Usually when I setup homelab for VMware environment, I struggle to manage storage since it is expensive to buy a storage array. I usually use openfiler but the challenge is consistency, it often disconnects from esxi and can observe failed storage commands from Lab.
Recently I read a book from Neil Anderson about Building Netapp ONTAP9 Guide and it is brilliant, it gives you step by step clear instructions to setup lab. Its very useful for guy like me who doesn’t have much hands-on on Netapp. This guide is professionally written and the content is great, I would recommend to read the guide who would like to setup proper storage in your vmware home lab.
vCloud Availability for vCloud Director is a Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) solution that provides simple and secure asynchronous replication and failover for vSphere managed workloads. The service operates through a vCloud Air Network Service Provider, and each installation provides recovery for multiple tenants. The service provides the following features:
The architecture of the solution relies on the service provider environment that provides the replication target and the customer, or tenant, environment that employs vSphere replication to move the data to the service provider. In the service provider environment, multiple components operate together to support replication, secure communication, and storage of the replicated data. Each service provider can support recovery for multiple customer environments that can scale to handle increasing loads for each tenant, and for multiple tenants.
On the tenant side, a single VM instance is deployed in the tenant vSphere environment. This provides management service that is used to oversee the replication operation for each replicated VM. Standard vSphere Replication is used to exchange this information with the service provider infrastructure.
Read the FAQ here
It’s been more than 2 years vCloud Air service is launched, from the day of its launch the service is getting better and matured.
During this VMworld 2015, numerous new features are revealed. Let us have a closer look
Features announced in VMworld 2015
vCloud Air Object Storage
Powered by EMC – Live Now Beta
Powered by Google – Live Now
New version of Disaster Recovery
SRM Air – Available in Q4 2015 – Early Access
Disaster Recovery OnDemand – Upcoming
vCloud Air meets NSX – Advanced Networking Services – Live Now GA -Dedicated Cloud, Q4 – VPC
vCloud Air SQL – Live Now Early Access
vCloud Air catalog & content Library – Upcoming
vCloud Air HCM – Hybrid Cloud Manager – Early Access on Sep 2nd week -Dedicated, Q4 – VPC
vCloud Air Cross Cloud vMotion – Early Access on Sep 2nd week -Dedicated, Q4 – VPC
vCloud Air Object Storage:
What is Object storage?
In traditional storage architecture,
- File systems manages data in file hierarchy
- Block Storage manages data in blocks (within Sectors and tracks)
- Object Storage manages data as objects
The usage of Object storage is increased in current trend since it is relatively inexpensive, scalable, and retain massive amount of unstructured data (data that do not have any pre-defined model).
vCloud Air Object Storage offers two flavours, powered by EMC ViPR (Beta) & Google cloud platform.
Look at this demo for detailed info, https://www.dropbox.com/s/7ip6iz6xd7vwgfx/CS8-%20Storage.pptx?dl=0
Powered by Google Platform:
Powered by EMC (Beta):
Sign-up for vCloud Air Object Storage : http://vcloud.vmware.com/service-offering/object-storage
Disaster Recovery OnDemand:
Customers will pay a flat fee for each VM protected and the amount of storage consumed by the VMs. When a DR test is run or a DR event occurs, customers will only pay for the compute consumed when VMs are running.
SRM (Site Recovery Manager) Air:
SRM Air will be released later this year as part of an Early Access Program launching in Q4 2015. Some key benefits of this new solution are:
- Simple cloud-based protection
- Fast and reliable recovery
- Industry-proven technology
Check VMware blog for more info.
vCloud Air – Advanced Networking Services:
VMware vCloud Air Advanced Networking Services are a new model for public cloud security that improves overall network manageability and accelerates application time-to-market by delivering a powerfully agile and cost-efficient platform for zero-trust security. Built on VMware NSX technology, these services are the public cloud piece of VMware’s hybrid networking story.
Advanced Networking Services include:
- Trust Groups (i.e. micro segmentation): Implemented through stateful distributed firewalls, Trust Groups isolate and secure each VM and application down to the Layer 2 level, commonly seen as one of the most vulnerable points in network security. Centrally managed, inheritable, nestable, and portable, they are easily administered at scale and follow applications wherever they move in the cloud.
- Dynamic Routing: Both Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) and Open Shortest Path First (OSPF)-based routing over VMware vCloud Air Direct Connect are supported to simplify network management and to ensure that critical cloud-hosted applications are always reachable.
- Network Scaling: Support for virtual network interfaces can be expanded from 10 to 200 routed network segments in a single virtual data center, allowing customers to mirror even their complex on-premises network topologies in the cloud and to migrate on-premises applications “as is.”
- High Capacity Connectivity: Point-to-site SSL and site-to-site IPsec VPN options enable up to 100 mobile devices and 1600 site connections to securely connect to a single gateway
- Enhanced Load Balancing: Scalable HTTPS-based load balancing with SSL offloading and log visibility to meet the demands of high web traffic and production workloads
Dedicated Cloud customers will get Dynamic Routing and basic Point-to-site SSL VPN capabilities added to the basic networking services that come included with every VMware vCloud Air Dedicated Cloud. The remaining services will be available through two premium add-on options.
vCloud Air HCM – Hybrid Cloud Manager:
Completing the hybrid networking story, VMware vCloud Air Hybrid Cloud Manager is a downloadable plug-in for vSphere that offers users a seamless option for customers to extend their on-premises data center into VMware vCloud Air. It is a single point of administration for VMware vCloud Air workloads and offers hybrid networking and bi-directional workload migration capabilities, simplifying on and off-premises resource integration and management of cloud workloads.
With the Hybrid Cloud Manager, VMware vCloud Air customers can utilize:
- Hybrid Management: single-pane-of-glass management and control of VMware vCloud Air workloads through the vSphere web client.
- Enhanced Workload Migration: bi-directional workload portability to and from VMware vCloud Air. Low-downtime, replication-based migration over an encrypted VPN connection or Direct Connect cuts VM downtime to minutes. Downtime is further reduced with software-based acceleration. Migrations can be scheduled for off-peak hours to minimize disruption, and are secured by bleeding-edge Suite-B encryption technology.
- Network Extension: Customers can stretch hundreds of on-premises network segments to a single edge gateway in the cloud through a Layer 2 VPN tunnel, seamlessly extending their on-premises data centers to the cloud and integrating on and off-premises resources. This can be done over the Internet (encrypted) or a Direct Connect, and it makes cloud bursting a reality since workloads can retain their IP and MAC addresses when moved to the cloud. Moreover, customers can start treating their on and off-premises resources as a single resource pool, architecting new hybrid applications that take advantage of the best of both worlds.
How to purchase http://vcloud.vmware.com/service-offering/hybrid-cloud-manager
vCloud Air catalog & content Library:
The vCloud Air Catalog and Content Library stores and synchronizes virtual machines, OVFs and ISOs between on-premises vSphere and vCloud Air.
vCloud Air Cross Cloud vMotion
VMware has made a lot of improvements to vMotion technology. The next-gen feature of the vMotion is a cross-cloud vMotion. With this feature you can seamlessly migrate virtual machines from on-prem to vCloud Air and back. Benefits are avoiding disasters by quickly migrating VMs to vCloud Air for continued business operations. Another scenario is easily migrating test workloads running in vCloud Air back to on-premises and vice versa. Optionally you can choose replication based migration: virtual machines are migrated using vSphere replication, with scheduling options and ability to retain a copy on source vSphere environment.
vCloud Air SQL :
vCloud Air SQL is a database-as-a-service offering that delivers rapid access to scalable, cloud-hosted relational databases. The service automates the provisioning, operation, and management of Microsoft SQL Server instances in order to increase productivity and minimize administrative overhead.
vCloud Air SQL provides customers with easy access to scalable, cloud hosted relational databases. Delivered via vCloud Air’s on-demand, self-service platform, vCloud Air SQL provides a complete managed database-as-a-service that automates the provisioning and administration of relational databases. System administrators, developers and non-technical personnel can deploy databases within minutes on vCloud Air and can seamlessly access them from other hosts on vCloud Air or on-premises.
More vCloud Air SQL Resources:
For anyone to experience virtualization, the start point is VMware Workstation, no exception to me as well. Using workstation anyone can setup a simple lab with minimal resource.
Workstation has grown a lot today and you can do so many things. With Workstation 12 Pro release, integration with vCloud Air has enhanced alot. You can manage your entire vCloud Air VPC with Workstation 12 Pro.
How to connect your workstation to vCloud Air.
Its simple, from the home tab, click connect to vCloud Air –> Provide valid creds –> You are done
Within minutes it will collect all data in your account and ready for use.
With this integration you can
- View your complete vCloud Air inventory
- View the Virtual Machine Console
- Perform all VM power operations
- Upload workstation VM to vCloud Air
View your complete vCloud Air inventory:
View the Virtual Machine Console:
Perform all VM power operations
Upload workstation 12 VM to vCloud Air:
Right Click WS VM –> Manage –> Upload
Select vCloud Air –> Select your vDC –> Finish
And your VM in vCloud Air
- Only Workstation 10 version VM ( you will have to downgrade if the VM version is greater than 10)
- Only Windows virtual machines, no support for other OS flavours
Expecting much more features in future.
It’s been more than 2 years I work for vCloud Air, I receive many queries about the service, options, design guidance, how to purchase etc. Let me cover most of the things in this post.
What is vCloud Air ?
vCloud Air is a public cloud platform built on vSphere from VMware. it is a secure, hybrid cloud service built on the vSphere foundation. vCloud Air has multiple infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) subscription service types:
- Dedicated Cloud – A subscription-based dedicated single-tenant, physically isolated cloud compute service that offers the broadest set of capabilities among the compute services in vCloud Air
- Disaster Recovery Cloud – A recovery-as-a-service (RaaS) solution that introduces native cloud-based disaster recovery capabilities for VMware vSphere virtual environments
- Virtual Private Cloud Subscription – A subscription-based secure and expandable infrastructure as a service (IaaS) compute environment in which to start migrating your key production workloads and launch net new applications
- Virtual Private Cloud OnDemand – An infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering that allows customers to consume specific vCPU, vRAM, Storage, Network, IP Addresses, and even Support as incremental, pay-as-you-go services
- More services to go live shortly..
Why Cloud services are getting popular and companies / organization moving their workloads to cloud ?
Answer is simple, to avoid overhead & utilize the flexibility of cloud services. Overheads such as Capex (Capital Expense), Security, hardware maintenance including but not limited to power, complex wiring, datacenter maintenance. Managing the infrastructure locally or collocated is not only complex but needs more human power, manual work and delay to procure new resources.
By using cloud services an org/company can concentrate of their domain business leaving these overheads to cloud providers. In Cloud, all the actions are instant and has a great flexibility to modify the resources (CPU, Memory, RAM, Storage..) according to the need.
vCloud Air Cloud offerings in details.
Choosing a cloud offering:
Choosing a right cloud offering can optimize cost, before you choose it is important to analyze your requirement for proper planning.
Analyzing your needs:
- Analyze your compute resource needs such as number of
- Virtual machines
- Analyze your Application / Services needs such as
- Number of users
- Target users (such as developers, testers etc)
- Types of application
- Storage IOPS
- Public Ips & Network bandwidth
- Peak & off peak hours
- Disaster recovery & backup
Complete your designing & planning of your cloud environment and you are ready choose a right cloud offering for your org/company.
Check vCloud Air pricing guide( http://vcloud.vmware.com/service-offering/pricing-guide) to estimate your costs.
Security & Compliance :
Despite of all the benefits of the cloud, still companies are concerned about the security, risk & compliance. vCloud air holds major security certifications to ensure compliance measures.
- ISO/IEC 27001 (Global)
- SOC 1 (SSAE16/ISAE 3402)
- SOC 2
- SOC 3
- Cloud Security Alliance
- UK G-Cloud 6
- FedRAMP Provisional Authority (for vCGS)
Visit http://vcloud.vmware.com/service-offering/cloud-compliance for more info on vCloud Air security.
Security is a Shared Responsibility, it is combined efforts of both customer and cloud providers. End to end security of vCloud Air service is shared between VMware and the customer.
- Physical security – Datacenter level security breaches
- Information security – Customer & user level data
- Network security – Physical & virtual devices
- Security monitoring – Underlying infrastructure (Storage, Network, Servers, etc)
- Patching & vulnerability Management.
VMware expects customer to take care of
- Information security – customer data
- Network Security – Maintaining firewall rules, exposing communication ports, security hardening
- Security monitoring – Detection, classification and remediation of all security events that are isolated within customer environment
Application & Guest Operating system Support:
Till today’s date, vCloud air is the only service which supports most of the operating systems, it supports more than 5000+ applications and over 90 operating systems. vCloud air is built on vSphere, so technically you can bring any OS that is supported by vSphere. For list of operating systems, please have a look at http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php?deviceCategory=software&testConfig=16
All the Apps that have virtualization support can run on vCloud Air, also we have many solutions / services available instantly in vCloud Air market place. Look at vCloud Air market place https://solutionexchange.vmware.com/store/category_groups/vcloud-air to see the list of solutions
Additionally you can bring your own licenses to vCloud air, have a look at https://solutionexchange.vmware.com/store/category_groups/vcloud-air?category=bring-your-own-license for more information.
Bring your OnPrem Workloads:
Unlike any other cloud providers, vCloud air is true hybrid cloud. It has great flexibility moving your workloads from vCloud Air to OnPrem and vice-versa.
You can move workloads from your OnPrem datacenter to vCloud Air in three different ways:
• Use VMware vCloud Connector™ to connect,view, and copy onsite vSphere workloads to your vCloud Air environment.
• An optional data migration service, Offline Data Transfer, is available to migrate large data sets using an external storage device.
• Administrators can use VMware vCloud Director® to import or export Open Virtualization Format (OVF) virtual machine images or other media.
vCloud Connector Tutorials & config
Click here to know how to purchase vCloud Air, for vCloud Air OnDemand http://www.virtualizationexpress.com/2015/01/vcloud-air-ondemand-an-intro/
Want to experience vCloud Air ?
vCloud Air Tutorials:
vCloud Air certification:
vCloud Air Course[2 Hours, selfpaced]: