My five favorite things about VMware vCloud Director 9.5!

The VMware Cloud Provider Software Business Unit has released the next iteration of vCloud Director – version 9.5. We’ve been holding to a six month cadence on major releases and this vCD version does not disappoint.

As expected, Tom Fojta did a great job of summarizing many of the new features of 9.5, but I am going to focus on a few of the top of mind things that are pertinent to many Cloud Service Providers.

Advanced HTML5 UI

UI continues to get better and better for Tenants and Providers. With 9.5, I would say the UI is about 98% completed – most of the tenant functions should able to be accomplished through the H5 UI. In this release, RBAC capabilities are also introduced (more on that shortly).

As we can see here, we now have a ribbon at the top along with recent tasks.

RBAC Roles

This is a nice function that’s native to the H5 UI – we now have the concept of roles within the roles based access control. A Provider Admin can now “templatize” roles based off of specific functions and make it easier to manage specific tenant rights.

Cross-VDC Networking / Cross vCenter NSX Support

With vCD 9.5, we now have the ability to support xVC NSX objects inclusive of setting this up the vCD UI. Moreover, vCloud Director will instantiate the stretched network functionality to up to four orgVDCs.

This is done from the Provider set up by establishing a network provider scope –

And as expected, requires a single SSO domain between linked vCenters to support cross vCenter NSX. I am underway in my lab to test this out and will have a post soon on demonstrating this functionality and what’s possible.

vCloud Director Cell Appliance!

Yes, you heard that right – with this release we’ve introduced the vCloud Director cell appliance. This is pre-built PhotonOS appliance with the vCD code but still requires your backend vCD database (please use Postgres!), Cassandra, RMQ, and NFS share.

Please also deploy this with the Flex client as I have not seen success with the vSphere H5 client. This is the first iteration and I’m hoping the next version we will see a “database” appliance for the backend functions.

Plugins

I love this, especially when I’m using vCloud Availability for Cloud to Cloud. With 9.5, the UI extensibility continues to grow. There are some amazing plans as it relates to plugin support for our ecosystem partners and I’m seeing MANY of our partners create plugins for vCD. The possibilities are great here to showcase value added services for your tenants.

As we can see below, this is one of my deployments with C2C and showcasing the C2C plugin for 9.5 –

Again, an exciting release for vCloud Director – and more on the way.

-Daniel

Recap from VMworld 2018 and VMware Cloud Provider Sessions

VMware VMworld is always an amazing experience, but taxing for VMware personnel – from meetings, sessions, and nightly events, it can wear one down. However, I truly enjoy seeing everyone and this was my first time speaking at a VMworld, which I’m very grateful for.

I wanted to provide a recap of my two sessions along with sessions all VMware Cloud Providers should watch.

Why vSAN is the Best Solution for Cloud Provider Environments

This was done with my colleague, Greg Kaffenberger, who is part of our Cloud Strategy team. Our intent was to provide a high-level summary of items we’ve learned when collaborating with Providers on vSAN designs and implementations.

One thing I learned from this process of creating a session is it’s VERY difficult to cover everything you want. Moreover, you want to hit the high-level points. Some of the initial feedback we received was our material was too complex. Greg and I did quite a bit of summarization or sticking the detailed points in the speaker notes section.

Anyway, I thought this session went pretty well. Here’s the YouTube video along with the link to the slides for anyone to utilize –

 

Slide Deck on Google Drive

Case Study: Hybrid Cloud with vCloud Extender from Customer to Provider

This was a very exciting session with Raff Poltronieri at CloudItalia on a solution I’ve spent a lot of time with, vCloud Director Extender. We partnered together to review vCD Extender in technical detail along with the architecture. Raff covered CloudItalia’s experience along with a demonstration of one of their customers migrating from their on-prem environment to CloudItalia’s vCD instance. Furthermore, CloudItalia’s business is now growing because of their utilization of vCloud Director Extender.

vCD Extender, vCloud Availability, our new Data Protection solution for vCD, is just the start of these value-added products for vCloud Director. I am very excited to see what comes in the next 9 to 12 months for vCloud Director, especially around our availability, migration, and data protection products for Cloud Providers.

Video and Google drive to the slide deck below –

Slide Deck on Google Drive

Other Sessions to Review

William Lam did a great job of summarizing and providing the ability to download all recorded sessions here.

These are the other ones I suggest reviewing if you did not catch them live:

  1. Introducing VMware Cloud Provider Pod 
    1. VCPP’s new solution on instantiating a vCD environment, inclusive of all Cloud Provider components. Presented by Yves Sandfort and Wade Holmes.
  2. Delivering Custom Services Through vCloud Director
    1. There are endless possibilities on providing custom services and integration through vCD. This session reviews some of the use cases we worked on so far.
  3. VMware Data Protection Simplicity Meets Power: Converged, Cloud and Beyond
    1. This is covering our new partnership with Dell/EMC on Data Protection capabilities built into vCD.
  4. Cloud Provider Transformation with vCloud Director, NSX, and vRealize Suite
    1. John White at Expedient does a great job going through their environment and how they’ve utilized the VMware Cloud Provider architecture to provide services to their tenants.
  5. Multitenant Managed Service Provider Platform for VMware Cloud Services
    1. This is reviewing our new MSP solution / Cloud Provider Hub and what’s possible with VMC in regards to Cloud Providers.

There’s many more here – this link should be filtered to sessions that have been marked for Cloud Provider Program. 

I truly look forward to the next opportunity to speak and share what I’ve learned on this incredible journey at VMware.

-Daniel

VMware vCloud Usage Meter – BND to Bundle Translation Technical Discussion

Recently, we received a post on VMware Communities forum for vCloud Usage Meter requesting clarification on the “BND” column on the Virtual Machine History Report. I’d like to spend a little more time discussing this further for others and some of the logic under the covers.

Moreover, I’m going to review a sanitized customer collection and discuss something I even learned.

Luis Ayuso and I spend a lot of time with Usage Meter, so over time, we’ve come intimately close to the inner workings of UM logic (more Luis, follow him for further updates and direction!). While UM has its quirks, it has quite a bit of logic and intelligence integrated for billing purposes.

First, here’s the BND mapping to current VCPP bundles –

Items that I want to point out:

  1. The BND identifier does not reflect the actual bundle point value. This is by design due to the variances of past bundles.
  2. The Standard Bundle is being retired, but will still show up in any existing or previous Usage Meter instances.
  3. While we have a unique ID for the Standard SP Bundle with Management or Networking, the point bundle value remains the same.

The second thing I’d like to cover is the BND column inside of the Virtual Machine History report – this is column P –

We can see in the above screenshot three important columns:

  1. Bnd Column – which is the bundle identifier. In the above example, we see VM’s reporting ID 7, which is the Standard Bundle.
  2. vROps Column – we would see a “Y” or “N” here depicting if this VM is registered inside of vRealize Operations. What we can conclude from the above screenshot is the following:
    1. Running vSphere Enterprise (NOT Enterprise Plus)
    2. vRealize Operations Itemized Breakout
    3. How? Well, Usage Meter will always pick the most cost-effective option as a bundle for the Providers. We know that the 7-point/Advanced Bundle has vSphere Enterprise Plus while the 5-point Standard bundle uses vSphere Enterprise which was EoL’d a few years ago. Moreover, if the Provider utilizes Advanced or Standard vROps, this is not in any VCPP bundle, so this will be itemized billed out. This could also be the Enterprise version since we are using the 5-point bundle.
  3. NSX Column – in this example, we do not have any NSX detection. However, if we did, we would see:
    1. B – NSX SP Base Version. Included in Advanced/7-Point Bundle
    2. A – Advanced SP Version. Included in Standard with Networking (8-Point) OR Advanced with Networking Bundle (9-Point).
    3. E – Enterprise SP Version. Included in Advanced with Networking and Management/12-Point Bundle.

As a quick refresher, here are the different versions of NSX inside of VCPP –

We can see in the below screenshot where the VM state changed – VM was registered inside of vROps. Therefore, the bundle went from BND 8 (Advanced SP) to BND 10 (Standard with Management). Why? Well, it was not utilizing vCloud Director nor NSX, so this is the most cost-effective option for this VM. 

Makes sense. Moreover, this is AVERAGED over the month, so if you utilize the Advanced bundle for half of the month while utilizing Standard with Management for the rest, you only pay for the specific hours of use.

Let’s talk about an interesting scenario. I noticed that a VM was “flapping” between BND 7 and BND 13 – that’s a big change. We can see that it’s utilizing vROps and NSX Advanced, but why wasn’t defaulting to a lower point bundle?

Well, Usage Meter will append a new line for VM state change – that includes vMotions. What we can see if this VM vMotion from host-30 to host-31 (sanitized names) but were using different vSphere licenses. Ah ha!

We can see on the top line which is host-30, it was using a vSphere Enterprise license while the next three line items (host-31) were on an vSphere Enterprise Plus license.

Interesting! So, how did this look in the Monthly Usage Report?

We can see NSX Advanced in the Monthly Report. While there is no itemized NSX Advanced in the Product Usage Guide, I believe the Provider would have to just report NSX Enterprise for these VM’s.

So, what did we learn from this scenario? Make sure your licensing is configured in a uniform fashion! This will be very unlikely in the future as Enterprise is not supported after September 2018, but it’s imperative to have proper hygiene for the same hosts in the same cluster.

Happy Metering,

-Daniel

VMworld 2018 Sessions for VMware Cloud Providers

This is a very exciting time for us at VMware, especially in the Cloud Provider Program. I am elated to say there are over 34 sessions that are tied to VMware Cloud Providers at VMworld 2018 – we are only publishing the sessions that are allowed currently…

I believe this is the most we’ve ever had at a VMworld. This signifies the importance of our Cloud Providers to VMware and our channel partners. As many of you have experienced, we are in a significant growth space and these sessions are very important for us to showcase what VMware is delivering around Cloud Providers. Moreover, this is a very important venue for us to present our current and future investments in VCPP.

I was honored when two of my sessions were accepted a few months ago. While it’s a little stressful on ensuring we are creating valuable content for our Cloud Service Providers, I am looking forward to presenting this material at VMworld.

Why VMware vSAN Is the Best Solution for Cloud Provider Environments [HCI1145BU]

The first session I have is with Greg Kaffenberger who is one of my esteemed colleagues inside of the VMware Cloud Provider team. We’ve noticed there’s some confusion around how vSAN works inside of our subscription model. Our goal is to demystify and showcase how vSAN is a sustainable operating model for Cloud Service Providers.

A lot of great content created that will be reviewed in this hour. Unfortunately, I wish we had more time – we’ve had to cut a lot but we will make the best of it!

Case Study: Hybrid Cloud with vCloud Extender from Customer to Provider [HYP1142BU]

I am co-presenting with Raffaelo Poltronieri at CloudItalia and we are stoked about speaking about vCloud Director Extender. While many of you have seen my Extender posts over the past year, we will be talking about some of the best practices and lessons learned with one of our strategic partners. Moreover, I will be discussing the goals going forward for our extensibility solutions – significant investment is going in to ensure we make it easy for our Cloud Providers to provide hybridity between on-prem and vCloud environments.

A few callouts I want to make as these are sessions you should not miss –

  • Consuming Cloud Provider SD-WAN Services [BRE3038BU] – this reviews VeloCloud for VCPP and it is very top of mind for many providers. Providing seamless connectivity between sites in a secure, multi-tenant, architecture is critical.
  • Delivering Custom Services Through vCloud Director Extensibility [HYP1803BU] – you will continue to see further development in UI Extensibility inside of vCloud Director. Milko and Martin will do a great job discussing what’s possible inside of the new vCD H5 UI.
  • Introducing VMware Cloud Provider Pod [HYP1499BU] – I can’t speak much about this right now, but check out what Wade Holmes and Yves Sandfort will be presenting. This is a new initiative and we’d love to get feedback from our Cloud Providers.

Honestly, they are all awesome. I was going to continue to list more, but there’s some valuable content being created by amazing leaders in this organization.

I will be at VMworld Saturday to Thursday – please reach out if ever want to talk about any of our solutions!

See you there,

-Daniel