Recently I have been involved in a rather cool project inside VMware, aimed at validating and integrating all the different VMware products. The most interesting customer cases I see are related to this work because oftentimes products work independently without issue—but together can create unique problems.
To be honest, it is really difficult to solve some of the problems when integrating many products together. Whether we are talking about integrating a ticketing system, building a custom dashboard for vRealize Operations Manager, or even building a validation/integration plan for Virtual SAN to add to existing processes, there is always the question, “What would the experts recommend?”
The goal of this project is to provide a reference design for our products, called a VMware Validated Design. The design is a construct that:
- Is built by expert architects who have many years of experience with the products as well as the integrations
- Allow repeatable deployment of the end solution, which has been tested to scale
- Integrates with the development cycle, so if there is an issue with the integration and scale testing, it can be identified quickly and fixed by the developers before the products are released.
All in all, this has been an amazing project that I’ve been excited to work on, and I am happy to be able to finally talk about it publicly!
Introducing the VMware Validated Design for SDDC 2.0
The first of these designs—under development for some time—is the VMware Validated Design for SDDC (Software-Defined Data Center). The first release was not available to the public and only internal to VMware, but on July 21, 2016, version 2.0 was released and is now available to everyone! This design builds not only the foundation for a solid SDDC infrastructure platform using VMware vSphere, Virtual SAN, and VMware NSX, but it builds on that foundation using the vRealize product suite (vRealize Operations Manager, vRealize Log Insight, vRealize Orchestrator, and vRealize Automation).
The VMware Validated Design for SDDC outcome requires a system that enables an IT organization to automate the provisioning of common, repeatable requests and to respond to business needs with more agility and predictability. Traditionally, this has been referred to as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS); however, the VMware Validated Design for SDDC extends the typical IAAS solution to include a broader and more complete IT solution.
The architecture is based on a number of layers and modules, which allows interchangeable components to be part of the end solution or outcome, such as the SDDC. If a particular component design does not fit the business or technical requirements for whatever reason, it should be able to be swapped out for another similar component. The VMware Validated Design for SDDC is one way of putting an architecture together that has been rigorously tested to ensure stability, scalability, and compatibility. Ultimately, however, the system is designed to ensure the desired outcome will be achieved.
The conceptual design is shown in the following diagram:
As you can see, the design brings a lot more than just implementation details. It includes many common “day two” operational tasks such as management and monitoring functions, business continuity, and security.
To simplify such a complex design, it has been broken up into:
- A high-level Architecture Design
- A Detailed Design with all the design decisions included
- Implementation guidance.
Let’s take an in-depth look.