VMware is pleased to announce support for VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer Enterprise Edition (formerly by Avi Networks) with Google Cloud VMware® Engine.
NSX Advanced Load Balancer (NSX ALB/Avi) allows customers to deploy enterprise grade application delivery services with local load balancing, global server load balancing (GSLB) and Web Application Firewall (WAF) for workloads running in Google Cloud VMware Engine. As customers extend or migrate their data centers from on-premises to Google Cloud VMware Engine, Avi provides a full featured load balancer which gives elastic scalability, cloud native automation as well as in-built observability.
Once NSX ALB/Avi has been deployed and configured within Google Cloud VMware Engine, it can be used for all your application delivery requirements within the environment. With this announcement, customers using the NSX ALB/Avi Enterprise Edition will have support from VMware for Google Cloud VMware Engine. This allows them to benefit from:
- A software-only, distributed application delivery solution with load balancing, GSLB and WAF features
- Cloud-native deployment and operations with elastic scaling of load balancer capacity
- API-first design to enable your dev and DevOps teams to drive the operations via your automation tool of choice – be it SDKs (Python / Go / Java), Configuration Management / Infrastructure-as-a-Code (Ansible, Terraform), or build your own.
- Seamless and consistent application delivery in both Google Cloud VMware Engine and connected on-premises data center environments
- Best-in-class monitoring and observability that enables fast troubleshooting. Analytics are built with REST APIs for integration with 3rd party observability products.
NSX ALB/Avi facilitates application delivery for a variety of use cases, including:
- Lift-and-Shift: When moving to Google Cloud VMware Engine from private data centers, NSX ALB/Avi provides the rich feature set you expect from an enterprise-grade load balancer in the public cloud environment.
- Data-center Extension: NSX ALB/Avi can provide load balancing, GSLB and WAF for your applications hosted across on-premises and Google Cloud VMware Engine environments. Features such as GSLB provide the ability to deploy multi-site, multi-cloud applications with control over application availability patterns. The platform provides high availability in Active-Active (with a variety of options) as well as Active-Standby topologies.
- Disaster Recovery: NSX ALB/Avi supports BC/DR scenarios for application availability with local load balancing and GSLB features.
NSX/ALB Avi on Google Cloud VMware Engine is sold and fully supported by VMware. The NSX ALB/Avi Enterprise Edition is licensed based on the data-plane capacity, meaning the number of vCPUs utilized by the Service Engines. This is termed as a “Service Core”. For example, a Service Engine sized for 2 vCPUs will consume 2 Service Core licenses. Licenses are generally for a term of 1 or 3 years and procured upfront. NSX/ALB Avi also ships with a 30-day, full-featured trial license for you to test out the capabilities and features.
NSX/ALB Avi provides load balancing for applications running in a Google Cloud VMware Engine SDDC. NSX ALB/Avi integrates as an attached load balancing solution, with communication between the NSX ALB/Avi Controller, NSX Manager and VMware vCenter within Google Cloud VMware Engine. This integration enables NSX ALB/Avi to deploy and manage Service Engines automatically based on demand, providing for an elastic, automated approach to load balancing.
NSX ALB/Avi leverages the NSX-T Cloud Connector mode of operation in Google Cloud VMware Engine as well. This is facilitated by the similarity in the VMware infrastructure between an on-premises NSX-T deployment and a Google Cloud VMware Engine deployment, as far as objects of interest for NSX/ALB Avi are concerned. This concept is illustrated in the diagram below.
NSX ALB/ Avi can be deployed via the following steps:
- Deploy the Controller
The NSX ALB/Avi Controller resides in the customer environment, either within the Google Cloud VMware Engine SDDC or on-premises. The key requirement is for the Controller to be able to communicate with the Google Cloud VMware Engine SDDC via a private IP for:
Communicating with the NSX Manager and vCenter
Deploying Service Engines within the Google Cloud VMware Engine SDDC
2. Connecting the Controller to the Google Cloud VMware Engine SDDC
To configure NSX ALB/Avi with the Google Cloud VMware Engine SDDC, create a Cloud Connector within the NSX/ALB Avi Controller. The Cloud Connector interacts with the respective components to discover compute and networking resources and automate provisioning of the Avi Service Engines (which are the data-path entities providing LB services).
As Google Cloud VMware Engine is built upon a VMware Cloud Foundation stack including NSX and vCenter, NSX ALB/Avi can leverage the NSX-T Cloud Connector.
Once you have worked through this one-time configuration, Avi will be ready to provide LB capabilities in Google Cloud VMware Engine.
3. Create a Virtual Service
NSX ALB/Avi provides an intuitive UI to configure a Virtual Service. The Virtual Service requires a front-end IP address for the application, as well as a set of pool members or application servers. NSX ALB/Avi also supports advanced features such as Layer 7 request and response policies, various load balancing algorithms, health monitoring, etc.
Once the Virtual Service has been created, the NSX ALB/Avi Controller deploys the Service Engines within the SDDC, and once up, ensures that the VS is ready for serving traffic via these Service Engines. The entire Service Engine provisioning lifecycle is automated, to provide an application-first experience to managing and provisioning load balancing services.
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