With its latest release, VMware Cloud Director Availability grew its list of possible destinations – dedicated VMware vSphere-based clouds are now enabled for DR and migrations.
What does it mean for the Cloud Providers part of the VMware Cloud Provider Program? It means that VMware Cloud Director is no longer a mandatory condition for using VMware Cloud Director Availability and its excellent functionalities.
Offering cost-effective DR and migration services for hosted vSphere private clouds that are also simple and reliable might be difficult for Cloud Providers due to numerous factors such as complexity of implementation, heavy network requirements, or the inability to shift the responsibility for the services to their tenants.
This is also a valid question for the Cloud Providers themselves – how can they efficiently protect their critical management infrastructure without an extreme burden on the budget?
Another big challenge is giving tenants a straightforward and effortless migration route in cases when they are running an End of Life (EOL) vSphere version in their data center.
How can VMware Cloud Director Availability help?
Being ultimately concentrated on VCPP helps VMware Cloud Director Availability precisely focus on Cloud Providers’ pain points and deliver them an adequate and cost-effective solution.
Going through the deployment and configuration is a matter of a few minutes and clicks, and requires no special knowledge. It starts with deploying the VMware Cloud Director Availability appliance from an OVF template where all the necessary settings for it to operate, such as network details and root password, are set. Completing the initial setup wizard where the Lookup service details are provided leads to the automated installation of the VMware Cloud Director Availability vSphere Client Plug-in. For additional convenience, the deployment process can be performed via Terraform, for example, which makes VMware Cloud Director Availability remarkably automation-friendly and easy to be included in the current infrastructure as code bits.
This vSphere native plug-in ensures the deep integration between vSphere and VMware Cloud Director Availability. It enables users to setup and manage replications with a few clicks directly or to load the VMware Cloud Director Availability Portal directly from the vSphere User Interface.
The flexibility of controlling things like the RPO (from 1 minute to 24 hours) and instances retention policy allows protection of all types of workloads – from mission-critical through business-critical to non-critical ones.
The simplicity of how the tool is deployed and managed makes self-service feasible and also the favored choice for tenants.
All this is complemented by an attractive pricing model that lets Cloud Providers build a cost-effective offering to their tenants. The migrations are free of charge (0 points per migrated VM), while the protections are charged 10 points per protected VM.
Of course, the most obvious use case is where Cloud Providers offer DR and migration services to a dedicated vSphere cloud. Migrations are even possible from End-of-Life vSphere versions such as 5.5U3 and 6.0U2-3 (more details). This way, tenants can replicate workloads from their on-premises data center to the cloud with minimal effort making most of the integrated experience within the vSphere UI.
However, Cloud Providers can also directly benefit from this new VMware Cloud Director Availability feature to improve reliability and optimize the expenses of operating their clouds. They can use it for protecting their applications and part of their management stack.
This can be a huge advantage for Cloud Providers who already use the product to offer services as they are already familiar with VMware Cloud Director Availability and will not need to spend time gaining additional expertise.
Considering the fact that migrations are charged 0 points, another possible scenario is to migrate workloads between data centers for cases where vMotion cannot be used for some reason – due to cost, licensing restrictions, or if any of its requirements are not being met.
Some of the main areas that we are looking to enhance VMware Cloud Director Availability in terms of vSphere DR and migration are:
- Recovery plans – have an option to include replications in plans that will define their sequence of being migrated or failed-over.
- Scheduled migration – plan and set a time when the migration will run.
- Multi-tenancy – support for shared vSphere environments.
Note: This statement addresses future development plans, meanwhile does not express any commitment to delivering it.
Coming soon – the vCenter Server DR and Migrations Reference Guide for VCPP Partners!
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