How to create an Elastic vDC in VMware vCloud director

Something that was slipped into vCloud 1.5 that did not get much press was the idea on an elastic vDC. This gives the ability to add extra capacity to the underlying provider vDC in vCloud. If you have worked with vCloud before you might be saying wait I could always do this by expanding the size of my cluster or pool that was providing the resources. And this was certainly one option for adding more capacity. But what if you had larger clusters that could not be expanded or if you were using linked clones (Fast Provisioning) and you reached the 8 host maximum for your cluster. You would have to create a new provider vDC and present this capacity as a new Org vDC to your cloud consumer.

The idea of an elastic vDC allows you to add another resource pool to a provider vDC which in turn presents this capacity up to the Org vDC. Now today this option is only available for Org vDCs that are setup for the Pay as You Go allocation model. What it allows you to do is add in the resources from additional vCenter resource pools to a provider vDC. Thus allowing you to grow the resources that are presented up to any Org vDCs using the proper allocation model.

You can see from the image at the bottom of this post that the first resource pool presented is marked as the primary and is what would be used to provide resources to Org vDCs that are using the Allocated or Reserved allocation models.

To add another resource pool you must navigate to the provider vDC that you wish to add the resources to and select the resource pool tab. Then simple click the green plus icon to add the resources by selecting from the vCenter that you choose. Below is a summary of the VMware KB that describes the features and limitations as they stand today.

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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How to upgrade vCloud VCD appliance to 1.5.1

I’ve been waiting a couple of weeks for the updated vCloud (VCD) appliance to be released. Not sure if its out yet, but after getting tired of waiting. I just decided to update the VCD appliance myself. But after some googling I noticed that no one had written anything about upgrading the appliance. There are some excellent articles by Chris Collotti about how to upgrade vCloud in a production install. So after feeling adventurous I took the leap and upgraded. If you need to upgrade your vShield manager also I have a post on there process also.

First step was to take a snapshot of the VCD appliance for a temp backup in case things went terribly wrong. So I shutdown the appliance and took the snapshot.

Step 1: Download upgrade .bin file and copy to VCD appliance

Step 2: Log into the console of the VCD appliance as root

Step 3: You should shutdown the VCD services before upgrading. See notes from VMware KB also listed below.

To gracefully shut down a cell in vCD 1.5.x:

  1. Log in to the target cell as root.
  2. Navigate to $VCLOUD_HOME/bin/ (typically /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/bin/).
  3. Suspend the scheduler by running this command:cell-management-tool -u username -p password cell -q true
  4. View the tasks that are running using this command:cell-management-tool -u username -p password cell -t
  5. When the task count reaches zero, shut down the cell by running this command:cell-management-tool -u username -p password cell -s

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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Strange network behavior on VM imported into VMware vCloud Director

While doing some lab work for a vCloud private cloud design, I noticed a strange behavior  on virtual machines that are imported into vCloud from vCenter. Not something that I had noticed in past for some reason, but it really struck me as odd for the tests that I was trying to work on.

What I found was that when importing a VM from vCenter into one of the organizations in my lab cloud, was that the vNic on the VM was still attached to the vSphere port group. Now this really should not be possible as vCloud is suppose to abstract this from your view in the cloud. How I came to notice it was when I tried to set it to obtain an IP from the pool that was configured for the external network attached to my Org network that I thought I was using. It kept returning the error that no IPs were available in the pool, which I knew was wrong because I had checked it several times. What tripped me up was I used a similar name for my vCloud network as my port group so it did not sink in right away.

What the error was really trying to explain was that the vSphere port group on the host did not have an IP pool configured and could not give the VM an IP. This all struck me as very weird because I expected vCloud to assign the vNic to a valid network within my Org much like it handles the placement of VMDK files for storage when importing.

So the fix was to edit the virtual machine within vCloud and under the network drop down I was able to add in an Org network that already existed. Which was more confusing than it needed to be, because it makes you think you are adding a new network rather then just attaching one. I have included an example below.

Example:

The image below shows the network settings shown when editing the VM. I added in the Public-org network from vCloud afterwards, you can also see the different icons next to the networks listed.

In the next image I am showing the external networks that are setup within vCD. These are mapped directly to vSphere port groups shown in the far right column. The red box is around the “VM Network” port group that exists in vSphere but was clearly still attached to the imported VM.

 

 

 

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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A few suggestions for VMware to make vCloud Director better

I’ve been building a list over time of things that have frustrated me about vCloud Director (vCD) or items that I thought would make it better. I’ve been writing this post for awhile and a couple of recent projects brought up some new items and made me realize its time to publish this. I am in no way bashing VMware or vCD by creating this post. I think vCD is a great product and for customers that can take advantage of its features should be looking at deploying it. I am simply trying to suggest improvements and communicate feedback from customers. My goal is to see vCD grow into the best product possible and dominate the cloud market. I also realize that most cloud platforms are pretty immature and that vCD is just a revision 1.5 product so it will improve over time.

But I see VMware pouring a ton of resources and pushing development of VMware View pretty fast over the last 18 months and would also like to see that same type of aggressive development on vCloud Director.

1. Support for Multi-site vCD deployments – What I am hearing is customers want to manage their private cloud from one portal. So for example an Organization within vCD could have several Org vDCs that represent geographically dispersed data centers. No need to vMotion or move workloads around just be able to provision from one portal and manage vApps from a single portal. What might be a good step here is separate vCD deployments that can work in Linked mode much like vCenter can today.

2. Further integrate vCenter Orchestrator with vCD – This one is a big one for me and heavily requested by customers. What this means is when deploying a vApp there should be an easy way to kick off an orchestrator workflow as part of the provisioning process. This is needed to achieve a lot of the orchestration that customers are looking for. I know there are things you can do today with AMPQ, but I’m talking about real integration that much like other products offer today.

3. Edit OS disk size – this is not a huge one but the ability to edit the size of the OS disk would be good. If using Linked Clones I know your going to be limited but if customers are not using fast provision then this would be helpful.

4. Better looking customer portal – This is something that I hear often from clients. Sure the portals are functional but they are still very infrastructure looking and not all that friendly to end users. Clients are looking for something more Web page looking and easy to understand. I as a techie person can find my way around with ease but I’m used to working with this kind of stuff. The Amazon AWS portal is nothing sexy but its link based and pretty easy to understand for new users.

5. Ability to allow disks of a vApp on different datastores and storage Tiers – This is also a big one for me and customers. A good example for this would be an SQL server, the common config would place the OS, temp DB, logs and DB on different disks. These disks could be on different datastores and also be on different Tiers of storage. Currently VMware recommends not mixing tiers of storage within a provider vDC. This is because you cannot control which datastore a vApp will get deployed on and performance could vary based on where the vApp landed. So I have a couple of ideas that might help with this. First one is when deploying the vApp have an option to automatically place the disks for you much like today, but if you unchecked the auto option the user would have the ability to manually select the datastores for each disk in the vApp. The second option would be to use Profile Driven storage options new to vSphere 5 for each datastore within the provider vDC, and when importing the vApp you could assign a storage profile for each disk of the vApp and this would be followed when deploying new vApps from this template. Typically when people want to offer self service deployment they are trying to make the process easy with few decisions, but they still want to offer the ability to do advanced configs.

6. Integrate vShield App with vCloud – This is of medium importance but growing fast. What I mean here is from the organization portals the users should have the ability to config vShield app security groups and firewall rules for the groups. This way after deploying a vApp they could secure it and open the proper ports. This is something that is possible in Amazon today and customer are looking for this. I would say that companies deploying private clouds are not that interested in this but service providers and customers that have servers that are internet connected want this ability. Today there is similar function like this possible for the limited version of vShield Edge that’s bundled with vCD so I don’t think this is out of line.

 

I will be adding to this list as I think of more items or as things come up during discussions with customers. I would also like to encourage others to leave suggestions in the comments or reach out to me with them and I will add them to the list. Hopefully VMware is hard at work on some or all of these items and we will see them soon in future releases.

I tossed in a couple of funny pictures for motivation, now get coding.

 

 

 

 

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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VMware Provider Partner is looking for vCloud Director beta testers

Yesterday I was contacted by StratoGen a VMware Provider partner that is preparing a vCloud offering and is looking for some users that can help them with Beta testing their offering. You can read details of the request below and the link to sign up and read further details.

StratoGen are seeking experienced VMware users to join the StratoGen vCloud Beta Program which is based on VMware vCloud Director.

Beta testing is a crucial element in the cycle of our product releases, and we work closely with the VMware community to ensure our products are the best they can be.  vCloud Director is a powerful but complex product and as such we are seeking experienced users to provide informed feedback on our product offering.

By participating in the program you will be provided with resources on our enterprise platform enabling you to build, deploy and manage virtual machines, vApps and networks using the StratoGen vCloud Director portal. You will be contacted on a periodic basis for feedback.

StratoGen is a leading VMware Service Provider Partner (VSPP) with an extensive cloud hosting platform based in London, UK.

If you would like to take part in the program please register at http://www.stratogen.net/products/vmware-hosting-vcloud.html

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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