vCloud Director Extender – What is it?

Part of our upcoming release of vCloud Director 9 is vCloud Extender. I’d like to do an intro to this new solution since we’ve been getting a lot of questions in the Solutions Exchange.

Extender is VMware’s replacement for vCloud Connector – in essence, the ability to migrate workloads to a VMware vCloud Director environment. Our goal is to make this extremely easy and allow tenants (end-users) the ability to migrate their own workloads. Self-sufficiency is the name of the game here.

Moreover, we want the ability to provide Data Center L2 extension – ability to migrate workloads using the same IP space. Does not require NSX in the tenant environment.

Last of all, cost. If you are a current VMware Cloud Provider using vCloud Director, there will be no additional cost for Extender.

Migrations are cold or warm. Well, what does this mean? Cold – ability to take a powered off VM and replicate over. Warm – synchronize based on assigned RPO. Once cutover is ready, Extender will power off the VM in tenant environment and power on in the cloud environment.

Let’s do a high-level overview of what Extender consists of. Please note that more details will be provided on release but wanted to give some insight on what to expect.

Provider (presuming current vCD architecture):

  1. Extender Manager appliance
    1. Deployed to a provider management vCenter instance – typically resides by other provider management functions (vCD Cells, management tools, etc.)
    2. Credentials are provided to existing vCD instance(s)
  2. Replication Manager appliance
    1. Provides management of replication activities between tenants and provider
  3. Replicator appliance
    1. Provides replication state for selected VM’s

The provider deployment will be done through a very simple UI as seen below:

Tenant:

  1. Extender Connector appliance
    1. Connects to Extender Manager running in Provider environment
    2. Also provides direct registration of the Extender plugin into vCenter
  2. Replicator
    1. Provides replication state for selected VM’s to vCD
  3. NSX Edge Appliance (optional, but required for L2 / Data Center Extension capability)
    1. The installation will take care of deploying a Standalone Edge in the on-prem environment to provide L2 VPN connectivity.

Below is a port diagram between Tenant and Provider.

Again, a very simple UI interface for deployment:

Once deployed on the tenant side, the end user gets a clean (HTML5!) interface from vCenter:

From here, there are three key sections:

  1. Establishing a connection to your respective organization virtual Data Center (vDC) instance. Note this will require org administrator credentials.
  2. Creating the DC Layer 2 Extension connections. This is back-ended by the standalone edge deployed that will connect to provider edges established by vCD.
  3. Migrate workloads – cold or warm as described above.

Below is a quick intro video to demonstrate functionality (note – no sound but provides a look and feel on what to expect).

More to come as we GA Extender with vCD9 – but I have to say I’m very excited about this release and providing a easy way to migrate workloads to a VMware Cloud Provider.

-Daniel

vCloud Director 9 has been announced!

First off, I should have had this drafted before I hit VMworld – big mistake! Cannot underestimate the amount of time that is spent here.

I’m very excited to discuss the announcement of vCD 9 – we’ve been beta testing this with a select group of providers and have been getting some great feedback.

Formal announcement here: https://blogs.vmware.com/vcloud/2017/08/vmware-announces-new-vcloud-director-9-0.html

Key areas I’d like to highlight:

  1. Tenant UI is now all HTML5. This is great as if it follows our new approach to H5 and provides the ability for providers to customize. We will continue to release new skins as time progresses.
    1. NOTE: part of the engine overhaul also separates the UI from the vCD process. Therefore, we will be able to make UI changes without disrupting the vCD backend daemon.
  2. Extender – I’ll have more on this soon, but we have a new plugin to move workloads from the tenant on-prem infrastructure to vCD cloud environment: cold or warm. This plugin will be at no additional cost to our Cloud Provider Partners.
  3. Validated Stack – our BU will now publish a certification matrix on what versions of code have been validated for vCD. This will take the guesswork out of upgrades and deployments – saving you time!

Again, more to come but very excited about vCD 9. #longlivevCD

vROps Management Pack for vCloud Director

This is a nice little jewel available in the VMware Solution Exchange – ability to monitor vCD objects and provide potential tenant integration for monitoring their org.

More info here: https://marketplace.vmware.com/vsx/solutions/management-pack-for-vcloud-director

To install it – it’s pretty easy:

  1. Download the PAK file
  2. Toggle to Administration -> Solutions in vROps
  3. Hit the + Button on Solution
  4. Select your PAK file and click Upload
  5.  
  6. Accept the EULA
  7. Let vROps do it’s thing – installing…
  8. Click Finish once it’s complete.
  9. Now find the Management Pack for vCloud Director under Solutions. Go ahead and click on the gear icon to configure your connection.
  10. Add your instance along with the Display Name, org you want to connect to, and credentials. Pretty similar to other connections. Note – ensure Auto Discovery is set to “True” if you want new objects to propagate to vROps!
  11. Test your connection – if successful, you should start seeing Data Receiving under the Collection Status
  12. Toggle over to Dashboards -> you will see several new vCD dashboard available from All Metrics, vApp Utilization, Alerts, etc.
  13. From here, one could provide tenant access to a specific dashboard and/or org from vROps that provides a vCD view.

Yet another great addition for vROps 6.6 – definitely check it out if you are a vCD user!

Installation Guide is here.