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vCloud DirectorVMware vCloud Director allows seamless provisioning and consumption of VMware vSphere resources in a cloud model. With the recently released version, vCloud Director 9.5 provides a lot of enhancements and new features in networking, user experience, operations and automation areas.

In this article, we will have a closer look at these improvements.

 

HTML5 Tenant Portal Enhancements

Version 9 of vCloud Director introduced a new tenant-facing web portal based on HTML5 technology, so tenant users do not need a Flash browser plugin anymore. In vCloud Director 9.5, the HTML5 Tenant Portal now has feature parity with the legacy flash-based Flex client.HTML5 Tenant UIWhile the HTML5 provider UI is also growing in functionality, some provider administrative tasks are still only available through the flash-based client.

Cross-OrgVDC and Multi-Site Cross-VDC Networking

vCloud Director 9.5 supports stretched L2 networks across OrgVDCs, backed by a NSX Universal Transport Zone. This allows Cloud Providers to offer better support for:

  • Distributed applications and resource pooling across data centers
  • Application-level redundancy or clustering across different data centers (OrgVDCs)
  • Disaster Recovery scenarios

Cross-VDC Networking       

The OrgVDCs connected to the stretched L2 network can even be managed by different vCloud Director installations, if they are associated using the existing multi-site capabilities.

The Cloud Provider sets up the cross-vCenter networking in NSX, creates the Universal Transport Zone(s), and (to span multiple vCD installations) associates the vCD sites.

The tenant administrator then can create a stretched network and select active and stand-by egress points through the Tenant UI, and see the created cross-VDC network architecture in a diagram in the UI.

As usual in vCloud Director, the Cross-VDC networking functionality is, of course, also available through API.

Initial Support for NSX-T

vCloud Director 9.5 is the first version to support NSX-T, which can be combined with the existing support for NSX-V in the same vCloud Director installation. You can add a NSX-T Manager and the corresponding vCenter(s) as a resource in vCD (via API) and create a Provider VDC (PVDC) that is backed by NSX-T.

All the hosts in these vCenters then have to be manually prepared with the DPDK switch, and a network pool for each OrgVDC has to be created manually.
From this the network configuration on tenant side is the same as with NSX-V, vCloud Director is just consuming the pre-created objects from NSX-T.

Enhanced Role Based Access Control (RBAC)

vCloud Director 9.5 contains a redesigned (but backwards compatible) multi-tenant Role Based Access Controls (RBAC) system. It is possible for the Cloud Provider to create Global Tenant Roles and Rights Bundles.

Global Roles in vCDGlobal Tenant Roles:

System administrators can create and edit global tenant roles and publish them to one or more organizations. Global tenant roles can be assigned to tenant users in the organizations to which they are published. Organization administrators cannot edit global tenant roles.

Rights Bundles:

System administrators can use rights bundles to manage the rights that are available to each organization. A rights bundle is a set of rights that the system administrator can publish to one or more organizations. The system administrator can create and publish rights bundles that correspond to tiers of service, separately monetizable functionality, or any other arbitrary rights grouping. Only system administrators can view and manage the rights bundles. You can publish multiple bundles to the same organization.

Tenant Self-Service RBAC

For the tenant administrator, it is possible to define their own tenant specific roles in the Tenant UI. This allows self-service management of permissions for tenant users by their own administrators, without the need of Cloud Provider involvement.

Tenant RBAC

 

vCloud Director Appliance

vCloud Director is being installed as a binary .bin file, that must be installed on a supported Linux operating system. To simplify the installation and maintenance of a vCloud Director cell, as of vCloud Director 9.5 there is an OVA based appliance available, based on the Photon 2.0 operating system. The appliance contains the vCloud Director cell and can be directly deployed to an ESXi host using the vSphere Client.

Prerequisites for using the vCloud Director 9.5 .ova Appliance:

  • An external DB exists and is ready for vCD to use it.
  • An NFS server exists with an export setup to be used as the server group’s transfer space.
  • A load balancer that will stand in front of the cells.
  • The appliance does not contain an AMQP server or a Cassandra database.

IPv6 Support

vCloud Director 9.5 introduces support for IPv6 for:

  • Guest Virtual Machines
  • External networks
  • Org VDC networks
  • vApp networks
  • VMs can connect to physical IPv6 networks.
  • Static IPv6 routing, NAT 64 and firewall

New Plugin for vRealize Orchestrator

With vCloud Director 9.5, there is a new plugin for vRealize Orchestrator available. This new plugin allows workflows to interact with the latest version of the vCD API (version 31.0). This enables the workflow developer to automate all the new functionality in vCD 9.5.

The new plugin version supports multi-site vCD environments, so workflows can be executed on connections to normal as well as on multi-site enabled vCD connections.

Due to the changes in the API, some Actions have been modified, so existing custom workflows have to be reviewed and the current version of the Action re-added if needed (for details see the Release Notes of the vRO Plugin for vCloud Director).

The list of changed Actions can be found here: https://docs.vmware.com/en/vRealize-Orchestrator/9.5/com.vwmare.using.vcd.plugin.doc-95/GUID-FDCB8232-5ECC-4A7D-958D-4A6B1955D5B1.html

API and SDK Enhancements

vCloud Director 9.5 introduces a new version 31.0 of the vCloud API, adding new functionality like oAuth 2.0 SSO support and an API to change of ownership of catalog items.

Support for vCloud API versions less or equal than version 19.0 has been removed, API versions 20.0 to 26.0 are deprecated in vCloud Director 9.5.

Additionally, some APIs are marked for “Advanced Depreciation” (these will be removed in next version, as they are note needed anymore):

POST /admin/org/{orgId}/role/{id}/action/relinkToTemplate Relink a role to the template specified by its defaultRoleId.
POST /admin/org/{orgId}/role/{id}/action/unlinkFromTemplate Unlink a role from the template specified by its defaultRoleId.
POST /admin/role/{id}/action/relinkToTemplate Relink a role to the template specified by its defaultRoleId.
POST /admin/role/{id}/action/unlinkFromTemplate Unlink a role from the template specified by its defaultRoleId.
POST /admin/extension/host/{id}/action/disable Disable a host.
POST /admin/extension/host/{id}/action/enable Enable a host.
POST /admin/extension/host/{id}/action/prepare Prepare a host.
POST /admin/extension/host/{id}/action/repair Repair a host.
POST /admin/extension/host/{id}/action/unprepare Unprepare a host.
POST /admin/extension/host/{id}/action/upgrade Upgrade the vCloud Director host agent on a host after you have upgraded vCloud Director software.

With the new API version, the Python SDK (Latest Version 20.0.0) https://pypi.org/project/pyvcloud and the VCD-CLI (Latest Version 21.0.0) https://pypi.org/project/pyvcloud have also been released.

Container Service Extension (CSE) 1.2

Along with the new vCloud Director release, a new version of the Container Service Extension (CSE) has been published on GitHub: https://github.com/vmware/container-service-extension

This new version of CSE includes:

  • Support for Kubernetes Version 1.10
  • Implementation of Static Persistent Volumes via NFS
  • Documentation improvements
  • Security and Bug Fixes

References

Find the Release Notes of vCloud Director 9.5 here: https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vCloud-Director-for-Service-Providers/9.5/rn/vmware-vcloud-director-for-service-providers-95-release-notes.html

For more information about VMware vCloud Director visit the product pages at
https://www.vmware.com/products/vcloud-director.html

For vCloud Director case studies, whitepapers, customer testimonials, and more visit https://www.cloudsolutions.vmware.com/

Access the documentation for vCloud Director software at https://docs.vmware.com/en/vCloud-Director/index.html