New vCloud Air Features Announced in VMworld 2015

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.

How to Access: sign up here. If you’re new, you’ll get a $300 service credit, in addition to the $300 vCloud Air SQL credit. You can read more about OnDemand.

More vCloud Air SQL Resources:

User Guide: http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vcloud-air/vCloud-Air-SQL-Users-Guide.pdf

Solution Brief: http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vcloud-air/vCloud-Air-Solution-Brief.pdf

http://vcloud.vmware.com/service-offering/sql

https://blogs.vmware.com/vcloud/2015/09/your-cloud-your-data-introducing-vmware-vcloud-air-sql.html

 

Workstation 12 & enhaced Integration with vCloud Air

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

 

 

 

 

Limitations.

  • 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

 

Reference:http://pubs.vmware.com/workstation-12/index.jsp#com.vmware.ws.using.doc/GUID-B7363084-A19F-4F58-AE86-CD8460BD8625.html?resultof=%2522%2576%2563%256c%256f%2575%2564%2522%2520

Expecting much more features in future.

Check this article for Fusion8 Integration with vCloud Air

Getting started with vCloud Air

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
    • CPU
    • RAM
    • Storage
  • 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
    • Security
    • 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.

Offerings:

offering

 

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)
  • HIPAA
  • 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.

VMware covers,

  • 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

Reference Articles:

https://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vcloud-air/vmware-vcloud-air-security-technical-whitepaper.pdf

http://vcloud.vmware.com/service-offering/security-overview

http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vcloud-air/vcloud-air-Security-FAQ.pdf

 

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 ?

 

More Resources:

Documentation:
http://vcloud.vmware.com/using-vcloud-air/documentation

Service Description:
http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vcloud-air/vcloud-air-Service-Description.pdf

vCloud Air Tutorials:
http://vcloud.vmware.com/using-vcloud-air/tutorials

vCloud Air certification:
https://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrReg/plan.cfm?plan=64576&ui=www_cert

vCloud Air Course[2 Hours, selfpaced]:
http://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrReg/courses.cfm?ui=www_edu&a=det&id_course=252513

 

 

Certifications related to cloud computing

 

Cloud U

What it’s all about: Delivered by cloud provider Rackspace, Cloud U is a vendor-neutral curriculum designed for IT professionals and business leaders that covers and certifies knowledge of the fundamentals of Cloud Computing. CloudU content is available to any professional at any time, but if you want a formal recognition of your knowledge about Cloud Computing, you should complete the courses and requirements for a certificate.

How to prepare: Study each Cloud U lesson whitepaper, and then successfully complete each of 10 Cloud U quizzes based on the whitepaper’s content. Successfully complete a 50-question final exam drawn from materials covered in the ten Cloud U lessons.

http://www.rackspace.com/knowledge_center/cloudu/

 

 

CompTIA Cloud Essentials

What it’s all about: According to CompTIA, the Cloud Essentials Certification covers the basic fundamentals of cloud computing and shows that individuals understand cloud computing from both a business and a technical perspective. In addition, the certification covers migration to the cloud and governance of cloud computing environments.

How to prepare: CompTIA offers study and training materials, and, while it’s not required, CompTIA recommends that individuals taking the exam have at least six months experience working in an IT services environment.

http://certification.comptia.org/getCertified/certifications/cloud.aspx

 

 

 Cloud Security Alliance Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK)

What it’s all about: This is the mother of all cloud computing security certifications. The Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge certification is vendor-neutral and certifies competency in key cloud security areas. The test is based on the Cloud Security Alliance Security Guidance for Critical Areas of Focus in Cloud Computing V3, English language version, and the ENISA report “Cloud Computing: Benefits, Risks and Recommendations for Information Security.”

How to prepare: The best way to prepare is to study the CSA Security Guidance for Critical Areas of Focus in Cloud Computing v3, and the ENISA report “Cloud Computing: Benefits, Risks, and Recommendations for Information Security.”

CSA Guidance

ENISA

 

CloudSchool.com Certified Cloud Technology Professional

What it’s all about: CloudSchool.com offers a number of vendor-neutral cloud certifications, each based on a one-day course module and aimed at competency in specific areas of cloud computing. There are certificates for cloud architects, cloud technology professionals, cloud governance and cloud security, among others.

How to prepare: Cloud School offers self-study kits as well as on-site and remote workshops, study sessions and instructor-led workshops to help prepare applicants for the exams.

http://cloudschool.com/certifications

 

 

AWS Certified Solutions Architect

What it’s all about: Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certifications recognize IT professionals that possess the skills and technical knowledge necessary for designing, deploying, and operating applications and infrastructure on AWS. There are three associate level and two professional level certifications currently offered.

How to prepare: Amazon offers study materials, practice exams and introductory, advanced and specialized courses and training on its website.

http://aws.amazon.com/certification/

 

Arcitura Education Cloud Certified Professional

What it’s all about: The Cloud Certified Professional program from the Arcitura Cloud School is focused on general cloud computing technology, architecture, security, governance and capacity. Founded by best-selling author Thomas Erl, this curriculum enables IT professionals to develop real-world cloud computing proficiency. There are eight cloud computing specialties available.

How to prepare: Arcitura Education offers on-site training, public workshops and self-study materials through its website. Each certification exam also has a corresponding one-day course module.

http://www.arcitura.com

 

 

Cloud Credential Council

What it’s all about: The Cloud Credential Council (CCC) is an international body that drives standards training and certification for cloud computing pros. The CCC is independent and vendor-neutral, and members come from the public sector and academic institutions, cloud providers, cloud consumers, cloud brokers, professional associations and international certification bodies from across the world. The certifications are geared toward cloud consumers, cloud vendors or cloud solutions, and service providers that want to improve their skills in defining, choosing, building, operating and managing cloud services. Currently, CCC offers two associate level and five professional level cloud certifications.

How to prepare: The Cloud Credential Council offers courses and preparation material on its website.

http://www.cloudcredential.org/

 

Cloud Genius

What it’s all about: Cloud Genius certification offers certificates on cloud technologies, cloud/DevOps automation and cloud architecture and design. The program is heavily focused on hands-on experiential learning. The coursework requires twice-weekly on-campus attendance, as well as team collaboration on real-life projects. The program also offers a solid foundation in cloud technologies, modern DevOps practices and some basic programming in Ruby and Chef.

How to prepare: Each certificate requires, at minimum, 24 classroom hours (three hours, twice a week for four weeks). In addition, the program directors suggest devoting additional time to view video lectures, working on group projects and practicing materials you’ve learned.

http://be.a.cloudgeni.us/

 

 

Cloud Institute

What it’s all about: The Cloud Institute Certification program is based on the findings and recommendations of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, which is geared toward greater and faster cloud adoption in government and public service verticals. The program also includes a focus on security and privacy challenges. There are currently two online certification programs, Certified Cloud Architect and Certified Cloud Professional, and one open assessment available.

How to prepare: Cloud institute advises certification candidates to use the publications offered by the NIST as a basis for study, and to use the free Open Exam to identify areas where more work is needed. The Institute also recommends candidates have working experience in enterprise cloud technology, SOA design or development, cloud-related services and application, and/or storage-centric services.

http://cloud-institute.org/

 

 

Exin Cloud Computing Foundation

What it’s all about: Exin offers two certification levels, Cloud Computing Foundation and Cloud Technologies Advanced. The programs cover main cloud computing concepts as well as what’s involved in planning, procurement and management. The certification is geared toward DevOps professionals responsible for making the business case for cloud solutions, evaluating vendors and systems, and then integrating them with legacy technologies.

How to prepare: Exin offers exam preparation guides and sample exams as well as eBooks covering these concepts. These materials are available on its Web site.

https://www.exin.com/US/en/certifications/

 

Autologon windows in Application Director

I had a customer who was trying to deploy a blueprint from Application Director and need autologon feature. The Endpoint is vCloud Director

AppD –> vCloud Director –> VM

When we deployed the VM directly from vCD (Request –> vCD –> VM) , autologon worked but same didn’t work from AppD (Request –> AppD –> vCD –>VM).

In the AppD documentation, I noticed that when we deploy from AppD, vCD Guest customization will be over-ridden.

So simple idea is to add a windows powershell script to add in AppD (AppD console –> Powershell script –>paste), below script flawlessly


$VMname= hostname

set-ItemProperty -Path 'HKLM:SOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWinlogon' -Name AutoAdminLogon -Value 1
set-ItemProperty -Path 'HKLM:SOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWinlogon' -Name DefaultUserName -Value Administrator
set-ItemProperty -Path 'HKLM:SOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWinlogon' -Name DefaultPassword -Value SWENGn2j4g5
set-ItemProperty -Path 'HKLM:SOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWinlogon' -Name DefaultDomainName -Value $VMname
set-ItemProperty -Path 'HKLM:SOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWinlogon' -Name ForceUnlockLogon -Value 1
set-ItemProperty -Path 'HKLM:SOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWinlogon' -Name AutoLogonCount -Value 100

vCloud Air – Two interfaces ?

Everyday I talk to lot of vCloud Air customers, often I hear feedback vCloud Air UI is confusing.

The confusion is two interfaces, which is vCloud Air portal and vCloud director portal

According to me

  • vCloud Air Portal is simple and quick

vCloudAirTwoIF-1vCloudAirTwoIF-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • vCloud Director Portal is advanced and comprehensive

vCLoudAirTwoIf-3

The reasons why vCloud Air offers two interfaces
  • vCloud Air service leverage vCloud Director (vCD) to host the cloud services, vCD is well liked IaaS product from VMware.
    It is still used by many of the service providers to deliver IaaS cloud
  • The users who are very new, vCloud Air portal offers a simple / minimal view and can do the things within few clicks
  • Many of the VMware customers are familiar with vCloud Director UI, for them it is easy to adopt vCloud Air
  • Many of the advanced users, leverage APIs / SDKs for automation. Providing access to vCD makes them easier to use APIs and automation tools such as vRealize Automation and vRealize Orchestrator
  • Thorough vCloud air you can purchase multiple DCs from multiple available regions, vCloud Air portal acts like unified portal to manage / monitor all the VDCs
UI Comparison.

vCLoudAirTwoIf-4

Internet Access to a VM in vCloud Air OnDemand

By default the VMs in vCloud Air doesn’t not connect to internet. We need to configure the SNAT/DNAT rules to allow the internet connectivity in both ways.

Below is the procedure to allow internet access to a VM in  vCloud Air OnDemand.

Add Public IP –> Configure SNAT Rules –> Validate the Connectivity

Add a Public IP to a Gateway in vCloud Air OnDemand

Click Gateways –> Public Ips –> Add IP Address

SecondPost-Seq1

 

Create a SNAT Rule

 

SecPost-Seq1

Now the VMs connected to the org-network associated with the gateway will be to connect to internet.