VMware vCloud Availability for Cloud to Cloud 1.5 is announced! What’s New?

I am excited to announce that vCloud Availability for Cloud to Cloud 1.5 (vCAv-C2C) will be released for VMware Cloud Providers at end of September. This has been a long and fruitful journey between strategic design partners and our internal teams.

In this post, I will review what’s new inside of vCloud Availability for Cloud to Cloud 1.5.

Don’t know what vCloud Availability for Cloud to Cloud is – don’t worry, check out this intro post!

To start, our lightboard video as an intro to C2C and what’s new with 1.5 –

A quick summary of what I’ll be discussing:

    1. Enterprise Scale
    2. Service Provider Policies for Offer Management
    3. Seamless and unified experience with integration to vCloud Director
    4. vRealize Orchestrator Integration (Compatible with C2C 1.0)
    5. vRealize Operations Day 2 Monitoring Pack (Compatible with C2C 1.0)
    6. Public API
    7. Enhanced Usage Reporting

Scale

Let’s talk about scalability for C2C for a moment. The BU has certified the following for C2C 1.5 –

  • 110 concurrent failover protections
  • Over 3,000 active protections across 100 tenants. This is a variable number as it will depend on the number of active tenants along with protected operations. However, in discussing this with Engineering, we’ve seen 4,000 VM’s protected by vCAv-C2C.
  • Scale up to 7 tested replication instances.

Again, this has been an important enhancement as we have received multiple requests regarding scale. I would also say this is the maximum configuration we’ve tested so far. This does not mean our technology is limited to these numbers. If there’s something specific you’d like to see, please talk to your VMware Cloud Provider field team.

Policies

With C2C 1.5, Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) can now manage access control for vCloud Availability – Cloud to Cloud DR on per tenant organization basis. By default, all tenant organizations are disabled and CSPs can choose to enable C2C DR service for one or many organizations. This allows CSPs to deliver Cloud to Cloud DR as a value-added service to their tenants.

As we can see from above, I have the Default Policy along with “Org1 Policy” that I created that I applied to my Org1 organization.

So, if an org that has not been whitelisted for Cloud to Cloud usage, what do they see? Well, they would get an error when attempting outgoing or incoming replications such as the below:

In addition to white-listing organizations, C2C DR also allows a CSP to create and assign new policies for select organization, thus giving them an opportunity for tiered offering and providing them better control on their capacity management. Following new policies have been added:

  1. Limit the maximum number of outgoing and/or incoming replications per organization
  2. Limited maximum number of replicated VM’s per organization
  3. Limited maximum number snapshots created by VM
  4. Allow to set lower limit on RPO per organization

Again, providing a granular application to specific orgs. We could create multiple policies and have different policies associated with each of them.

Last of all, we can see the compliance state on each org –

Integrated vCD UI

While using the vCloud Director portal extensibility capability, the team has now introduced an integrated C2C plugin for vCD!

Once C2C is deployed and registered to your vCD instance, we will see the Availability link in the context switching menu (or what we like to call the hamburger menu).

From there, the tenant user can navigate to C2C from the vCD interface, thus providing fully integrated and seamless experience and alleviating need of any console hopping.

vRealize Orchestrator Integration

While this is something that will be released post version 1.5, this is an awesome addition as now we can provide unique workflows on a per tenant/use-case basis in an automated fashion. Now, combine this with the power of the new vRO/vCD integration within the Content Library!

From vRO, we can see we have a new section vCloud Availability –

The first thing we would need to do is connect to each respective site –

From here, we have multiple options available that were built by our team, including IP address change after failover:

vRealize Operations Day 2 Monitoring Pack

We are now introducing a management pack for vRealize Operations. This will be also released post version 1.5, however, this will allow the Provider team to have a single monitoring and analytics tool for providing vCAv-C2C statistics and rollups of the environment.

There a few out of the box dashboards available –

From here, we can get a picture of what’s going on from an operational perspective, including any RPO violations set by vCAv policies. While my test environment is clean, this gives you an idea of what to expect.

As a last note – vRealize Orchestrator and vRealize Operations plug-in have their own release cycles and would typically lag a little bit behind the core Cloud to Cloud releases. The vRO and vROPs plug-ins for Cloud to Cloud are currently supported only for C2C 1.0 release). Please reach out to your VMware Cloud Provider field team if you’d like to discuss these further.

Public API

There is now an API available for C2C operations. Public API are generated through Swagger which is quickly becoming a de-facto standard for generating APIs. This allows for additional extensibility to Providers on managing C2C operations along with potential opportunity to integrate their Cloud to Cloud DR use-cases into their own Cloud management portal if this wish to do so.

Start off by going to the API documentation here

The steps to set up the Swagger client is fairly easy. I was able to do this in a Windows environment by using the PowerShell commands.

Start with downloading the JSON file –

Then, download the swagger-codegen client and run the generate command to generate the Java client –

And now the build is ready for .java files with the C2C parameters. I hope to have time to play around with this further.

Enhanced Usage Reporting

While Usage Meter integration is underway, we can pull reports from the C2C appliances by logging into the application console – documentation is here. 

We start by SSH’ing or opening the console to the C2C appliance. From there, we need to authenticate again in the h4 context so we can type in the ‘usage-report’ command –

Now, I am able to run ‘usage-report’ and find out my usage –

Again, a lot of great content and additions to C2C 1.5. Please check it out!

-Daniel

VMware vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR – Pairing and Usability (2 of 2)

Continuation of VMware vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR – Pairing and Usability (1 of 2)

This post covers pairing and usability of VMware vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR.

Previous blog posts:

Blog Post – what is vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR? 

Blog Post – vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR – Installation and Setup

  1. Part 2:
    1. Initial authentication between the two sites
    2. Migrating a workload in the same site
    3. Protecting a workload between two sites
    4. Testing the protected workload
    5. Edit Options
    6. Failing Over

Initial authentication between the two sites

  1. This is pretty simple and very similar (if not exactly) like vCAv-DR2C. Go to Paired Clouds -> click the actions button to authenticate on the paired remote site. For me, this is SiteB. 
  2. We need to provide the organization name, the username of the org admin, and password. Note this must be an organization admin for pairing. 
  3. Complete! 
  4. Now, I can do the same on my second site, SiteB. 

Migrating a workload in the same site

  1. So let’s work through a use case where I want to migrate a vApp or VM between two different oVDCs in the SAME vCloud Director instance. This question came up on the vExpert Slack channel and I thought this was supported, but wanted to make 100% sure. The answer is yes – fully supported. So let’s go through how I made this happen.
  2. From the DR Workloads tab, let’s click on the Discovery button – 
  3. From here, our source is going to be our same site, which is SiteA/Org1, which should show host in parenthesis. 
  4. Let’s select my test vApp, which is properly named “vApp_test” for this exercise. 
  5. Now our destination is the same vCD instance, or SiteA/Org1. Let’s select it –
  6. We can now see the other org VDC available, which is my Org1-Gold-oVDC. This is the only selection available as we cannot move it to the same oVDC and I do not have more than two oVDC’s inside of this organization. From here, we can also select the Storage Profile, Target PRO, and if we want to add in any Point-in-Time instances along with data connection type. 
  7. Once we click finish, we get our setup screen… 
  8. We can now see the vApp is being configured and in the “Protecting” status. 
  9. Complete! All green and in the “Protected” state so it’s ready for migration over to my destination oVDC. 
  10. Let’s go ahead and click Failover and get the confirmation window on what we want to do. I can select the DR Network (I didn’t set up networking for this test) and if I want to turn on the target VM. 
  11. We can now see the status has changed to “Failing Over” – 
  12. From my vCD instance, I can see the vApp being imported… 
  13. Source/Original vApp is being powered off.. 
  14. Under Tasks on the vCAv portal, I can see the migration tasks underway – 
  15. Complete! We have successfully migrated over the vApp to the new orgVDC. We also see the original/source vApp was completely powered off, or in the Stopped state. 
  16. In conclusion, very simple and intuitive to migrate between the same vCD instance. Theoretically, you could deploy this at a single site and use this for local migration.

Protecting a workload between two sites

  1. So let’s cover migration between the two sites – SiteA and SiteB. In this exercise, we will be protecting a workload in SiteB and protecting it to SiteA. This is very similar to our exercise above (migrating between the same site) while we are selecting the paired site for protection.
  2. Let’s go ahead and click on Discovery and select our source site (SiteB) – 
  3. Now we can select our vApp that we will be protecting to SiteA – 
  4. Select our destination, which mine is SiteA/Org1 – 
  5. From our final screen, we can select the appropriate oVDC, storage profile, and my target RPO. For this exercise, I’ll be adding in some Point-in-Time instances too. Click OK and let’s get to protecting…
  6. I tried to grab the transition log, but it was too fast. But I do see the initial replication succeeded along with my protected vApp showing “Protected” – awesome! 
  7. I also like the event pop up we get when something changes. We can see this in the above screenshot that shows my newest protected vApp is good to go.

Testing the protected workload

  1. Testing is the ability to bring up the protected workload at the destination site in an isolated network of your choosing – this allows the application owner to verify everything is operational and could be used for regulatory purposes too.
  2. Testing is pretty easy – it can be orchestrated from either site (source or destination) and it’s with a click of a button –
  3. We get the confirmation screen and the choice of our test network we want to utilize. Once I hit the Start button, I can see the status changes to “Failover Testing Initializing.” 
  4. On my SiteA, I can see within the logs the failover testing is underway while we have a transition of a vApp inside of SiteA – 
  5. Alright, now it shows Failover Test Ready which is great. Now, my app owner can test their app on the destination and verify functionality. 
  6. One of the nice additions is the quick launch buttons on the test workload – we can hover over the two icons and see quick launch buttons to get to each site. Very nice addition. 
  7. Finally, when our testing is done, we can click the Cleanup button to remove the test VM and go back to our normal, Protected state. Pretty straightforward. 

Edit Options on protected workload

  1. Clicking the Edit button provides us with the ability to make changes to a current protected workload –
  2. From the options pane, we can see the following – 
  3. We get our standard RPO slider – from 5 minutes to 24 hour RPO selection – while providing the ability to keep point-in-time instances for further retention.
  4. Moreover, all traffic is encrypted but we can also further optimize by compressing data. Very similar to vSphere Replication, the replicators will attempt to compress the data to minimize network traffic.
  5. Last of all, we have the ability to quiesce the operating system by using VMware Tools.

Failing Over

  1. In our last example, we will fail over my core-B vApp from SiteB to SiteA. Failover can be done from either site (especially important if I lost my source site) and very straightforward.
  2. Let’s select Failover from the UI – 
  3. As discussed before, our standard options and what network we want to select. 
  4. We can see it transitioned to Failing Over… 
  5. Voila! Failed over. Now we can click the quick launch shortcut and start doing whatever we need to do. 
  6. Another thing to note – even with a failed over workload, we can reverse the replication and reprotect it back to our original site, assuming the site is still operational. This is done by selecting the Reverse button. Now, this will show as outgoing from my SiteA to SiteB.

That’s it, folks! My hope is this was informational for any providers that are considering to utilize Cloud to Cloud for migration and DR needs for their multi-site vCloud Director environments. It’s a great tool and is very intuitive for our tenants and providers.

Thanks!

-Daniel

VMware vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR – Pairing and Usability (1 of 2)

As a continuation of my vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR (vCAv-C2C) series, we will be covering the initial pairing and usage of C2C in this blog post.

Blog Post – what is vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR? 

Blog Post – vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR – Installation and Setup

I will break this post into the following sections and into two blog posts:

  1. Part 1:
    1. The pairing of the two vCD/vCAv sites
    2. Logging into the vCAv Portal and Portal Overview
    3. Provider view of the vCAv Portal
  2. Part 2:
    1. Initial authentication between the two sites
    2. Migrating a workload in the same site
    3. Protecting a workload between two sites
    4. Testing the protected workload
    5. Edit Options
    6. Failing Over

The pairing of the two vCD/vCAv Sites

  1. First, the Provider must set up an association between the two vCAv sites before the tenant can authenticate within the vCAv portal.
  2. This is done in the Replication Manager portal – point your browser to https://<vcav-rep-mgr>:8046, authenticate, and click on Sites -> New site
  3. We then assign a Site name, the full URL of the respective peer replication manager, and the appliance password. Within my setup, I did this on both sites, SiteA and SiteB. 
  4. Once we hit OK, you will receive a Task succeeded message – 
  5. Now, if we click on the Sites subsection, we can now see our local site along with our newly peered site. From SiteA and SiteB, I can see each respective site. 
  6. Complete! Now we are ready to log into the vCAv Portal.

Logging into the vCAv Portal and Portal Overview

  1. Point your browser to the fully qualified domain name along with port 8443 – this is the default port the portal runs (can be changed). 
  2. Logging in is very similar to vCAv-DR2C – you utilize the username@org-name parameter. For my SiteA, I have an “Org1” while my SiteB is “Org2” – for SiteA, I am logging in as org1admin@org1 with the appropriate password.
  3. Once authenticated, I get the very clean interface that shows the Cloud Topology. We haven’t started any replications/migrations yet, so I don’t have any ingress/egress traffic yet.  
  4. On the home page, you get a very clear view of the topology, workload statistics, and even the Organization VDC status. I thought this was a very efficient use of current oVDC utilization along with what’s being used within each oVDC. 
  5. Under the DR Workloads tab, we would be able to see incoming and outgoing protected workloads. Since we haven’t set up any yet, nothing to show yet. 
  6. Paired Clouds shows available vCD/vCAv instances and their authentication status. Since the Provider paired with SiteB, we have it available but it shows unauthenticated. We still need to authenticate with the appropriate credentials that reside on SiteB. 
  7. Last of all, Tasks will show any previous or current tasks and the event log. This will show logs for any connected site, so very easy to see exactly is going on between the paired sites. 
  8. For those of you that have used vCAv-DR2C, this is very similar to that experience with a few minor enhancements. The learning curve is very minimal and we will go through a few test scenarios.

Provider view of the vCAv Portal

  1. The development team did a great job from a provider view on providing very useful information.
  2. First of all, we get to see a current status ticker that shows state of the vCAv environment. I thought this was extremely useful and intuitive to gain an operational understanding of the health of the current environment. 
  3. I didn’t mention this in the previous portal post, but this is also available there too. You can expand and see the details of the current replications/migrations between sites. This is done by clicking the carrot icon in the top right corner. 
  4. If you scroll down also, you get to see the pVDC view of the current environment with a resource utilization rollup. Very similar experience to what we see now in vCD 9.1 Multi-Site. 
  5. Under the Orgs tab, we get to see the current organization and any registered vApps and current status. 
  6. One very nice item is that shield/checkmark icon. If we click that, we can actually impersonate the organization admin and assist with any tasks that the organization may be having trouble with. All done through this single interface! 
  7. I won’t cover DR Workloads as it’s the same as the tenant view, but just a macro-rollup of all protected workloads. However, under Administration, we get to see Configuration and Registration. From here, we can actually register other components to monitor from this dashboard along with resource threshold display. Very nice! 

Onto the next post, where we will review migrations and protection operations. Thanks!

-Daniel

VMware vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR – Installation and Setup

As discussed in my introduction post about vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR (vCAv-C2C), I am going to do a high-level write-up of my installation/deployment process for this new vCD site-to-site replication and migration solution.

While this write-up does cover the deployment methodology, a production state will need to be rationalized inclusive of certificates, ports, and firewall rules that will be required.

Below are the high-level steps I took for deployment. VMware’s documentation does go in a different order, but this is the way I rationalized it along with a combined role (all-in-one appliance).

High-Level Steps for Installation and Setup:

  1. Download OVF and deploy at each respective site
  2. Configure vCAv-C2C Replication Manager
  3. Configure vCAv-C2C Replicator
  4. Pair Replication Manager with Replicator
  5. Configure vCAv-C2C Replication Service/Manager
  6. Configure vCAv-C2C Availability Portal

Again, my high-level architecture –

vCenter Deployment

  1. Let’s grab the OVF (remember, we only need one for vCAv-C2C), and deploy it to my management cluster – 
  2.  We can see it’s the new Cloud to Cloud appliance – 
  3. As we discussed before, the team has done a great job of simplifying the deployment of vCAv-C2C to a simple and single OVF for all of the roles required for Cloud to Cloud. We can see the drop-down for each respective role. For my deployment, we will be selecting a combined since this is a lab environment. 
  4. We now have to put in the required network configuration while enabling SSH (this is not a mandated requirement, but nice to have in my lab environment). One thing to note – the root password is temporary. When we get into the initial portal configuration, it will prompt us to change it to a new password from a security perspective. 
  5. Final screen to complete the deployment – 
  6. Alright, initial appliance deployment is done! Now off to the configuration.

Configure vCAv-C2C Replication Manager

  1. For the initial configuration, we will want to open a browser to “https://Appliance-IP-address:8044” or in my case, https://vcav-repmgr-01a.corp.local:8044 – 
  2. Let’s click on the Configuration Portal link and now set the new password after a successful login with the password we set in the OVF deployment – 
  3. We can see we have a red x where the lookup service is missing. This is for us to point to the resource vCenter (remember, resource and management vCenters must be in the same SSO domain at each site). 
  4. Let’s go to Configuration -> Set lookup service and put in the lookup service FQDN and we should see a successful message. 
  5. Back to the diagnostics tab, we can now see the lookup service is green!
  6. Now, the next step is correctly set up the replication instance and then come back to the Replication Manager for pairing.

Configure vCAv-C2C Replicator

  1. Open a browser to “https://Appliance-IP-address:8043” or in my case, https://vcav-repmgr-01a.corp.local:8043 – 
  2. Change password – 
  3. Set lookup service – again, I am using a consolidated vCenter instance for resource and management so this is pretty straightforward – 
  4. Success! 
  5. Now, back to the Replication Manager for pairing.

Pair Replication Manager with Replicator

  1. On the Replication Manager, let’s go to Replicators -> New replicator while giving the full FQDN along with the password (remember, new password!) and SSO credentials –
  2. Accept the cert and we should see the success message shortly.
  3. Now, let’s click on Show all managers and we can see the replication instance is now registered – 
  4. While from the replication instance, we can see the replication manager also configured – 
  5. Excellent! Now, off to the Replication Service Manager

Configure vCAv-C2C Replication Service/Manager

  1. Open a browser to “https://Appliance-IP-address:8046” or in my case, https://vcav-repmgr-01a.corp.local:8046 – this time, I used the new password as it seems to have propagated to the other roles. 
  2. Now, we get a nice clean wizard for the setup. 
  3. Let’s put in the Site information, this is going to be my SiteA. 
  4. Next, lookup service again with accepting the certificate – 
  5. Now, we are going to point it to the Replication Manager we previously setup. This is on port 8044, so let’s put that full FQDN along with port 8044 – 
  6. Now, we get to setup vCloud Director. I used the manual configuration here to verify everything was good to go. 
  7. Finally, we get a summary screen to show the stated configuration – 
  8. Excellent! All green and expanding out the Manager data shows our registered replication instance too. Very slick interface. 
  9. Now, off to the Availability Portal configuration as the last setup step.

Configure vCAv-C2C Availability Portal

  1. Home stretch for the first site installation and configuration – let’s open a browser to “https://Appliance-IP-address:5480” or in my case, https://vcav-repmgr-01a.corp.local:5480 
  2. I am prompted for vApp Replication Manager / vCD Connection information. By default, I did see a “127.0.0.1:8046” but decided to change it to the FQDN of my combined instance. Put in the vCD credentials (administrator@system) and hit connect to get a successful message – 
  3. Now, click Test to verify everything is operational from a vCD perspective – 
  4. We will be using the defaults for the database, but you are prompted to select a custom database if you so desire – 
  5. Alright, final step. Here’s where we can change the port for user access (remember, this is what will be publicly facing) along with the certificate. I am staying with the defaults for my installation. 
  6. Now, we are ready to hit the Start Service button. Running…
  7. Success! 
  8. Now, we get a nice, simple portal that’s used to verify all of our services are operational 

Wow, a very streamlined process that was very intuitive while using a sleek and simple interface.

I am going to check to verify my org user can log into the portal…

Success! Our vCD authentication was passed through and now I get the vCAv C2C interface. 

Before I can have the paired sites and start testing workload migration, I need to go set up my SiteB vCloud Director instance and deploy the combined appliance. On the next blog post, we will go through the Site pairing process and do a migration/replication.

-Daniel