What’s VMware vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR?

As of yesterday (May 17th, 2018), VMware announced the release of VMware vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR 1.0 – release notes here while my esteemed colleague, Tom Fojta, announced this on Twitter:

Many of you may be wondering, what is vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud and how may I use this in the VMware Cloud Provider Program?

To start off, vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud (vCAv-C2C) is VMware’s solution to vCloud Director instance to instance disaster recovery and migration. Here’s a nice summary of what vCAv-C2C provides:

  1. Replicate and recover vApps (VMs) between two vCD instances for migration, DR, and planned migration use cases.
  2. Complete self-serviceability for the provider and tenant administrator. A unified HTML5 portal that will be utilized alongside vCloud Director. Replication, migration, and failover can be managed completely by the tenant or provided as a managed service by the provider.
  3. A simplified and streamlined architecture to support vCloud Director 8.20, 9.0, and 9.1 while supporting vSphere 6.0U3 and 6.5U1.

vCloud Availability for Cloud to Cloud DR Installation Documentation

In my opinion, point #3 is one of the most critical benefits to both providers and tenants. When we discuss multi-tenant architecture, this does tend to add layers of complexity, but the VMware Cloud Service Provider Business Unit has done a great job of rationalizing the architecture and streamlining it for vCAv-C2C and future solutions. I will get to the architecture shortly.

Before we get into the details of vCAv-C2C, many of you have experienced our other migration or disaster recovery-based solutions. I made this simple chart to showcase each of our current VMware Cloud Provider (CSPBU) solutions and how they complement one another:

As you can see, vCAv-C2C will complement the traditional vCAv solution while vCD Extender can still be used for on-prem tenant migrations to a vCD instance. vCAv-C2C fills a void on migration between vCD instances, which is a much-needed capability for our Providers.

So let’s talk about the high-level architecture. As I mentioned before, a lot of thought and development went into vCAv-C2C to make the architecture simplified and seamless. With vCAv-C2C, everything is packaged into a simple OVA deployment – no need to manually/CLI configure a vCAv deployment anymore. I was fortunate enough to be part of the alpha testing team (along with Fojta and my other peer Fernando Escobar) and was very pleased with this capability – ease of deployment and configuration is something that is required for many of our Providers.

Furthermore, this single OVA has every role required for vCAv-C2C. Per the documentation, we have a few roles:

  1. Replication Manager
  2. Replicator Node (Large Replicator role available too)
  3. Tunnel Node

Best of all, there’s a Combined role now that can be utilized for smaller or proof of concept (PoC) deployments. This is what I’ll be using in my lab environment.

Let’s talk about a high-level architecture –

As you can see, this is an appliance-based architecture that will protect (or migrate) vApps between site to site. Moreover, we can simplify this for PoC/small deployments by using a combined vCAv-C2C appliance –

Cloud to Cloud tunneling is utilized if you are going over a public internet connection and do not have private (VPN or Direct Connect) connectivity between the two vCD instances. VMware’s documentation writeup is here along with a nice drawing that depicts the DNAT and port requirements.

As for scale and concurrency guidelines, the team did a great job with support a significant amount of replications/migrations. From the release notes –

  • Scale Limits
    • 300 active protections for a single tenant
    • 300 active protections using a single large vCloud Availability Replicator. For more information about the replicator types, see Deploy vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR Services by Using the vSphere Web Client.
    • 1300 active protections across 20 tenants
    • 20 tenants with active replications
    • 7 active vCloud Availability Replicator instances
    • Up to 2 TB size of protected workloads
  • Concurrency Limits
    • 60 concurrent Protect, Test Failover, Reverse Protect, Test Failback, and Failback operations
    • 110 Concurrent Failover operations

If you’re a provider, you might be wondering how do I download the bits so I can start testing it?! Well, reach out to your respective VMware Cloud Provider field team as this is going to be an initial release and we want to work with our providers on ensuring all vCAv-C2C requirements are met for a successful deployment. You can also reach out to me directly and I’ll be happy to put you in touch with your respective team.

Up next – high-level installation instructions for vCAv-C2C!

-Daniel

vCloud Availability for vCloud Director – Tenant Walkthrough Video

I recently created a vCloud Availability demonstration video and wanted to share this out with others.

vCloud Availability (vCAv) for vCloud Director is a very powerful solution that provides Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) that’s built on top of vCloud Director. What’s great about vCAv is the ability to protect, migrate, and failover workloads from a tenant environment just from vCenter.

vCAv utilizes vSphere Replication as its replication engine while our Cloud Provider Business Unit built the architecture around vCD to provide scalable multi-tenancy. Granular selection of VM’s is possible that correlate to a DR-enabled VDC.

For VMware Cloud Providers that are interested in further details, here are some good links to start on vCAv:

Well, here’s the video. Enjoy!

-Daniel