vCloud Hybrid Service walkthrough demo vCHS

So if you are reading this you are probably interested in learning more about VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Server or vCHS. By the time you finish this I hope that you will be familiar with the basic operation of vCHS and what the user interface experience is like.

Enough with the small talk and promises lets get down to business and see what this vCHS offering looks like.  To access the vCHS portal to manage your environment you simple head over to https://vchs.vmware.com and enter in the credentials that were sent to you when you purchased your capacity.

vchs-login-screen

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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External IP list not showing in vCloud VM list view

I spent a few days with a customer this week and we noticed the following strange behavior. I built a multi-VM vApp to be able to deploy their application which consisted of 6 VMs. This vApp will allow them to deploy multiple copies of the app for testing and training. To make sure the application performs properly we needed to use consistent IPs on the VMs within the vApp. So I set static IPs and I configured the vApp to be fenced. This way when people deploy the vApp it will be protected by a vShield Edge device using NAT to hide the static IPs within the vApp.

Now onto what we noticed. Once the vApp deploys the IP addresses of the VM should show up as the static ones defined. Then each VM should also be assigned a NAT address which shows up in the External IP column in vCloud. You can see from the screen shot below. The view shown below is when I clicked on the vApp and then clicked onto he Virtual Machine tab to list all the VMs contained in the vApp. This view shows all of the IP address properly.

vApp-list

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 needs to integrate Orchestrator into vCloud Director more to improve Cloud automation

In working on several Cloud related projects one of the items that sticks out to me is the need for deeper automation within the vCloud Director product. I understand this is still just version 1.5, but with how hard VMware is pushing the “Your Cloud” journey. I think that some parts are just not ready for what some companies need to do in the way of automation.

If self-service is suppose to be such a big part of Cloud, then the need for automation is going to play a big part. Not everything can be accomplished from creating templates and using customization to change the identity of the new VM. In server virtualization this worked great and saved time for most IT shops. But there were still manual processes that some shops needed to do. This breaks the idea of self-service IT, if a user still relies on someone to execute a manual process to have a VM or application provisioned from vCloud.

I guess what this mostly deals with is private cloud. Many IT shops are trying to automate the creation of as many servers and platforms as possible, to reduce their work load in provisioning new servers. But there are still some manual processes that need to take place and I think that being able to tie vCenter Orchestrator more tightly with vCloud Director could go a long way in help this issue.

Other cloud software companies such as DynamicOps are already doing this type of thing. By making the workflow or automation part of their offerings built into the same admin console. This allows for tight integration and opens up the options for what you are allowed to automate.

If you listen to rumors and in dark alleys you might hear that this type of integration is coming from VMware in a future release. Nobody knows if it will be the next release or even when that will happen.

 

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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