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By: George Kobar

VMware recently announced the general availability of vCloud Connector 2.7 and an update to the vCloud® Air™ vSphere Client plug-in. Both tools allow current vSphere customers to easily adopt vCloud Air as an extension of their data centers by providing tools to move and manage virtual machines across the hybrid cloud.

vCloud Connector 2.7

vCloud Connector is a free VMware product that allows you to seamlessly transfer virtual machines to and from vSphere environments and vCloud Air and other vSphere-based public clouds. vCloud Connector also provides visibility, or the ‘single pane’ of glass to manage your virtual machines within these environments and the ability to synchronize catalog templates. vCloud Connector 2.7 represents an important update in delivering a true hybrid cloud with better visibility into virtual machine transfers and improved support for both the transfer of vApps and larger virtual machines.

vCloud Connector 2.7 new enhancements include:

  • Lossless copy: The ability to move a vCloud Director vApp along with its network policies such as Firewall and NAT rules to vCloud Air.
  • Large virtual machine migration: Transfers up to 1 TB in size are now supported.
  • Policy-based content synchronization: Identify the date and time you want to initiate a content sync from one vCenter Server to another or on to vCloud Air.
  • Greater transfer visibility: Visibility into virtual machine transfer status and bytes transferred every 30 seconds.
  • Upfront validation: Error checking of the virtual machine template before a migration attempt occurs.
  • Better troubleshooting and error management: Imposes a cap on the number of concurrent transfers are allowed and improved error messages to help troubleshooting migration issues.

With these enhancements, we have seen a customer move 40 production virtual machines over a weekend into vCloud Air.

Lossless Copy

One interesting new feature of vCloud Connector 2.7 is Lossless Copy. To understand this feature you will need to be familiar with vCloud Director vApps.

In vCloud Director, a vApp is a collection of interrelated virtual machines. You can also think of a vApp as a package of IT services or a container for your multi-VM application. In vCloud Director you can create vApps from scratch or download a prepackaged vApp template (OVA) from a trusted vendor. A vApp can contain network attributes such as IP and MAC addresses of the virtual machines and can also include NAT and Firewall rules for communication between virtual machines within the vApp.

vApp

Customers can leverage their on-premises vCloud Director deployment and package IT Services (virtual machines) in a vApp and move the entire vApp using vCloud Connector into vCloud Air for production.

That production vApp can be running in vCloud Air while an exact copy (or clone) can be created and given to your development team in another location that is working on the next release. Another vApp can be cloned and given to your quality assurance and testing team on-premises for full application life-cycle management.

vApp

Given the vApp container’s powerful networking capabilities, when transporting multi-tier applications across clouds, it’s important to preserve the configuration and relationships between things like IP address, MAC addresses and the NAT/Firewall rules of these virtual machines within the vApp. With vCloud Connector 2.7 Lossless Copy preserves these important network attributes, and eliminates the need to repair or reconfigure the all of these settings when deploying to the Cloud. Configure the IP, NAT, and Firewall rules once, and copy the entire vApp into vCloud Air.

Let’s take a look at a specific example. A vApp may contain a network virtual appliance that the virtual machines use within the vApp. In the example below all virtual machines use the default gateway 192.168.109.1. The internal interface of the network appliance should have the IP address and MAC address preserved to minimize impact to the virtual machines that are connected to it.

vAppWithout Lossless Copy, each of the virtual machines could be assigned a different IP address when it is copied into the Cloud:

vApp

With the wrong networking assignments, this vApp would not work properly at all. You would have to go into each of the virtual machines and manually change the network settings to fix the problem.

With Lossless Copy, all of the networking assignments and firewall rules within the vApp are maintained during migration, making it easier to move the entire application without any manual configuration changes. Keeping the MAC address can also be quite useful for moving virtual machines that use MAC addresses for licensing purposes. Most importantly, maintaining firewall and NAT rules will ensure that there are no security gaps when moving multi-VM vApps from one environment to another.

To read more about vCloud Connector please visit https://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/hybridcloud_pubs.html

To read the release notes for vCloud Connector 2.7 please visit https://www.vmware.com/support/hybridcloud/doc/hybridcloud_27_rel_notes.html

Download the latest release here: http://www.vmware.com/go/downloadvcc

vCloud Air vSphere Client Plug-in 1.5.1

VMware has also released an update to the vCloud Air vSphere Client plug-in.

This update includes:

  • New name of the service
  • Smaller footprint – reduced to approximately 10MB
  • Improved support for internationalization
    • Now accepts non-ASCII characters in text fields
    • Displays names with non-ASCII characters correctly for our fast-growing international presence
display names

To read more about the vSphere Client Plug-in, please visit: https://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/vca_plugin_pubs.html

To read the release notes for vCloud Air vSphere Client Plug-in 1.5.1, please visit: https://www.vmware.com/support/hybridcloud/doc/vcaplugin_151_rel_notes.html

The plug-in comes pre-installed with vSphere 5.5 U1 and vSphere 5.5 U2. You can also download this free plug-in from My VMware.

For more information about vCloud Air, visit vcloud.vmware.com.

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