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JONATHAN MCDONALD
Senior Solutions Architect
VMware Professional Services Engineering and Remote Delivery.

I have not written a blog in some time.  It is not because I had nothing to write about, but I have been working on something new and exciting that is finally completed. If you are not aware VMware Professional Services has launched a new practice focused on Remote Delivery of Professional Services. I have been involved in the development of the first service outside of VMware AirWatch, the VMware vSAN Small-Scale Deployment Service.

Professional Services Remote Delivery
Before we get into the service, I wanted to give some background. The Professional Services Remote Delivery (PSRD) practice was established to focus on leveraging remote resources that will provide professional services for those customers who no longer require in-person Enterprise Consulting. It is an initiative created to address our customers’ growing need to access a wide variety of support options to maximize the value of their VMware technology. This includes consulting options that range from rapid deployment to flexible delivery which would reduce expenses.

The team, as with all VMware Professional Services, uses procedural best practices. These procedures are created and refined from our experience working with thousands of customers. These reliable and repeatable VMware methodologies are designed to reduce project delivery timeframes, implementation cost, and risks. Additional benefits include:

  • Flexible Time – Unlike typical professional services that are scheduled onsite for a fixed timeframe, PSRD offers flexible timelines. For example, an engagement may take one week to complete, but the time can be used over the course of 30 days, rather than five straight days. The benefits for the customer are huge, because the deployment pace and requirements set the VMware consultant’s schedule. If several days are required to make network changes or firmware updates by another vendor, the VMware consultant doesn’t schedule time until the updates are completed . With Remote Delivery the customer can effectively put the VMware deployment ‘on-hold’ until that support is needed.
  • A Helping Hand – Many customers want to take a “hands-on approach,” rather than having someone perform the work for them. In this case, there may be design questions or installation guidance required to get started, or assistance needed during the installation process. By having a Professional Services Remote Delivery engagement started, the team can help lay the groundwork for the installation and provide the necessary insight for the customer’s success at a lower cost.

As it grows, Professional Services Remote Delivery will provide new and exciting opportunities for customers to leverage VMware expertise for their environments.

VMware vSAN Small-Scale Deployment Service
The VMware vSAN Small-Scale Deployment Service is the first of the offerings for the vSphere services portfolio to be released as a remote delivery engagement. The service remotely configures vSAN, ESXi Hosts, vCenter Server (and supporting components), VMware vSphere High Availability (HA), VMware vMotion, and VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS).  This service is a fixed-fee service, requiring 24 hours of support over a duration of 30 days after project start date.

The scope for the service is as follows:

  • ESXi Host Deployment
    • Up to 4 ESXi hosts deployed and configured
  • vCenter Infrastructure Deployment
    • Up to 1 Physical data center location deployed and configured.
    • Up to 1 VMware vCenter® Server Appliance™ instance deployed and configured with an embedded Platform Services Controller.
    • Up to 1 vSphere HA enabled clusters configured.
    • Up to 4 vMotion enabled hosts configured.
    • Up to 1 DRS enabled clusters configured.
  • vSphere Network Infrastructure Deployment
    • Up to 1 VMware vSphere Distributed Switch™ creation and configuration.
    • Up to 4 Network port groups are created and configured.
    • Up to 3 VMkernel network adapters and IP Addresses needed per host.
  • vSAN Deployment
    • Up to 1 vSAN enabled clusters deployed.

The scope is designed as an introductory offering for vSAN providing customers with assistance to:

  • Deploying a small cluster as a starting point for an environment
  • Making sure that they understand the deployment, testing and best practices for vSAN
  • Architectural decision points when designing vSAN

Once completed, the customer will have a working vSAN environment as well as an understanding of vSAN, the deployed environment and the ability to grow and build additional environments.

vSAN Design
As with any vSAN design the engagement for remote delivery follows the same basic process as shown in the diagram below.

Briefly, vSAN is a storage technology, and so the first part of any engagement starts off with hardware – procurement, validation, and testing. Professional Services remote delivery does not generally participate in many of these activities, as they are outside the scope of the service. They will however help to validate that the hardware, drivers, and firmware are supported for use with vSAN before they start the deployment process.

Once all hardware is validated, the deployment can commence, with both the ESXi hosts and the vCenter infrastructure. Conceptually the design is shown in the diagram below.

The remote delivery team, makes use of the built in vSAN Easy Installer mode to quickly bootstrap the vSAN installation and create the vSAN datastore.

This feature not only reduces the amount of time to deploy vSAN, but it also negates the requirement to have other storage presented for the initial installation of the environment. Once the environment is installed and available the features such as vMotion, HA and DRS are enabled and the environment is tested to validate that the environment is working as expected, which will complete the engagement.

Conclusion
The VMware vSAN Small-Scale Deployment service is a great new addition to the Professional Services Remote Delivery team catalog of services.  It will provide tremendous value to anyone who is looking to get that extra bit of expertise to embrace vSAN and all the benefits it provides to the environment.

For further details on this offering from professional services remote delivery, contact your local VMware representative or e-mail PSRDsales@vmware.com.


Jonathan McDonald, is currently a Senior Solutions Architect on the Professional Services Engineering and Remote Delivery (PSERD) team at VMware.  PSERD develops validated solution architectures and training for Professional Services consultants. He has been with VMware since 2005.

His area of focus is vSphere Platforms. This includes work on vSphere services (including designing and deploying, upgrading, and performing health checks on the core platform), VMware vSAN, VMware Cloud Foundation, VMware Validated Designs and VMware Cloud on AWS. 

Prior to joining Professional Services Engineering, he was a Staff Technical Support Engineer with VMware Global Support Services specializing in the vCenter product and supporting technologies.  In this role Jonathan dealt with customer escalations, mentoring, and interactions with the internal product engineering teams.