The market is ripe for our VMware Cloud Provider partners, with data center spending growing at 7.4% worldwide in 2021(1) despite restricted cash flow through the pandemic, still growing across our 400,000+ customers, due to specific needs – whether performance, regulatory based or locality and latency reliant, the need for on-premises cloud and alternatives to hyperscale clouds is growing. With ongoing high growth in hyperconverged solutions(2) and continuing modernization, customers are adopting and expecting a cloud experience as standard, supplied simply by VMware and VMware Cloud Provider partners.
Supporting this position, this year at VMworld are announcing several new multi-cloud solutions for our Cloud Providers, covered in more detail in this blog.
Core Multi-tenant Provider Cloud Platform; VMware Cloud Director 10.3 release
In general, VMware Cloud Director 10.3 covers three main themes: networking, security, and modern apps. The networking and security update brings the long awaited vApp Edge services, completing the parity with VMware NSX® Data Center vApp capabilities, making migration to VMware NSX-T™ Data Center simpler, so providers can update to the latest Cloud Director and VMware NSX-T services. Also distributed dynamic firewall membership adds complete automation for providers to offer policy driven security to customers significantly improving customer security posture and zero trust solutions.
Data center group networking makes communication between K8s clusters and VMs within the same org possible, this allows for many app modernization projects breathing gaps, where apps need to run in a hybrid mode during transformation. With Kubernetes this release brings complete VMware Tanzu support for VMware Tanzu™ Kubernetes Grid™ for vSphere and multi-cloud. Particularly supporting multi-tenancy automation making tenant isolation possible for Tanzu Kubernetes Grid for vSphere. Also, VMware Cloud Director Tanzu clusters can now also be supported by VMware Tanzu™ Mission Control™, making Cloud Director a Kubernetes endpoint for hybrid environments.
This is a key differentiator for Cloud Providers supporting customers’ needs to utilize any multi-cloud, whilst maintaining a single operational control platform.
Lastly VMware Cloud Director has made some usability improvements making searching and shortcuts easier to use and custom. Find out more about the Cloud Director updates in this VMworld session recording:
What’s New in VMware Cloud Director [MCL2167] https://bit.ly/3mY536b
VMware Cloud™ on Dell EMC
We have already mentioned the opportunity for customers and the growth this area of cloud is expected to see ongoing; Dell Technologies is a clear market leader in this area with 29% of the market share in Q2 2021(2), and the enhanced VMware Cloud™ solution with Dell Technologies will deliver more cloud value to customers and partners.
Providers need to support their customers need and their need for highly repeatable and sustainable clouds to lower cost of day 0, 1 and 3 operations. VMware’s ongoing relationship with Dell continues to provide the best of cloud and on-premises with VMware Cloud™ on Dell EMC. Think of the solution as the marriage of Dell hardware with a VMware software defined data center operating model, both fully managed and ‘as a service’. Partners get a fully managed hybrid cloud powered by VMware Cloud Foundation™ to run in their data center or to the edge customer data centers, with VMware’s SRE team monitoring the environment 24/7, just like we do with VMware Cloud™ on AWS.
This solves some critical edge problems for enterprise customers such as managing legacy on premises due to latency and performance requirements. Security and regulatory requirements that mean the workloads must remain on premises.
– Bring the cloud to the app!
VMware Cloud on Dell EMC is accessed through VMware Cloud Partner Navigator. Partners who resell the service (available in the United States, France, Germany and the United Kingdom) can order environments through this portal and delegate access to end users if desired. Find out more about VMware Cloud on Dell EMC in this VMworld session: MCL2768S: Get a Public Cloud Experience On-Premises with VMware Cloud on Dell EMC
Wait, it doesn’t stop there…..
VMware Cloud Director™ with VMware Cloud Foundation™ on Dell EMC VxRail
With Dell EMC VxRail™ you get your integrated hardware stack and VMware Cloud Foundation footprint which is fantastic to drive a consistent integrated stack with lifecycle management included. What about multi-tenancy? We have that covered too; VMware Cloud Director is now supported to be deployed on a Dell EMC VxRail™ VMware Cloud Foundation instance. With the co-supported validated design, cloud providers can now increase their speed to delivering a public cloud solution on Dell EMC VxRail™ and of course benefit from all the portfolio that VMware Cloud Director brings, all (including VMware Cloud Foundation components) wrapped up in the Cloud Provider ‘Flex’ consumption model.
VMware Cloud Director on Dell EMC VxRail™ is a pre-engineered, integration tested solution stack for Cloud Providers, providing secure multi-tenant private and hybrid cloud services for your SMB and enterprise customers.
Why VMware Cloud Foundation™ on Dell Technologies?
VMware Cloud Foundation™ offers a wide ecosystem for customers looking for consistent, secure infrastructure and options across private and public cloud. For IT organizations who want the fastest way to adopt and maintain hyperconverged infrastructure, VMware partners uniquely with Dell EMC VxRail. VMware Cloud Foundation™ on Dell EMC VxRail™ delivers a unique hybrid cloud capability you won’t find on any other infrastructure running VMware Cloud Foundation. In fact, Dell EMC VxRail is the only jointly engineered system with deep VMware Cloud Foundation integration.
VMware Cloud Foundation with VxRail integration contains features that simplify, streamline, and automate the operations of your entire Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) from Day 0 through Day 2.
Dell EMC VxRail on premise delivers a turnkey experience that enables customers to continuously innovate. It offers an exclusive Dell EMC VxRail Hyper Converged Infrastructure System Software innovation and investments in extensive Dell EMC VxRail test labs deliver a curated, turnkey system for a seamless, automated, operational experience at reduced risk for customers.
Full stack intelligent lifecycle management (LCM) functionality automatically updates clusters with pre-validated, pre-tested SW and firmware components, to ensure clusters are in continuously validated states. This allows cloud providers to reduce their cost of ownership and increase service quality for the customer.
Dell EMC VxRail also includes SaaS active management to automate operations for multi-cluster environments, secure remote support call-home capabilities, and full integration with VMware Cloud Foundation™ SDDC Manager™. This is a unique experience you won’t find on any other infrastructure running VMware Cloud Foundation.
Increased choice in cloud endpoints for Cloud Provider customers
There are many announcements in the multi-cloud space for our cloud partners. Most of these point to the additional choices for cloud endpoints and more workload mobility than ever before with the core cloud provider platforms; VMware Cloud Director and VMware Cloud Director Availability™.
As the diagram shows and as already covered, Cloud Director now supports Dell EMC vxRail with VMware Cloud Foundation whether as a VMware public cloud endpoint or a private cloud. Also, another cloud endpoint is VMware Cloud on Dell EMC, a fully managed hybrid cloud service from VMware that a cloud provider can offer and provide access to via VMware Cloud Director service should centralized access to all customer clouds be a requirement.
Moving workloads between clouds has also got easier with Cloud Director Availability supporting Layer 2 configuration on-premises vCenter to Cloud and Cloud to Cloud Migration and Disaster Recovery. Moving workloads from your Cloud Director data centers into VMware Cloud™ on AWS is also easier with a new self-service warm migration capability from Cloud Director Availability. Lastly, Time to Market, service delivery and sustainability, with repeatable Cloud Stack deployments and upgrades is considerably reduced with the Cloud Provider Lifecycle Manager 1.2, designed to manage your VMware systems, day 0, day 1 and day 2.
New to the program is support for Cloud Director service managing Google Cloud VMware® Engine as an alternative endpoint in hyperscale for running public cloud VMware workloads.
Google Cloud VMware Engine
The Google Cloud VMware Engine delivers a VMware software defined datacenter (SDDC) running on Google Cloud Platform bare metal, based on Cloud Foundation. This is a VMware validated service and is available now to our Cloud Provider partners. The solution is sold, operated & supported by Google and its partners, and also delivers direct access to Google Cloud Platform services. It is available as on-demand, as well as 1-year and 3-year Reserved Instance flexible consumption pricing.
Cloud Director service can connect to this instance in the same way as any another endpoint, just like VMware Cloud on AWS. This ability delivers a consistent cloud experience across another hyperscale provider and allows customers to use their cloud of choice.
For cloud providers, this means you can extend Google Cloud VMware Engine to your Small and Midsize Enterprises with efficient, public cloud scale economics. Cloud Director service is managed by VMware, delivered as a service. Not only does this address increased business agility, but also expansion of a cloud footprint to new geographies with an asset-light, pay-as-you-grow model built on familiar tools and experiences, without increasing your operational burden.
Cloud Director service support for Google Cloud VMware Engine is currently available as a technology preview. To get access, e-mail email@example.com.
VMware vRealize® Automation™ VMware Cloud Director adaptor
Completing the hybrid cloud capability update for Cloud Providers, now customers who use VMware vRealize® Automation™ can also benefit from a partner’s VMware Cloud Director public cloud services and applications. Using a new connector between vRealize Automation on-premise or on provider site and Cloud Director, customers can now drive Cloud Director services directly from their vRealize blueprints. This makes a perfect public cloud service for customers who maybe are not in a region where there is hyperscale commercial cloud coverage, or customers who wish to use partner cloud services, but are hesitant to adopt VMware Cloud Director.
VMware Cloud Provider lifecycle Manager™
We have covered the solutions that are build and delivered as a service for you to be able to monetize with your customers. What if you want to build your own? This used to be possible with Cloud Provider Pod, and now has been superseded with VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle manager. This allows you to build a robust SDDC by automating the deployment & configuration of products.
Growing customer needs and rapidly evolving dynamics in the technology world demands cloud providers to offer fast, simple and modern platform/solutions. The VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle manager enables the providers to do just that. VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle manager is a tool aimed to automate and therefore simplify operations right from deployment to patching all these with pre-tested and pre-validated framework. Cloud providers can therefore focus more on growing business and innovation and less on operations.
VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle manager version 1.2 allows you to accelerate your deployment through an App-based deployment for simpler and faster operations, automating your Day 1 and Day 2 operations therefore, accelerating your time to market/offering. Cloud providers can simplify Day-2 Operations by automating the management and upgrades of products thru CLI in addition to REST API. The REST API triggers all the action in the background to manage your VMware Cloud Provider products. With CLI also included, the solution offers greater flexibility – and ease – to manage your eco-system. VMware Cloud Provider Lifecycle manager offers great supportability – with the latest versions of all the VMware product supported keeping the offering future ready.
VMware Cloud Provider Navigator
As you can see, the number of cloud services continues to grow and hence the diversity of solutions you can offer your customers grows, enabling cloud providers to remain relevant and sticky.
Find out more about Cloud Partner Navigator in the VMworld session MCL1421 – Cloud Partner Navigator Technical Deep Dive.
VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery™: On-Demand DRaaS
New to VMware Cloud Providers, via the MSP route to market, is VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery. It offers on-demand Disaster Recovery to VMware Cloud on AWS and is delivered as an easy-to-use SaaS solution with cloud economics.
VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery provides disaster recovery orchestration, replication of point in time snapshots to S3 Cloud storage, instant power-on with live mount to VMware Cloud™ on AWS and an RPO of 30 minutes. Cloud economics is provided with efficient immutable, encrypted, forever incremental recovery points efficiently stored on AWS S3 cloud object storage that you only pay when capacity is needed.
To use VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery, cloud providers will require an MSP contract for the service and an MSP contract for VMware Cloud on AWS. Nodes will be required for testing and DR events, customers can choose to make these ‘on-demand’ and negate any host costs until testing or DR event or pay for a pilot light minimum 2 node configuration to provide faster recovery without host provisioning.
VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery is now supported in 18 regions VMware Cloud on AWS globally; US West; Oregon & N. California, US East; N. Virginia & Ohio, Canada, LATAM Sao Paulo, Europe; London, Frankfurt, Paris, Dublin, Stockholm, Milan, Asia Pacific; Sydney, Singapore, Mumbai, Tokyo and Seoul.
For providers who use VMware Cloud Director today, using VMware Cloud Director Availability already provides DRaaS to their on-premises VMware Cloud Director instances.
VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery is not compatible with VMware Cloud Director, however if a customer wishes to have disaster recovery from their vCenter to VMware Cloud on AWS instead, this now presents a good alternative.
The following scenarios show how cloud providers can provide for Disaster Recovery scenarios for customers, covering a range of requirements from replacing an existing DRaaS solution to co-existing with multiple endpoint configurations:
(VMC on AWS – VMware Cloud on AWS, VCD – VMware Cloud Director, VCDA – VMware Cloud Director Availability, VCDR – VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery)
And if you think DR is just one use case, think again. DR is four different use cases as shown here, that allow us to position VMware Cloud on AWS or VMware Cloud Director for different segments in a way that would be the most beneficial to them:
- You have your customers getting rid of just their disaster recovery data centers and moving their target disaster recovery sites to VMware Cloud on AWS while keeping their primary sites on-prem. These are your “DR DC Evac” opportunities.
- Then, there are the customers who already have a good disaster recovery solution on-prem – but don’t want to expand their existing disaster recovery site capacity and/or want to explore the provider cloud VMware Cloud Director or VMware Cloud on AWS starting with a lower-risk use case. These customers want to keep protecting some apps to their on-prem disaster recovery site and want to complement that with disaster recovery to provider cloud VMware Cloud Director or VMware Cloud on AWS. This use case can also be a steppingstone to use case 1 where the customer gradually phases out the on-premises disaster recovery center rather than getting rid of it in one shot. The segment that has this use case is a very attractive one because these customers are typically already sold on the disaster recovery value prop and have a solid understanding of their disaster recovery needs in terms of app dependencies, RPOs, RTOs, etc.
- There are also customers who don’t have a proper disaster recovery solution at all right now and have run into logistical issues while trying to set up a secondary disaster recovery site. These customers love the simplicity of being able to spin up a new disaster recovery site in the cloud -whether within the provider VMware Cloud Director cloud (using VMware Cloud Director Availability) or VMware Cloud on AWS (using VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery) within a few hours and starting to replicate their workloads to it giving them proper disaster recovery for the first time.
- And the fourth use case and segment here is small right now but particularly attractive from a VMware Cloud on AWS perspective. As you can now move large DC Evac customers wholly to the cloud using VMware HCX® (included in VMware Cloud on AWS), they will need cross-region or back-to-on-prem DR for their critical workloads if they are serious about protecting their business.
Migration from VMware NSX® Data Center for vSphere® to VMware NSX-T™ Data Center
As VMware NSX Data Center for vSphere general support ends on January 16, 2022, partners using VMware NSX Data Center must migrate their workloads to VMware NSX-T. Both VMware Cloud Director and non- VMware Cloud Director environments can migrate – Tools, Processes and Resources are available. VMware NSX Data Center Extended Support for Partners is available for all partners (VMware Cloud Director or non- VMware Cloud Director) as a support SKU from September 2021 and partners should consider purchasing extended support if migration is going to prolong beyond this date. Extended Support packs can be purchased any time before January 2023, but all packs expire on January 16, 2023. After this date, no new support requests can be opened. It’s important to plan for the migration and get started right away.
Migrating VMware Cloud Director tenants with non-blocking features sooner is better, so VMware NSX Data Center for vSphere support footprint becomes smaller. In terms of Tools, Processes and Resources available to you, the main tool is the VMware NSX Data Center for vSphere to VMware NSX-T Data Center migration tool which is now version 1.3. This tool follows a different release cycle than VMware Cloud Director and makes the migration process more robust with automated rollback. There are multiple options available: pre-check mode, password encryption, automated rollback to assist you automate as much as possible. We would recommend you download the latest version of the tool and start with an assessment to understand what portions of the estate can move now without impact.
Learn about the Migration tool on the VMware NSX-T Data Center Migration website and read this comprehensive Blog on v2T. Download latest VMware Cloud Director (10.3 as of Aug 2021), and the latest VMware NSX Data Center for vSphere Migration Tool 1.3, then run the assessment mode and start migrating supported features. To help VMware understand what feature we need to prioritize, please send your summary reports to firstname.lastname@example.org (by Dec 1, 2021)
GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.
- Gartner, Gartner Market Databook, 2Q21 Update, 25 June 2021
- CAGR 13% 2021 – 2026, Mordor Intelligence https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/hyper-converged-infrastructure-market
- IDC, Worldwide Quarterly Converged Systems Tracker, 2021 Q2