VMware is excited to announce vCloud Availability Cloud-to-Cloud Disaster Recovery (DR) 1.5 to further expand the core capabilities of the VMware Cloud Provider Platform with application continuity between vCloud Director Virtual Data Centres. vCloud Availability Cloud-to-Cloud fills a much-needed gap in providing native Disaster Recovery between vCloud Director instances.
The solution can help VMware Cloud Providers enable further monetization of existing VMware vCloud Director multi-tenant cloud environments with DR services, including replication and failover capabilities for workloads at both VM and vApp level.
The versions 1.5 being announced today builds on the great success of the vCloud Availability Cloud-to-Cloud DR 1.0 offering, which has been in production for about half a year. Large, industry-leading cloud providers, like Telefonica Chile, have demonstrated great success as outlined in this case study.
The new release introduces key innovations across 5 different areas:
Say hello to an integrated UI with vCloud Director!
VMware Cloud Provider Partners can now offer Disaster Recovery services within their vCloud Director 9.1 UI for Tenant and Provider workflows. For providers on earlier versions, there is a different UI that is accessible everywhere, and like the vCloud Director UI, it maintains symmetry for source or destination execution of Disaster Recovery workflows and inventory access.
For tenants there is no more screen hopping; they will all see ‘Disaster Recovery’ in the toolbar in their vCloud Director client. However, in order to take advantage of the DR feature, their organization needs to be enabled for it, providing Cloud Providers a nice upsell opportunity to their customers.
Both user interfaces utilise the public API, which has also been enhanced in version 1.5 to align to Swagger specification and format to help automate API related processes. The API provides the ability to authenticate and manage sessions to the Replication manager, where you can then manage vApp replications (start, stop, query, failover, test, pause, resume sync etc) and monitoring, system monitoring of tasks, initial configuration (register tunnel service, configure, DNS, endpoint config, query etc) and sites management – add, delete, update and more. This is not an exhaustive list and will enable providers to embed vCloud Availability Cloud-to-Cloud DR functionality in existing portals if necessary or utilise the API functions to optimize operational functions.
Usability improvements & Policy controls ensure stability and enable tiered services
The next key feature of the latest release enhances the enforcement of controls and usability improvements for large environments. Versions 1.5 offers policy controls for Cloud Providers to specify a min RPO at a tenant Org level, allowing them to tier their offerings to their tenant Orgs. We also support the maximum 5min RPO with vSphere 6.5! Cloud Providers can also limit impacts on storage over-utilization with the ability to set the maximum snapshots per org and maximum replications per tenant.
Having a single native solution brings many benefits, one such is the solution uses the same authentication within vCloud Director. Users are integrated for sign-on for tenant admins or org users and differing users can have differing permissions to RBAC.
Within large environments, where there are many VMs and vApps within vCloud Director, users can now filter selections for replication actions or multiple, single and groups (vApps), speeding up execution of workflows. Properties for assets can be edited single or multiple for vApp, VM, create snapshots, select recovery actions, assisting in speed of configuration for the service.
Scale improvements to meet higher volume demand
Cloud Providers need scale, particularly in multi-tenant cloud environments that vCloud Director supports. To address this need, we have performed larger-scale tests and validated 300 active protections using a single large vCloud Availability Replicator, 100 (up from 30 in 1.0) tenants with active replications, 7 active vCloud Availability Replicator instances per vCloud Availability Cloud-to-Cloud instance and up to 5 TB size of protected workloads VMDK. These are not product limits, but simply the tested scale.
In terms of concurrency, we have tested up to 60 concurrent Protect, Test Failover, Reverse Protect, Test Failback, and Failback operations and 110 concurrent Failover operations. In total we successfully tested 3000 active protections across 100 tenants!
Orchestration plugin to create your own workflows and runbooks
Orchestration is a critical component of any DR solution. The ability to order power-up of workloads and applications can make a critical impact on recovery time. vCloud Availability Cloud-to-Cloud 1.5 will be able to execute a separate plugin (available post GA) to provide exposed orchestration:
- Assist with inventory tasks and collect data from vCloud Availability vApp Replication Service/Manager instances.
- Assist with automating onboarding and configuration tasks and create object inventory structures containing; vDC, vDC network, Storage profile, vApps, Protected vApps, Peer Cloud Sites.
- Automate complex DR scenarios, such as Replication-Failover-Migration or execute built-in vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR workflows
Given the newly exposed UI extensibility capabilities in vCloud Director, these workflows could be either run from vRealize Orchestrator Client or import into vCD as tiles for operations teams or tenants to be able to execute – a great managed service opportunity.
Helping Cloud Providers with ‘day 2’ operations
Naturally Cloud Providers need to ensure quality is maintained in the service and that service levels are not broken. They need to monitor all services and alarm on various problems as they occur. vCloud Availability Cloud-to-Cloud 1.5 supports a new, planned plugin for vRealize Operations (available post GA) that will provide monitoring of all components and activities, inventory, health status, threshold alarms and detailed capacity, replication status and violation reports. These can be used by Cloud Providers to deliver additional managed service reporting or to ensure they are maintaining SLA and quality KPI for the service itself.
Learn How to Expand Your Business with Cloud-to-Cloud DR
In summary, a lot is going into vCloud Availability Cloud-to-Cloud DR 1.5 and we expect this to be a highly adopted solution for our VMware Cloud Provider partners. There will be more detail and capabilities as we get closer to GA as this is only a taster of the functionality coming.
There will be many assets and enablement sessions in the coming months. Please see https://www.vmware.com/products/vcloud-availability.html
Author – Guy Bartram