vCD 9 – Metadata to control Edge Placement

With vCD9 now GA, I can post this!

One of the things our team has been diligently working on is the ability to specify a host cluster to be an edge cluster for edge deployments. This is a recommended design methodology in NSX, especially for providers to control scalability and allow for proper North/South traffic. I had a conversation with one of our SP’s who was beta testing vCD9 and this came up in discussion.

In vCD9, we will have the ability to utilize metadata to force edge placement in a pvDC. Associated KB will be posted shortly.

Summary steps:

  1. In vCenter, create the cluster that will be holding said Edges.
  2. We need to get the resource pool MoRef now. Use the Managed Object Browser or query by running the ‘{url}/api/admin/extension/providervdc/{pvdcId}/resourcePools’ query). You need to discover the name and Managed Object ID of the resource pool. The name will be used to attach the resource pool to the pVDC and the Managed Object ID for the metadata you create.
  3. In vCD, create the provider vDC, then attach another resource pool to it, specifying the name of the resource pool backed by the Edge Cluster you set up in Step 1. New org vDC’s will have access to this RP by default.
  4. Click on the Metadata tab of the Provider vDC to create the following metadata for the resource pool object.
    1. placement.resourcepool.edge = resource-pool-Managed-Object-ID
    2. For example,  placement.resourcepool.edge = respool-12

Done. With this tag in place, new Edges will be automatically created in this resource pool while no other vApps will be placed there. Previous Edges can be redeployed into this RP now also.

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