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Introducing Next Generation Lifecycle Management Using VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle Manager 1.1

Have you been looking for automated deployment and configuration of components like VMware Cloud Director, Usage Meter, RabbitMQ, and vROPs Tenant App in your SDDC? If the answer is yes, then your search ends here.

VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle Manager 1.1 has been recently launched to address your needs for automated deployment and configuration. With its help, you can deploy the components mentioned above. Not only does it help in the deployment, but it also performs Day-2 Operations like upgrades/patches and configuration of the deployed components.

Now that we know what VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle Manager does, let’s dig deeper and understand its deployment and capabilities in detail.

VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle Manager is designed to provide a REST API for triggering the required tasks. It needs access to the repository (mounted NFS or locally) to hold OVA files, upgrade packages, etc.

High-Level Architecture

What does VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle Manager do, and how is it beneficial to providers?

VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle Manager enables providers to build a robust Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC) with the help of the components mentioned and promotes VMware Validated Design (VVD).

Time is money, especially when automation can save you deployment time. Providers can easily deploy and manage those components with the help of VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle Manager. Since it can be deployed on any vCenter or even VMware Cloud Foundation, the integration of products and use cases like VMware Cloud Director (VCD) on VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) becomes more simplified and beneficial.

VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle Manager comes with a single API to deploy and manage different products. With VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle Manager, you can deploy, upgrade and perform some of the Day-2 Operations.

Let’s talk about them and the deployment of VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle Manager in detail.

Deployment of VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle Manager

Currently, VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle Manager is available as a docker image for consumption. Below is the high-level deployment procedure:

  1. Deploy a VM (Photon OS 3) in vCenter.
  2. Perform the below pre-requisites:
    • Networking setup
    • Configuring required IP tables
    • Log and repository directory needs to be created.
      • You can either create a new repository directory or mount an existing directory
      • OVA files for all the products will reside in the directory
      • The directory structure needs to be specific for this tool to work. For detailed information, please refer the deployment guide.
  3. Start the Docker service and import the Docker container, which will come bundled with product download.
  4. Start the Docker container (run it in the background).

Download the POSTMAN collection and import it.

Please refer the link for more details about API and download the POSTMAN collection.

Below is a sample collection:

VCP LCM 1.1 POSTMAN

As you can see above, the tasks will be visible upon importing the POSTMAN collection.

Upon obtaining the JESSIONID, you can run each of the tasks mentioned.

How to deploy products using VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle Manager

VMware Cloud Director

VMware Cloud Director can be deployed with a single or multiple cells. However, we have to ensure that the pre-requisites are met, and essential components like NFS Server storage, DNS records, NSX-T deployment, and Load Balancer are preconfigured.

We need to enter those details in the API call and based on which VCD will be deployed.

Usage Meter

Using VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle Manager, you can deploy Usage Meter. However, DNS entries of the Usage Meter node and the network details need to be provided along with the other parameters like product integration details and vCenter details in the API Call. It should be registered in VCP after deployment and then re-run deployment to configure the collectors.

RabbitMQ

Multi-node RabbitMQ deployment is supported using VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle Manager. API call structure for this product is pretty much the same like other products mentioned above where you need to provide node, load balancer details, product integration details, and the vCenter details where the RabbitMQ nodes will reside.

Currently, this version of VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle Manager does not support an upgrade of RabbitMQ.

vROPs TA

vRealize Operations Manager Tenant App can be deployed as well. You need to make sure that host DNS registration and network details are configured and are provided in the API calls.

Upon executing the respective POST request, the task ID will be visible, and the same can be used to retrieve the status of the running task using a GET request.

Products that can be upgraded using VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle Manager

The following list includes the VMware products that can be upgraded by using VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle Manager:

  • VMware Cloud Director
  • Usage Meter
  • vROPS TA

Day-2 activities

The Day-2 activities include:

  • Certificate management (update product certificate and get certificate information)
  • Node Management (redeploy, add and delete of nodes)

Now isn’t that great? I am sure that with the launch of this tool, many providers will consider VCD on VCF deployment as it makes deployment and management a lot easier.

Remember, we have just launched the first version, and it will be including more features in the upcoming versions.

Want to know more about this tool, please refer to the deployment guide and release notes.

Comments

3 comments have been added so far

  1. Hello
    This is pretty good idea and the step in right direction.
    I’d like to ask about including in further releases other vCloud extensions like CSE or vCAv.
    It seems that getting the right Rabbit MQ version that will be compatible with all components, it’s a major challenge these days.

    I have one complain though – Vmware have too many lifecycle managers:
    vRealize Lifecycle Manager
    VSphere Lifecycle Manager
    SDDC one from VCF
    Would there be any chance to merge your work with vRealize Lifecycle Manager ?
    It should be used by Cloud Providers anyway to deploy vROps or Log Insight.
    Besides that vRLCM seems to be really open about including further products.

    1. Hello Zibi, my name is Luis and I am the Product Manager for VCPLCM.

      To your comment on the number of LCM’s, that is technically by design. When you look at VCF integration with vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager, the reason for the separation is so that vRSLCM can provide brownfield support on existing environments, where VCF may not be running. vSphere LCM is for companies that do not run VCF either. he point of separate LCMs from SDDC Manager allows SDDC Manager and vRSLCM to form a partnership to handle their respective areas, but allow for cross communication to make sure that everything upgrades together appropriately. If we built all of these into one, it would significantly slow down the release cycle.

      As for VCPLCM, we may be a docker instance today, but we are looking to work towards VCF integration in the long term so that the SDDC Manager would lead the upgrade automation, and tell both vRSLCM and VCPLCM to upgrade with the underlying infrastructure. Similar to how SDDC Manager and vRSLCM work now. It would sort of be like a flying V formation, with SDDC Manager at the front. We will have to see how that plays out in the long run (it might be a bit).

      I hope that helps. If you have any further questions, join us on the cloud provider slack channel at vmwarecloudprovider.slack.com!

    2. VCDA (Formally vCAV) is planned for the next release. Also Rabbit MQ will go away over time as we see the transition to the embedded MQ Service in the VCD Appliance.

      As for the “Too many lifecycle managers” this is by design to allow these tools to be used for deploying products on existing environments, otherwise all customers and partners would really only have the option to redeploy completely. In this case, the only time to redeploy is if you are handling the underlying vSphere. NSX and vSAN. But for management components and cloud provider stack, are able to be deployed either greenfield or brownfield. This also helps lean in on SDDC Manager and other LCM communication where SDDC Manager can be the scheduler and upgrade checker for everything, making it more like a V fomation. Where SDDC manager is the leader, and it works with the others to make sure it all stays up to date.

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