vCloud Director has been designed with extensibility in mind. For many years now, developers have been able to extend the standard vCloud Director API, enabling Service Providers to provide a single point of integration to their customers. The vCloud Director 9.1 release enhances this extensibility by allowing you to also extend the user interface with custom extensions, which enables you to add your own screens and workflows directly inside the vCloud Director HTML5 client. For example, you could create a simple informational page displaying all of your service offerings, so that your customers can easily learn more about them. Or with a little more effort, you could fully integrate your in-house ticketing system, allowing customers to create, view, edit and delete tickets without ever leaving the vCloud Director user interface.
When looking for service providers for hosted infrastructure, some customers require dedicated infrastructure for their workloads. Whether the customer is looking for additional separation for security or more predictable performance of hosted workloads, service providers will need tools that enable them to provide dedicated hardware service for customers while reducing their operational overhead. In some scenarios, providers will implement managed vSphere environments for customers to satisfy this type of request and then manage the individual vSphere environments manually or with custom automation and orchestration tools. However, it is also possible to leverage vCloud Director to provide dedicated hardware per customer while also providing a central management platform for service providers to manage multiple tenants. In this post, we will explore how this can be accomplished with ‘out of the box’ functionality in vCloud Director.
Running VMware Harbor™ in a vCloud Air Network Environment
Continuing with the series of posts related to running Containers on vCloud Air Network (vCAN), this post covers VMware Harbor™. VMware Harbor™ is VMware’s enterprise-class registry server for Docker images. Private registry servers like VMware Harbor™, allow storage of Docker images without publishing them publicly on the internet and adds an additional layer of control that’s often desired in enterprise environments.
This post will show how to deploy VMware Harbor™, add the new registry to VMware Admiral™, then deploy and push images to the registry. Since VMware Harbor™ has no special infrastructure requirements, this post applies to both providers as well as tenants wishing to deploy their own container service. If you have not already, refer to https://blogs.vmware.com/vcat/2017/01/hybrid-container-management-vcloud-director-photon-os-admiral.html to deploy the VMware Admiral™ and VMware Photon OS™ components needed in this post.
The diagram below shows a high-level view of VMware Harbor™ added to the container management platform within a vCloud Director vApp.
Running Photon OS and Admiral in a vCloud Air Network Environment
VMware’s container story is growing and maturing every day. Many vCloud Air Network (vCAN) customers are looking to see how VMware’s container strategy maps to vCAN providers. This is the first in a series of blog posts to help illustrate how VMware technologies can be leveraged to provide a robust and flexible environment for containers. This first step is focused on creating a solid foundation for running containers using VMware Photon OS™ and VMware Admiral™.
Photon OS™ is a minimal open source Linux distribution optimized for VMware’s virtualization platform. The main site for documentation and downloads for Photon OS™ is on the GitHub site https://vmware.github.io/photon/.
Admiral™ is VMware’s container management platform, which is a very light weight and scalable application. Like Photon OS™, Admiral™ is also open source. The main site for Admiral™ is available on its GitHub site at https://vmware.github.io/admiral/.
The diagram below gives a high-level view of what will be demonstrated with Admiral™ and some Photon OS™ VMs contained with a vCloud Director vApp.
VMware vRealize Operations™ is a key component of a vCloud Air Network powered cloud service offering. It provides a simplified yet extensible approach to operations management of the cloud infrastructure. It helps service providers maximize profitability by optimizing efficiency and differentiates their service offerings by increasing customer satisfaction and delivering to SLAs.
VMware vRealize Operations also enables service providers to generate new revenue streams by expanding their footprint to offer VMware vRealize Operations™ as a service to give their tenants a deeper insight in to the health, capacity and performance of their hosted environments.
This can either be delivered on a dedicated per-tenant basis as part of a private cloud solution offering alternatively the vCAN Service Provider can offer a shared vRealize Operations™ platform as a managed service.
In this scenario, the service provider operates a centralized vRealize Operations Manager instance to collect all data generated by the resource cluster. Both service provider personnel and tenants will access the same instance of vRealize Operations, and data access will be controlled with RBAC. This scenario allows for easy management and deployment.
This approach is especially attractive for service providers who can operate their complete environment within one vRealize Operations Manager environment.
Advantages include the following:
Easy to deploy and manage
No additional data/configuration distribution for dashboards, policies, and so on is needed
Only one instance to maintain (software updates, management packs, and so on)
Disadvantages involve the following:
Role-based access control requires careful maintenance
Objects can only be operated under one policy, removing the ability to limit alert visibility for a customer/tenant
Sizing can get complex and larger environments could be limited by sizing parameters. A possible workaround could be to build instances per larger resource group.
This is just one way a vCloud Air Network provider can differentiate their service portfolio with vRealize Operations™ by extending the consumption to your end-customers as a managed service.