vCloud Air – Chris Colotti's Blog https://www.chriscolotti.us Thoughts and Theories About... Wed, 17 Sep 2014 21:00:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://i1.wp.com/www.chriscolotti.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/cropped-photo.jpg?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 vCloud Air – Chris Colotti's Blog https://www.chriscolotti.us 32 32 25751794 How To Give A vCloud Air Virtual Machine Internet Access https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/vcloud/how-to-give-a-vcloud-air-virtual-machine-internet-access/ https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/vcloud/how-to-give-a-vcloud-air-virtual-machine-internet-access/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:54:02 +0000 http://www.chriscolotti.us/?p=4351 The most common initial task that I get asked for help on is connecting a newly deployed virtual machine in vCloud Air from the catalog to the internet so you can install other packages or update the operating system.  This post is probably long overdue considering the number of times I have explained the fairly …

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vCloud_Air

The most common initial task that I get asked for help on is connecting a newly deployed virtual machine in vCloud Air from the catalog to the internet so you can install other packages or update the operating system.  This post is probably long overdue considering the number of times I have explained the fairly simple process to people so finally I have taken a moment to explain it here.  This process will apply to both subscription and OnDemand provided in OnDemand you have purchased a public IP, where subscription accounts include them already.

There is a few basic assumptions here.  First is that you have access to a subscription to vCloud Air, and that you know how to configure basic NAT and Firewall rules.  By design vCloud Air comes with a default routed network for every new customer and we will assume that is the one you are using for your connectivity.  This is easy because all default routed networks are deployed for s new customer with the same NAT P address range so it works for screen shots well.  Also by design there is NO firewall or NAT rules in the Edge Gateway and everything is allowed as you determine.  This is also a good thing, since there is no assumptions on what you as a consumer want to do.  We will also assume you have deployed your virtual machine and it’s been assigned an IP address it simply cannot get out to the internet yet.

In order to get a virtual machine to “see” the internet it’s composed of a minimum of three things

  • Either Use Gateway DNS or configure your own
  • A source NAT rule (SNAT)
  • A firewall rule

NOTE: All default routed networks use 192.168.109.0

The difference is simple really.  The Source NAT rule just applies the outgoing NAT information to the packets exiting the firewall.  However, having the SNAT rule does not allow the traffic to be allowed out of the network, that’s the firewall rule.  So in effect if you do one and not the other, you still will not have internet access from your machine.  You have two ways to create these rules either in the vCloud Air interface or the vCloud Director Interface.

Ensuring DNS Configuration

Although all default routed networks are deployed with a static IP pool range and machines will get an IP there is no DNS configured on the Organization network Properties.  You will need to check/edit this using the manage advanced gateway settings to get you to the vCloud Director Interface.  Simply highlight and rick click the Default Routed network, and select Edit Properties

vca_DNS

 

Here you can either check the option to use the gateway DNS, or better yet assign your own DNS servers.  Bear in mind if you have already deployed an AD server on the same network, you can use that here as well.  Another note is if machines are already deployed they will need to be shutdown and restarted to pick up this change since the setting is not DHCP it is part of the static IP setting.  This option is also used for DHCP on this network if you configure that in the Edge Gateway.

Creating The NAT Rule

This is pretty simple.  All you need to do is click “Add On” and select Source Nat Rule

vca_SNAT_Rule

You will need to enter the NAT source manually, and in this case I have entered the ENTIRE subnet range for 192.168.109.0/24/  You will also see a  drop down where you can see any Public IP addresses you have available to NAT externally on.  It really does not matter which one you use, you can use the same one for all your Source NAT rules if you like

vca_SNAT_Rule_Dialog

Once updated you can see here the Source Nat rule is in place.  It is okay that it is an ANY:ANY rule because you are still going to control any access into or out of the environment from the firewall rules.  If you did have more public IP addresses, you could do specific SNAT and DNAT rules to support 1:1 mappings but for this purpose I want to focus on just getting your new virtual machine on the internet.

vca_SNAT_Rule_complete

Creating The Firewall Rule

This is actually quite simple.  Assuming you just want to allow ANY traffic from the INTERNAL side of the Edge Gateway to the EXTERNAL side you can do this in one rule.  Again you can get more finite and complex as you wish but since we are looking in this case to allow all machines on the subnet to access internet outbound we can use a single rule.  Again click “Add One” and below you will see the configuration.

vca_FW_Rule

Once you save this you will be allowing any protocol from all INTERNAL sources to all EXTERNAL sources.  At this point you should be able to get to the internet.

Summary

To review there is 3 basic things you need to make sure a virtual machine you deploy in a brand new vCloud Air environment can reach the internet.

  1. Configure the Organization Network DNS
  2. Apply a Source NAT (SNAT) rule
  3. Apply a firewall rule

I hope this helps people as they are experimenting with vCloud Air.  I know this one question has come up a lot, so maybe this will prevent people from struggling with it.

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Check Out The New Cloud Academy https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/check-out-the-new-vcloud-academy/ https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/check-out-the-new-vcloud-academy/#respond Fri, 18 Jul 2014 15:43:56 +0000 http://www.chriscolotti.us/?p=4154 I just got word that this just launched today so go check out the new VMware Cloud Academy!  There is even a promotion for some free VMworld tickets, so take the quiz and see how you score and get entered! What is VMware Cloud Academy? “Think VMworld technical breakout but available on vcloud.vmware.com, that is freely …

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vcloud academy header

I just got word that this just launched today so go check out the new VMware Cloud Academy!  There is even a promotion for some free VMworld tickets, so take the quiz and see how you score and get entered!

What is VMware Cloud Academy? “Think VMworld technical breakout but available on vcloud.vmware.com, that is freely accessible 365/days per year, PLUS social media.”

Goal: To provide vSphere administrators, key influencers, users, the technical building blocks they need to become more “cloud-ready” with vCloud Air.

Target Audience: vSphere Admins, but anyone interested in learning more about vCloud Service can benefit. That includes partners and customers alike

Curriculum: There are 7 videos, one introduction and 6 technical. They follow the vCloud Air Jump Start program from last year’s VMworld. While they are packed with information, they are short and all  ~10 minutes – so easy to consume.   The content is technical and targeted at administrators, but anyone can benefit from the Mathew Lodge “Introduction to vCloud Air” and participate in some of the other non-technical activities.

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Building a Full Scale Hybrid Data Center https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/building-full-scale-hybrid-data-center/ https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/building-full-scale-hybrid-data-center/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:22:27 +0000 http://www.chriscolotti.us/?p=4149 Some people may or may not have seen on the VMware vCloud Blog that I posted a series of articles documenting a very large scale lab build out.  The purpose of these articles was to try and drive home some of the examples you can do with Hybrid Cloud if you architect things properly.  You …

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vCloud Air-Powered

Some people may or may not have seen on the VMware vCloud Blog that I posted a series of articles documenting a very large scale lab build out.  The purpose of these articles was to try and drive home some of the examples you can do with Hybrid Cloud if you architect things properly.  You can do a lot with VMware vCloud Air if you just think through the design.  I can tell you as you read these there was quite a bit of work to put the puzzle together, but I hope you see that there is some very cool things you can achieve.

Part 1 – Building a hybrid application with VMware Horizon View

Part 2 – Using F5 Global Traffic Managers with vCloud Air

Part 3 – Using Horizon DaaS with vCloud Air – Disaster Recovery

These three posts together can show you multiple things you can actually do with vCloud Air to gain a lot of control and flexibility in your own data centers.  Please leave comments here or on the posts themselves if you would like to learn more.  Some of these will appear in the VMworld session I am doing about extending your data center to vCloud Air.

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How To Seed a vCloud Air – Disaster Recovery Replication Without Downtime https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/hybrid-cloud-vmware/how-to-seed-a-vcloud-hybrid-service-disaster-recovery-replication-without-downtime/ https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/hybrid-cloud-vmware/how-to-seed-a-vcloud-hybrid-service-disaster-recovery-replication-without-downtime/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.chriscolotti.us/?p=4079 UPDATED 7/9/2014:  This has been tested and is SUPPORTED by VMware Engineering! I got this question the other day, and decided to just test it out.   The premise seemed sound but I wanted to see if anything would fail in the process of replication using a live cloned copy of the virtual machine in …

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vCloud Air-Powered

UPDATED 7/9/2014:  This has been tested and is SUPPORTED by VMware Engineering!

I got this question the other day, and decided to just test it out.   The premise seemed sound but I wanted to see if anything would fail in the process of replication using a live cloned copy of the virtual machine in question.  Here is why I wanted to do this and I will update if this does become officially supported.

There can be a huge data transfer reduction using data seeding, however there is a trade off.  Data Seeding with vCloud Air-DR is done using vCloud Connector’s copy feature.  This copy process requires that the machine you are moving is powered off in order to copy it.  The process can take some time to run via the internet or even as an ODT (Offline Data Transfer) so the notion of having to power off the machine can be painful.  The idea here was presented by a partner to me and got me thinking was “what if we cloned the machine first while running, then used vCloud Connector to copy it and configured the replication seed from that cloned and copied version?”

NOTE:  You can actually do multi-select for data seeding I updated this post with a screen shot.

In order to fully compare the final results I needed to do a few things for baseline tests for my own education.

  1. Do a full ground up replication to establish an initial sync time
  2. Do a vCloud Connector Copy of the actual machine powered off with a data seed replication to get a sync time.  (This requires copying the machine to a vCloud Air-DR catalog you must create and deploying it to the cloud.)
  3. Live Clone the machine in vCenter with a temporary name, copy it into vCloud Air-DR with the original name, then do a data seed and compare all the results.  (This also still requires copying it to the catalog, then deploying to the cloud.)

Full Ground Up Replication

The real catch here is comparing the results to see if the seeded option works and the data seed sync time is in fact reduced.  On initial sync over the internet it transferred about 14GB of data, the usage of the virtual machine on disk.  It will checksum the entire disk itself which in this case was configured for 50GB, but it will only transfer what is actually in use on disk.  As we know even though you configure 50GB vSphere may not be using all of it yet on disk.

You can see below during the sync there is the full amount of data in the transfer process.  I can compare this in the seeding process as well and you will see that it’s very different.

vCloud Air-DR-checksum

NOTE: The initial sync time in this process took 68 minutes but transferred a total of ~14GB of data.

Traditional vCloud Connector Data Seeding

For this process I needed to shut down the machine, copy it to the vCloud Air Catalog, and deploy it to the cloud so it would appear for use as a seed.  There is a couple of things I noticed in the process

  1. Machines replicated from scratch are given a unique identifier when created, vCC based deployments are up to the user to create the template and vApp name in vCloud Director
  2. The “System” owns the “from scratch” machines and the user that did the deployment from template or vCC copy owns the machine in vCloud Director
  3. Stopping replication does NOT remove the seeded virtual machine from vCloud Air-DR like stopping does on a ground up replication.  it will remain deployed to the cloud and in the catalog until you remove the items, that is if you decide you want to fully remove replication.

What I can say is the amount of data transferred was significantly different.  For this seed it transferred only about 7.32MB of data.  The checksum process still takes time to complete on the entire machines, but there is a significant amount of data transfer reduction over the wire.  You can see this below during the initial sync process.  What this means is the checksum still needs to take place but that plus the small amount of data processed is a reduction in overall initial sync time.

vCloud Air-DR-Seed-checksum

NOTE: The initial sync time in this process took 71 minutes BUT transferred a total of 7.32MB of data.

This process is fully supported as part of the Data Seeding of course.  Although the time to process the checksum was still significant and close to the original the real message is the amount of data transferred was drastically reduced.  Now to examine the live clone with vCloud Connector Data Seeding.

Live vSphere Clone With vCloud Connector Data Seed

As a reminder this is currently unsupported, but I wanted to get it documented as a possibility until I can get some kind of support statement.  At this point the process will be similar to the second one with the exception I did a vSphere live clone of the machine first.  Then I used vCloud Connector to copy the live clone up to vCloud Air-DR and deployed it for use as a seed. option.  The expectation is the resulting initial sync will be similar to the traditional method, the difference is you can export the cloned copies of the machines for use with Offline Data Transfer so you don’t have to take the downtime.  This is currently also being tested for supportability so at this point it’s technically unsupported, but I wanted to see if it worked, that is after all what I have a lab for!  The process is simple and looks like this.

  1. Take a live clone of the VM in vSphere (No customization, do not even power on)
  2. Use VCC to offload the cloned data to vCloud Air-DR (For a real customer and large data this would use ODT)
  3. Deploy the VCC machine imported into template to the cloud for use with seeding (with ODT this would be done for you, for testing you can now deploy from VCC to the cloud as part of the import process and disable any guest customization)
  4. Configure vSR replication to cloud using Data seeding for each Machine cloned/imported
  5. Repeat for each VM that needs a seed
  6. Remove the vSphere clones from disk

Remember for a real use case the data for each machine would be sent to the ODT appliance and sent back to VMware for import into the cloud.  The only thing you really need is enough storage on premises to handle the clones so you might need to do it in batches.  Clone and copy a batch to the appliance, delete the clones, and repeat to save storage.  Either way it’s just a process you need to repeat.  You can see below that the initial sync started the same as the other copy and the data change was even different as the machine had some more data changes between the live clone, the copy, and the start of the replication

vCloud Air-DR-clone-checksum

NOTE: The initial sync time in this process took 65 minutes BUT transferred a total of 617.546MB of data.

This workaround gives you the ability to now seed the replication using Offline Data Transfer without the need to power off the source machine!  I should also point out this works with vCloud Air-DR because vSphere Replication ignores disk uuid values for replications to vCloud Air when using initial copy, only disk count and size is checked.  It only validates them when using initial copies for vCenter-to-vCenter replications.

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How to Configure Multiple Machines For vCloud Air Disaster Recovery Replication https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/how-to-configure-multiple-machines-for-vcloud-hybrid-service-disaster-recovery-replication/ https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/how-to-configure-multiple-machines-for-vcloud-hybrid-service-disaster-recovery-replication/#comments Wed, 18 Jun 2014 14:28:58 +0000 http://www.chriscolotti.us/?p=4066 There is something people have asked as I have done multiple demonstrations of the vCloud Air Disaster Recovery offering is “Can we configure multiple machines for replication?”.  Well, with the help of Akeem Jenkins and some lab testing we found out the answer is actually YES.  To be honest this was not something I was …

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vCloud_Air

There is something people have asked as I have done multiple demonstrations of the vCloud Air Disaster Recovery offering is “Can we configure multiple machines for replication?”.  Well, with the help of Akeem Jenkins and some lab testing we found out the answer is actually YES.  To be honest this was not something I was told would work when the offering went GA, but the cool thing is you can in fact select multiple machines for replication.  Like anything there is some things about it I want to point out.  This assumes you have already setup the correct vSphere Replication 5.6 Appliance for replication to vCloud Air, and you have a vCloud Air Disaster Recovery account.

  1. You need to select machines of the same OS Type.  If you select Windows and Linux for example since Windows supports Guest Quesicing with VSS then Linux machines in the group may fail to configure
  2. All machines will begin replicating at a similar time.  This means you could be trying to push A LOT of data at once if you configure 100 machines all in the same group.  They will stagger slightly based on when they finish their configuration steps, but you need to consider this for the initial sync
  3. Each machine you configure will be setup with the same RPO since you will only select that once.  You can adjust them individually by changing the settings after.
  4. You can use vSphere Tags to group machines based on RPO, OS type, or other logical groupings.  Once tagged you can then sort by the tags to configure the replication

So How do You Do It?

Well it’s surprisingly simple actually.  Just highlight the group you want and right click to select ‘Configure Replication’ vCloud Air-DR-Multi-Select You will see a validation check vCloud Air-DR-Multi-Select-validate Continue configuring with the normal options to a Cloud Provider and when complete you will se all selected machines in the task pane configuring vCloud Air-DR-Multi-Select-configure You can also use the multi select to stop replication on multiple machines at once, however you can see the options for fail over and test are not available when you multi select, only re-configure, stop, and pause.  You can always however use the vCloud Air API extensions and scripting to call the failover option on multiple machines. vCloud Air-DR-Multi-Select-update

UPDATED 6/24/2014:

I did try to multi select and configure for Data Seeding and it also appears to work!  You get a side by side selection process to choose and match the source to the destination seed.  However, the same things originally apply such as they will all use the same RPO.

vCloud Air-DR-Multi-Select-Seed

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vExpert Access to vCloud Air Re-Launched! https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/vexpert-access-vcloud-hybrid-service-re-launched/ https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/vexpert-access-vcloud-hybrid-service-re-launched/#comments Fri, 02 May 2014 16:12:38 +0000 http://www.chriscolotti.us/?p=3982 Well, I mentioned this was coming and thanks to Jeramiah Dooley offering to help out, we finally made it happen!  We’ve setup a process and a plan for vExperts to get access on a rolling basis to vCloud Air.  There is a lot of details so instead of repeating them, I will give you the …

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vCloud Air-Powered

Well, I mentioned this was coming and thanks to Jeramiah Dooley offering to help out, we finally made it happen!  We’ve setup a process and a plan for vExperts to get access on a rolling basis to vCloud Air.  There is a lot of details so instead of repeating them, I will give you the pointers to the community links for the main items you need to read.

The main thing I will point out that is also stated in the Program Guide is this will only ever be for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).  VMware is absorbing the cost of these VPC’s and tenant for you so we are not able to add all the other services like Disaster Recovery or Data Protection.  This is just for folks to get hands on with the vCloud Air setup, interface, Firewall rules, networking, and other aspects.  You should get a lot out of this in 30 days for sure.

Also due to Role Based Access you will notice in the documentation that some things will not work like vCAC due to the current level of permissions it requires.  We elected to “protect folks from themselves” and keep the integrity of the environment by only allowing selected administrators full rights.  Today vCAC requires all administrator permissions in vCloud Air to work, so as you can imagine we did not want that for everyone.  However, many of the other API’s should work with other tools.

Lastly you are “On Your Own”.  You are all smart people and you thrive on figuring things out.  I don’t have the cycles to help people get things going and setup, so if you need help check out the vCloud Air Tutorials first and go from there.  Ask your fellow people as well if you get stuck, but I guess I am bluntly saying….go forth and prosper.

VMW-LOGO-vEXPERT-2014-k

 

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EMC World 2014 Las Vegas https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/emc-world-2014-las-vegas/ https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/emc-world-2014-las-vegas/#respond Wed, 30 Apr 2014 18:44:51 +0000 http://www.chriscolotti.us/?p=3966 Funny as it sounds to me I have never presented at EMC World before.  I’m pretty excited about my first time as either a presenter or an attendee.  What makes this one cool for me because I will be presenting on all the new Recover As A Service (RaaS) components of vCloud Air, namely the …

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EMC_World

Funny as it sounds to me I have never presented at EMC World before.  I’m pretty excited about my first time as either a presenter or an attendee.  What makes this one cool for me because I will be presenting on all the new Recover As A Service (RaaS) components of vCloud Air, namely the Disaster Recovery offering.  I’ve done a video series on this offering already located at vcloud.vmware.com/tutorials, but I will be on hand for two sessions.

Date/Time Session Title Presenters
Tuesday 6th12:00 Recovery as a Service with VMware vCloud Air Chris Colotti and David Hill
Thursday 8th11:30 Recovery as a Service with VMware vCloud Air Chris Colotti and David Hill

Here is the outline for the session just to tease you a little bit as well.

  • vCloud Air – Disaster Recovery Overview (Chris Colotti)
  • Architecture (Chris Colotti)
  • Setup and Configuration (Chris Colotti)
  • Considerations (Chris Colotti)
  • Automation Options (Chris Colotti)
  • vCloud Air – Data Protection Overview (David Hill)
  • Architecture (David Hill)
  • Configuration and Usability (David Hill)

Hopefully I will see you there in Las Vegas at the Venetian and please sign up for this session and come see me at the booth expert bar!

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vCloud Air Disaster Recovery Sizing Considerations https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/vcloud-hybrid-service-disaster-recovery-sizing-considerations/ https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/vcloud-hybrid-service-disaster-recovery-sizing-considerations/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:01:06 +0000 http://www.chriscolotti.us/?p=3949 I’ve already fielded a number of questions on this topic and I want to start by saying this is not an “Official” recommendation hence why I am posting on my personal blog since this is more about considerations than actual calculations.  The trick with anything like this is running the risk of people taking what …

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vCloud Air-Powered

I’ve already fielded a number of questions on this topic and I want to start by saying this is not an “Official” recommendation hence why I am posting on my personal blog since this is more about considerations than actual calculations.  The trick with anything like this is running the risk of people taking what you say as gospel, and this is just intended to help get you thinking.  First we need to understand the way the service is configured and we need to all remember  how vSphere works.  I will not go into all those details you will need to read about them elsewhere on this blog.

Performance vs. Being “Up and Running”

What I mean by this is many people sometimes mistake the need to be up and running in a disaster event for also running at production performance.  I think this is an important distinction for people.  Most folks that understand DR realize that when you have an event, you are just trying to get back online, not always back online at the same scale you were before.  There may be exceptions to this rule of course as there always is.  However, from my field experience, most people just want to get systems running so they can still conduct business.  If things are “slower” that’s acceptable.   Let’s not forget the human factor involved as well.  What I mean is frankly you may not be one of the people to even work on the failover.  You could be trapped at home, or part of the disaster….I’m just saying.

vCloud Air-DR Allocation Model

The 1.0 release of vCloud Air Disaster Recovery is using the Allocation Pool Model in vCloud Director.  This really does not mean anything to you as a user, except how a couple of key settings are configured.  What I mean by this is how the vSphere resources are configured based on the vCD settings.  If you want to know what these mean you can reference the previous link or read up on vCloud Director Allocation Models in general.  For this service the compute is allocated in the following manner.

  • 10Ghz CPU
  • 20GB Memory

Calculating Compute Resources

The way I have described to people the best order to size the vCloud Air Disaster Recovery offering in my opinion is in the following order.

  1. Storage
  2. Memory
  3. CPU

For the purposes of keeping it simple I am leaving off bandwidth so we can focus on getting the machines running post event declaration.  Storage is the easy start because you need to make sure you simply have enough storage to host all the placeholders on disk initially.  That’s easy math to figure out based on your machine configurations.

Storage NOTE:  Be sure to account for VSWAP storage using your machines memory configuration.  Purchase enough to host them powered off AND powered on when VSWAP is created.  If you are too tight on size you might miss when you go to power them on.

Memory

Like the standard Virtual Private Cloud offering this becomes extremely easy.  Basically you can run whatever machines will fit in the memory you have purchased.  So if you got a basic SKU with 20GB or RAM, divide that by the configured memory of the machines you want to failover.  If the total configured is more than 20GB, you will need to purchase an add-on.  You simply get the right number of add-on’s to cover the configured memory of the machines you are replicating.

CPU

CPU to me is always last.  Why?  Well because most applications are not CPU constrained.  Also think about how you add capacity in vCloud Air.  When you add 20GB of Memory you also add 10GHz more CPU.  So if you are focussing on memory first, your CPU capacity will naturally increase.  You should in most cases have plenty of CPU but there may be exceptions out there.

It’s not Rocket Science, But…

The bottom line is you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure this out.  You just need a decent understanding of how things work both in vCloud Air and vSphere.  You also just need a bit of common sense sprinkled in to make sure your on the right track.  All of this being said there is a VMware Fling for sizing that may help with the vSphere Replication component, but as always flings have limited support and that appliance is really only to help with the replication side of things.  It will not help you calculate the compute and memory aspect of how much capacity you need to support your machines for a disaster event.

Lastly always remember why you are doing Disaster Recovery and set your expectations of performance vs availability and be sure to document which you are targeting with your plans.  I’d argue most people are more interested in having applications back online even if they are running a bit slower, again, with some exceptions.

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7 Things To Know About vCloud Air Disaster Recovery https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/5-things-to-know-about-vcloud-hybrid-service-disaster-recovery/ https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/5-things-to-know-about-vcloud-hybrid-service-disaster-recovery/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 12:52:45 +0000 http://www.chriscolotti.us/?p=3933 Well, there you have it vCloud Air Disaster Recovery is now generally available!  I’ve been working behind the scenes on this for some time since before it was in Beta, and I’m proud to say I have been part of this launch.  I plan on continuing to record some more videos and writing blog posts …

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vCloud_Air

Well, there you have it vCloud Air Disaster Recovery is now generally available!  I’ve been working behind the scenes on this for some time since before it was in Beta, and I’m proud to say I have been part of this launch.  I plan on continuing to record some more videos and writing blog posts as well as speaking on the topic over the next few months.  I bet you cannot guess what my key VMworld session submission will be about can you?  I did want to take a couple minutes just to talk about 5 things I think people should know right off the bat.  Before you go further just remember that this new offering is specific to allowing vSphere based machines the ability to replicated to vCloud Air for Disaster Recovery.

DRaaS

What is Being Used to Replicate Machines?

The easy answer is that vSphere Replication is being used.  However, it is a modified version from the 5.5 release that adds some new underlying components.  This means if you go to download vSphere Replication you will see two versions.  Version 5.5 is for use with Site Recovery Manager, and 5.6 is for use with vCloud Air Disaster Recovery.  You will know if you got the right one if you have the ability to configure and replicate to a cloud provider.

How Many Machines Can I replicate To vCloud Air-DR?

Well, I have had requests for 20 to 1500.  The fact of the matter is that there is a 500 machine limit to any single vCenter/vSphere Replication pair.  That means if you have more than 500 machines, you will need to separate them into multiple pairs of servers and also procure another vCloud Air-DR virtual data center.  The reason is your cloud based tenant will also only have a single vSphere Replication Server for you as a tenant also good for 500 machines on the cloud side.  You can scale as you need to and that’s the good thing!

Are There vCloud Air-DR API’s?

Yes!  There are some extensions for vCloud Air Disaster Recovery for the main things you’d want to do without vCenter.  Mainly, Failover, Stop Replication, and Test Failover.  Beyond these the other standard vCloud API’s would be used to automate a workflow.  Things like powering on a machine, changing networks, editing the virtual machine hardware are all done through the existing vCloud API’s.  The Disaster Recovery API’s are specific to to the functions related to Disaster Recovery in the cloud.  There is not currently any API for the on premises side to create and edit a replication through vSphere Replication.  That’s because previously vSR has never had a need for API.

Is Replication encrypted?

YES!  The data is encrypted in flight from on premises to the vCloud Air side.  The traffic is also passed using a vCloud Proxy service on the vCloud Director cells so you are still processing data through a single API endpoint.  This makes it a very simple setup for you to set up the appliance and get connected to the service once you’ve purchased a subscription.

Is It Easy To Use?

Hellz yeah it is.  It’s one virtual appliance to download and import into vCenter.  From there you connect to your cloud and decide which machines to start replicating.  It goes without saying that you still need to develop a failover run book like you would with any solution.  From there you can think about where and how you may want to automate things.  I have presented and will present a few slides on where some of the integration points are for a simple run book.  The bottom line is it’s easy to deploy and get setup and start replication machines to vCloud Air.

How is On Premises Connected to the vCloud Air-DR Side

Actually they are not “Connected” in the sense of a VPN unless you elect for the Direct Connect capability.  What I mean is by default the replication is per machine using random ports and an encrypted channel to send the data changes to vCloud Air.  There is no permanent connection to your site unless you use Direct Connect.  That being said, even in that case once you have a DR event the assumption is the on prem side is gone so the direct connect link has no access back to your original data center.

How Do I Handle Networking Changes

That depends actually.  If the machines being failed over are public facing you can assign new vCloud Air public IP’s to them and update your external DNS, with a low TTL of course.  That’s standard procedure for moving web-based applications for most people.  I will be doing a video on this actually in the coming weeks.  For internal only machines, if they are now in the cloud they need access to Active Directory and other services that may reside in another site that was not part of the DR event.  I am covering that in another blog post later this week on vcloud.vmware.com, but the bottom line is you have to create your run book to contend for IP changes for the machine in the new site.  This is also pretty standard for a disaster recovery run book.

Be sure to check out all the tutorial videos I recorded as well to see it in action!

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Common vCloud Air Questions https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/common-vcloud-hybrid-service-questions/ https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/common-vcloud-hybrid-service-questions/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2014 16:59:54 +0000 http://www.chriscolotti.us/?p=3906 Every day I see an email thread or 10 about questions related to various aspects about vCloud Air.  Primarily it has to do with what a user has access to within the service.  I figured I’d do a quick personal blog post to address some of this.  I know where some of these things come …

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vCloud Air-Powered

Every day I see an email thread or 10 about questions related to various aspects about vCloud Air.  Primarily it has to do with what a user has access to within the service.  I figured I’d do a quick personal blog post to address some of this.  I know where some of these things come from because I was a customer previously so the thought process for many of these is from the vSphere Administrator view of the world.  These are in no particular order, they are just a few of the things I have seen asked a few times.

Can I access the vCenter Running vCloud Air?

Easy answer….no.  This is considered part of the provider controlled management stack.  In a Virtual Private Cloud, which is shared, imagine if multiple tenants all had vCenter access, it just does not work.  There is the argument in a dedicated cloud that only you are the tenant, but even for the “protect the user from themselves” aspect we still do not allow it.  This means only the vCloud Air operations team has access to make changes, but as we all know, when running vCloud Director….you don’t want people in vCenter.

Can I use 3rd Party Software in vCloud Air?

The answer is….it depends.  If it is a stand alone virtual appliance, then sure.  It it uses the vCloud API’s….also no problem.  If it requires vCenter Access, refer to the first question.  Anything that needs direct vCenter access will not work since you don’t have visibility or access to it.  I will point out this is no different in most any vCloud based provider, we all control access to that vCenter below the covers.

Can I use Anti-Affinity Rules?

This is actually a common question and today vCloud Director does not support exposing that within itself or the vCloud API’s.  Therefore the function only exists in vCenter, so again refer to Question #1.

Can I Install Horizon View?

Most people use Composer which, again, needs vCenter access.  I have installed very basic desktops and manually managed them with just a connection server and security server, but it’s not ideal.  This is why we saw this week the announcement around Desktop As A Service that is running on top of vCloud Air.  It’s deployment leverages other means to manage those desktops and vCloud Air is just the Infrastructure running the workloads.

Can I Use My Own Storage via Direct Connect?

When connected with Direct Connect or Cross connect, you are able to access network based storage that is not delivered as a part of vCloud Air. This means NFS or iSCSI, but only manually configured from within the guest itself.  It would not appear as a managed object of the service. It’s not possible to mount customer iSCSI storage directly to physical hosts as VMFS or NFS volumes, even in the case of Dedicated Cloud because we don’t allow access to the hosts.  Simply put, all storage must be accessible at the guest level once connected via direct connect or cross connect.

Can I Do Nested ESXi?

This is a tricky one.  Technical you can install ESXi in vCloud Air, but the catch is any virtual machines running on the nested hosts will not have network access.  This is because you generally need promiscuous mode enabled, and that’s not setup on a hosted style environment for security reasons.  Also it is also not a use case supported by GSS.  So you can mess around with it just understand not everything might work and you won’t be able to get support help on it as a supported guest operating system.

Can I get Special Permission to do ‘Stuff’ Outside of the Standard Offerings?

Ultimately, it’s a service that is standardized for all consumers.  I see requests every day for 1-off type requests and most times they go in as a feature request if it makes sense on a large scale.  Product Management and Engineering prioritize it so it can be evaluated and possibly “Productized” for everyone’s benefit.  Many things you see in the service today came out of such requests.  That being said, generally things to be done custom for one tenant as a 1-off I don’t see happen until it becomes “productized”

Anymore Questions?

I think you see where I am going here, but instead let’s focus on the fact there is a lot you CAN do with vCloud Air, as I have shown many times, so get out of your own head about what you think you cannot do.  The thing you have to remember is you are a tenant.  You don’t own the infrastructure or architecture in any public cloud provider.  It’s not Co-Location where you still own the hardware assets and can do whatever you want within your cage.  You have to think like a consumer of a service, but there is a very long list of the things you can do if you can just let go of the fact you don’t have system or administrator level access to the management stack.

Picture it this way.  You are building a private cloud on premises.  You certainly would not let the users log right into vCenter I hope.  You’d use vCloud Automation Center, or something else to front end your cloud.  You would be doing the same thing a public provider is doing to protect your infrastructure and provide the resources the users need.  You can still treat vCloud Air as another data center in your network, and direct workloads to it, and leverage the compute and storage VMware is managing for you under an SLA.

The bottom line is you just have to think differently, and think outside the box on how you can truly leverage a VMware based public cloud, get the applications you want moved easily, and trust the infrastructure it is built on.  To do that you just need to stop thinking like an administrator and start thinking like an Architect.

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vCloud Air Native Installer in vCenter https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/vcloud-hybrid-service-native-installer-vcenter/ https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/vcloud-hybrid-service-native-installer-vcenter/#respond Wed, 12 Mar 2014 14:51:40 +0000 http://www.chriscolotti.us/?p=3912 Most people noticed that Update 1 for vCloud Suite was released.  However there is one small addition I’d like to point out to those that have not manually installed already and that is the vCloud Air Plugin.  As of vCenter 5.5 Update 1 the installer is now available in the vSphere web client.  However, I …

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vCloud Air-Powered

Most people noticed that Update 1 for vCloud Suite was released.  However there is one small addition I’d like to point out to those that have not manually installed already and that is the vCloud Air Plugin.  As of vCenter 5.5 Update 1 the installer is now available in the vSphere web client.  However, I noticed as someone who manually installed the 1.0 release you do get a few messages you need to contend with to get 1.0.1 installed to track future updates.

The first thing I noticed is after the vCenter upgrade, there were two vCloud Air icons as you can see below:

vchs_plugin_dual

Obviously I did not do anything yet but upgrade vCenter.  When I clicked on the installer I got the following message:

vchs_plugin_remove

In order to install the 1.0.1 version, which also notifies of new updates you must remove the original manually installed 1.0 version.  You can either do this BEFORE you upgrade vCenter, which might make more sense, or afterwards.  In hindsight, knowing this I would simply do it before the upgrade of vCenter so you don’t need additional web client restarts.  The procedure is documented in This Article from the message above and is pretty easy to manage.  If you simply do it before your upgrade, when vCenter is finished rebooting you will simply see the installer icon.

vchs_plugin_installer

From there it’s pretty easy to install and you will need to log out and log back in once the installation completes.

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Building the Foundation of a vCloud Air Lab https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/building-the-foundation-of-a-vcloud-hybrid-service-lab/ https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/building-the-foundation-of-a-vcloud-hybrid-service-lab/#respond Wed, 26 Feb 2014 20:10:25 +0000 http://www.chriscolotti.us/?p=3878 Before Partner Exchange 2014 I was spending a lot of time building out a vSphere “On Premises” lab in Washington.  The reason for this is the Technical Marketing Team wanted to be able to build and document use cases for the use of vCloud Air and everything you can do with it.  I plan on …

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Before Partner Exchange 2014 I was spending a lot of time building out a vSphere “On Premises” lab in Washington.  The reason for this is the Technical Marketing Team wanted to be able to build and document use cases for the use of vCloud Air and everything you can do with it.  I plan on doing a more extensive set of posts explaining the overall setup, but I wanted to highlight some of the things we setup and show a high level logical diagram of the Hybrid Networking Connectivity.  I am working on the “double-Click” versions of the first diagram to dig into the each region.

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What Exactly Is It That You Do? https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/what-exactly-is-it-that-you-do/ https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/what-exactly-is-it-that-you-do/#respond Mon, 27 Jan 2014 16:22:11 +0000 http://www.chriscolotti.us/?p=3789 I just got one of the most interesting questions that I think I can honestly say I have had in over six years with VMware.  It started as a FaceBook message exchange that in the end made me realize that if one person is asking….there must be others.  So in true blog form, if one …

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Bobs

I just got one of the most interesting questions that I think I can honestly say I have had in over six years with VMware.  It started as a FaceBook message exchange that in the end made me realize that if one person is asking….there must be others.  So in true blog form, if one person does not know, blog it so others can learn something.  Here’s just a quick view of the exchange that started me thinking about how to explain this better.

“What is it you do for vCloud Air”
“I’m Technical Marketing part of the BU”
“I get that, but you don’t add any value to closing the sale hence you are an overhead???
“My job is to enable the field and the customers on the technical things they can do with vCloud Air…..I also spend a lot of time at VMUG’s and customer facing events.  Technical Marketing creates much of the demos, field facing collateral and Use Case Solution Briefs”
“Really, X, Y, and Z do that?”

I might admit, at first I was a little offended.  I will also point out the person I had this exchange with was actually trying to explain it to other people who were asking him about me personally.  I was not upset that people did not know what I have been doing for the last six months, but more along the lines of the simple missing communication overall about various roles and responsibilities.  Call it a missing job description or something else, but typically in any organization you see multiple people doing the same tasks.  Not because it’s their jobs, but because they all feel they can do it faster, better, or with more detail.

At the end of the day I will take a stab at explaining what my role personally is in Technical Marketing for vCloud Air.  This is just my view of the world, not something official, but based on my last few months and the things I have been working on and asked to work on going forward.  Specifically the vCloud Air components I cover are:

  • Compute
  • Networking
  • Availability Services
    • DRaas DR2C

The following areas are the things I am responsible for working on as they relate to those components above:

  • Enterprise IT Customer Persona
  • Enablement Activities
    • VMworld Session development, review and presentation
    • PEX Session development, review and presentation
    • Partner Trainings (VMLive)
    • Recorded sessions via On24
  • Use case and solution brief development
  • Product launch collateral based on agreed upon BOM’s
    • Blog posts
    • Use cases
    • Videos
    • How To’s
  • Community Facing Activities
    • VMUG
    • VTUG
    • Brown Bags
    • Social Media
  • Sales Support
    • Escalation point as needed
    • Customer Calls as needed

I think that about covers what my personal areas of coverage are.  Granted there are some that may read this and say, “That’s also what I do.”  That’s fine with me, all I know is the above is what I was hired and brought into the Business Unit to handle.  The other three Technical Marketing Managers have similar tasks, but varying components of the service they cover.  We each have specific views of the world as well for writing this content.

Now, that I have that documented, I need to get back to these three PEX sessions that need to be completed by the end of the week.

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Some vExperts Have vCloud Air Access https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/some-vexperts-have-vcloud-hybrid-service-access/ https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/some-vexperts-have-vcloud-hybrid-service-access/#comments Mon, 27 Jan 2014 14:30:45 +0000 http://www.chriscolotti.us/?p=3764 Earlier today I tweeted about how some vExperts have access to vCloud Air to test and blog about the offering. ATTN #vExpert people. Did you know there is vExpert access to vCHS? Work with @jtroyer @JennyAtVMware and I to find out more. — Chris Colotti (@ccolotti) January 26, 2014 This is not actually a new …

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vCloud Air-Powered

Earlier today I tweeted about how some vExperts have access to vCloud Air to test and blog about the offering.

This is not actually a new thing, it’s been in place since before vCloud Air went generally available.  However, that being said the same people have had access to it for some time since it went GA.  The intent of my tweet was not to completely open the flood gates for interest….although it did.  The fact of the matter is there is a vCloud Air tenant reserved for vExperts to experiment and blog about the offering using Virtual Private Cloud, (VPC).  The challenge is that we need to put a system in place to rotate out the current people to allow access for new people.Here is something I want to propose and take back to some other folks internally about using this as a program.  This is just my thoughts, but comment as you see fit and socialize this for more ideas.

  • Run program Quarterly, you get access for one quarter
  • Limit the number of vExperts per quarter, number TBD
  • Access request form to be filled out in prior quarter
  • Access requests reviewed by the VMware team
  • Previous people who had access cannot re-request for at least 6 months to give others a chance
  • You must commit to use the system and write about your experiences
  • Users that do not use the system within the first month will be swapped out
  • Previous users workloads will be deleted
  • All workloads are considered temporary and transient

This is just some ideas I had to try to put something “official” in place for all the vExperts out there that want to get hands on with vCloud Air.  So, what do you think?  What else can we do to control the access and the availability to people on a fair, round robin basis?  My thought is that we come up with the system now and we can possibly try to get new people going the start of Q2 2014.  Again, this is just an IDEA I am willing to try to facilitate, NOT a guarantee.

Please start a discussion below so others can see the opinions instead of just on twitter.

UPDATED 1/27/13:  Many folks that also work for partners have reached out to me and mentioned that the partner they work for also has access.  If you work for a partner, many of them have fired up paid Virtual Private Clouds, and in some cases full Dedicated Clouds for more permanent uses.  I’d encourage those that work for partners to look at that route so you are not rotated out of the transient space.  I may not have time to really dig into this until after PEX but I am also roping in Jeremiah Dooley to help herd the cats.  Let’s walk before we run and make sure we put a good system in place that uses the space we have.  Currently the people who have access have either never used it, or are done using it, so let’s work together for a good plan.

 

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What’s vCloud Air vCloud Connector Node Address https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/whats-the-vchs-vcloud-connector-node-address/ https://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/whats-the-vchs-vcloud-connector-node-address/#comments Fri, 10 Jan 2014 21:57:26 +0000 http://www.chriscolotti.us/?p=3734 There has been a bit of confusion on this very simple question, and I think I have answered this question about 50 times in various places internally and externally.  Simply put when you get a vCloud Air Account, you already have access to a vCloud Connector Node on the vCloud Air side.  You only need …

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There has been a bit of confusion on this very simple question, and I think I have answered this question about 50 times in various places internally and externally.  Simply put when you get a vCloud Air Account, you already have access to a vCloud Connector Node on the vCloud Air side.  You only need to deploy the vCloud Connector Server and Node on premises and register the vCloud Air node in your vCloud Connector Server.

That being said there are various vCloud Connector Nodes.  They are deployed anytime a new vCloud Director is deployed within vCloud Air.  This means many people can all have different vCloud Connector Node addresses.  It will vary by region, Dedicated Cloud, and Virtual Private Cloud.  The good news is it is VERY easy to know what your vCloud Connector Node address is on the vCloud Air side.

Simply log into your account, chose the Virtual Data Center you want and select “vCloud Director API URL” on the right side.  The vCloud Director API and the vCC node actually share the same IP address, they simply use different ports.

vcloud_api_url

 

The ONLY part of this you need is the http://pXXXX.-vcd.vmware.com.  However, the PORT you will use for the vCloud Connector Node to register is NOT 443, it’s 8443.  The vCloud Director Server and the vCloud Connector Node when deployed are using the same public IP address, but splitting duty on that IP address by Port number.  So when you register in vCloud Connector Server you should use: http://pXXXX.-vcd.vmware.com:8443 as you can see from my vCloud Connector Server settings.

vcc_server_node_setting

If you have a Dedicated Cloud with multiple Virtual Data Centers this will be the same for ALL of them.  If you have multiple Clouds with multiple regions you will want to get them all.  You will need the section after /org to enter into the credentials section.

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