald
1:30-2:30: OPS-CSM1917 – Becoming Operationally Ready for Cloud w/ Rohan Kalra and Kevin Lees
3-4pm: OPS-CSM1379 – Extending vCloud Director w/ Christopher Knowles and Thomas Kraus
4:30-5:30pm: OPS-CSM1167 – Architecting for VMware vCloud Allocation Models w/ Chris Colotti and Rawlinson Rivera

Read more here

Solutions Exchange and “Data” From Star Trek

With the largest VMworld Solutions Exchange ever, just seeing every booth is a time-consuming task, but well worth it! I picked up a stuffed robot for my son from SHI and walked by the Whiptail booth, when I saw Brent Spiner (aka “Data” from Star Trek) taking photos with attendees. There was a long line so I just figured I would take a photo of him with someone else. When I did that, Brent Spiner said “you there with the robot, come over here”. I came up and he asked me about the robot. He offered to take a picture of me with the robot and here it is… It was a huge honor, as I watched Star Trek Next Generation for years!

You never know who you’ll run into at VMworld or what you will learn!

David Davis is a VMware Evangelist and vSphere Video Training Author for Train Signal. He has achieved CCIE, VCP,CISSP, and vExpert level status over his 15+ years in the IT industry. David has authored hundreds of articles on the Internet and nine different video training courses for TrainSignal.com including the popular vSphere 5 and vCloud Director video training courses. Learn more about David at his blog or on Twitter and check out a sample of his VMware vSphere video training course from TrainSignal.com.