Using VSAN Storage Policies in vCloud Automation Center

VMware vCloud Automation Center is the center piece of VMware’s Software-Defined Enterprise vision. It is also the primary user and admin interface for enterprise and application services, and therefore it makes a lot of sense for vCAC to be the core integration point for the SDDC.

Rawlinson Rivera (@PunchingClouds) recently posted a blog post titled “VMware Virtual SAN Interoperability: vCloud Automation Center“, where he highlights the use of vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) 6.0 to deploy applications directly to a VSAN Datastore while also leveraging a VM Storage Policy. In short, the desired storage policy is applied to the template backing the vCAC Blueprint. Once provisioned, the resulting machine adopts the associated storage policy and the rest is glorious, app-centric VSAN storage consumption. I recommend reviewing that post to get a better idea of what we’re doing here.

So now that we have a basic understanding of the interoperability between vCAC and VSAN, let’s dive into some more advanced concepts for a glimpse into the art of the possible by expanding on Rawlinson’s example and using some of vCAC’s extensibility features to deliver greater functionality.The integration between vCAC and VSAN can greatly enhance how applications are provisioned.  Since storage policies can be configured per-application or VM, you can specify varying policies based on the use case, tier, application criticality, SLA, etc…all backed by a common VSAN Datastore.…

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vCloud Automation Center 6.0 POC and Detailed Implementation Guide

In keeping up with my extracurricular doc-building activities, I am happy to release the latest iteration of my vCAC implementation guide for the deployment and configuration of vCAC 6.0. This unofficial Proof of Concept and Detailed Implementation guide is provided, with no guarantees (or support), to assist with the end-to-end implementation of vCloud Automation Center 6.0 in a pre-configured vSphere 5.x environment.

The guide walks through – in plenty of detail – vCAC 6.0’s deployment, concepts, technologies, and features as they would be used in a real-world implementation. This document can also double as an unofficial hands-on training guide which covers:

– New Features in vCAC 6.0
– Deployment Architecture
– Implementation on VMware platforms (vSphere)
– IaaS and XaaS Configuration
– Usage and Navigation
– Advanced Concepts and Use Cases…

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Scaling VSAN: Adding a New VSAN Host

In my previous post, VMware VSAN Meets EZLAB, I highlighted the implementation of VSAN into my vCloud lab. At the time of writing, 1 of 4 my vSphere hosts was down for maintenance and was not added to the VSAN cluster. Now that it’s back online, I thought I would share the experience of adding a new VSAN host…and another 2.25TB of capacity.

Here’s a “before” shot — 3 hosts configured with 6.13TB total capacity…

Step 1: Add the host to the existing VSAN cluster: I’m pretty sure I don’t have to review how this is done. Once added, configure all settings to match the other hosts in the cluster…in my setup I’m using a dedicated pNIC and vmkernel port (vmk1) for all storage traffic.

Adding new host to the vSphere cluster

The local storage of the new host, a Dell R610 box, is configured identically to the other
three — 1 x 256GB SSD + 3 x 750GB SATA drives. And since it is
identical, that also means I had to deal with the fact that the PERC 6/i
controller does not support JBOD. So, I stepped through the work-around to identify the SSD as such…

before…the SSD show up as “Non-SSD”


“esxcli storage…” command executed on host



the SSD is now recognized as an SSD drive


Step 2: Enable VSAN Service on the vmk port…

Configure vmk for VSAN traffic

Step 3: Disk Management…

Since my VSAN cluster is configured to “Manual” mode, adding the new host’s disks to the cluster takes an additional step.…

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VMware VSAN meets EZLAB

Let me just get this out of the way – I’m a HUGE fan of VSAN (aka VMware Virtual SAN). I was first in line to drink the kool-aid when VSAN was nothing but a “what if…?”. Fast forward to the present — VSAN beta (refresh) is backing my entire lab. I’m tweaking, testing, breaking (learning), and sharing my thoughts on VSAN’s capabilities, performance, and benefits ahead of the official launch. This is all in good order because even the beta has exceeded my expectations in what VMware would ship as a 1.0 product.

I can write page after page about the ins-and-outs of VSAN, but fortunately several very respected individuals have already done so. For starters, Duncan Epping at yellow-bricks.com not only is a massive contributor to the cause, but has also put together a nice list of VSAN resources from around the web that is a must-see. But lets face it, if you’re tracking VSAN you’ve probably already been there, done that 🙂  So for this post, I’m going to focus instead on my VSAN home lab build and experiences thus far. I’ve shared several preliminary stats on twitter (here, here, and here) ahead of any tweaking and will be sure to post additional results as I play with things a bit more.…

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VMware SDDC / vCloud Suite Whiteboard

I recently had the opportunity to brief several dozen VMware Public Sector (US-Fed / SLED) partners in anticipation of the vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) 6.0 GA release. While most of the day focused on vCAC, I spent about an hour or so delivering an updated version of my SDDC Whiteboard brief to help set the stage for vCAC.

The whiteboard provides an overview of VMware’s SDDC / vCloud vision — starting from the foundation (i.e. vSphere) and capped off by the cloud automation layer (vCAC)…and all the loveliness in between.

This is a presentation I do often, but no two are the same. If you’ve got 45ish minutes to spare, please do and feel free to provide some feedback!


VMware vCloud Suite / vCAC Whiteboard from @virtualjad on Vimeo.

 

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@virtualjad…
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vCAC 6.0 XaaS Use Case – DaaS with Horizon View

vCloud Automation Center 6.0’s “XaaS” feature will allow our customers to utilize any prepackaged, new, or existing vCenter Orchestrator workflow and deliver it as a Self-Serviced, Entitled, Governed, and Lifecycle-managed service. VMware will be shipping a more integrated View/vCAC DaaS integration in Q1’2014.  Until then we have to improvise to come up with a “DaaS-like” solution that will help fill in the gap until the products are natively integrated.

vCAC’s Advanced Service Designer (ASD) provides a quick-fix for this needed capability using rather unsophisticated means.  This use case guide will walk you on building a Desktop Request service using the ASD and vCenter Orchestrator’s Active Directory Plug-in.

DaaS Use Case Objectives:

  • Allow cloud users to request a Horizon View Desktop machine from vCAC’s Service Catalog and add Self-Service, Governance, and Entitlement to existing View Environments
  • Use vCAC’s Advanced Service Designer to create a Custom Service to deliver DaaS
  • Configure a Governance (Approval) policy for VDI Desktop Requests
  • Utilize vCO’s built-in Active Directory plug-in and a simple workflow to do the magic

DaaS Solution Summary:

  • Horizon View is configured with 2 Desktop Pools: 
  • Floating Desktop Pool: DaaS-Engineering
  • Dedicated Desktop Pool: DaaS-Operations 
  • Both pools are configured to pre-provision 20 (e.g.) desktops and always have 5 desktops available (unused) in the pool
  • Each pool is entitled to an existing Active Directory Security Group 
    • DaaS-Engineering -> “DaaS-Eng” 
    • DaaS-Development-> “DaaS-Ops”
  • A “Desktop Services” catalog item is created using the Advanced Service Designer, which utilizes an existing vCO Active Directory [plug-in] workflow “add a user to a group
  • When invoked, the user selects an AD User and one of 2 available Groups
  • Once submitted, vCO adds the selected user to the selected group, which entitles the user that that group (and associated View Pool)
  •  XaaS Lab Logical Architecture

      

     
    Assumptions

    This guide
    assumes you have good working knowledge of vCloud Automation Center 6.0
    and Horizon View 5.x, as well as familiarity with vCAC’s UI and
    operational concepts.…

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    VMware vCloud Automation Center 6.0 is LIVE!

    It has been a long time coming…lots of hard work, energy, collaboration, and a massive investment from VMware to ensure this release marks the beginning of a game-changing technology for organizations looking to accelerate and optimize their cloud strategy. vCloud Automation Center 6.0 was made Generally Available today (as promised). This release does more than update an existing platform — it sets the stage for what’s next for VMware, its Partners, and customers.

     vCAC 6.0 addresses real IT problems with the Business in mind. And it does this with “time to value” at the forefront. We’ve moved beyond the days of delivering cloud solutions that promise the world but start with a blank canvas, “Here’s your cloud…it can do anything…but first I’ll need 6 FTE’s and 18mos to turn it into something consumable…fingers crossed”. Sound familiar? Unfortunately that strategy is alive and well today. I call it “custom COTS” (commercial-off-the-shelf).

    What our customers are looking for is real COTS, something that delivers time to value and begins to address real IT problems immediately. A solution that promises ecosystem integration while allowing them to utilize existing investments. A solution that will help organizations realize the value of the Software-Defined Datacenter on day 1.…

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    vCAC 6.0 Implementation, Part 4 – Configuring vCAC IaaS Component

    To continue the momentum, now we dive into installing the IaaS components of vCAC.  Part 4 of this series walks you through the vCAC IaaS Installation Wizard, which is a significant improvement from previous versions. A few configuration details and GO!

    Again, the IaaS engine in vCAC 6 is the .NET-based component that is similar to previous versions of vCAC 5.x. For vCAC 6.0, IaaS is consumed through vCAC’s primary framework.  From VMware’s vCAC 6.0 Documentation:

    Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) enables the rapid modeling and provisioning of servers and desktops across virtual and physical, private and public, or hybrid cloud infrastructure. Modeling is accomplished by creating a machine blueprint, which is a complete specification for a virtual, cloud, or physical machine. Blueprints are published as catalog items in the common service catalog. When a user requests a machine based on one of these blueprints, IaaS handles the provisioning of the machine.
    IaaS also allows you to comprehensively manage the machine life cycle from a user request and administrative approval through decommissioning and resource reclamation. Built-in configuration and extensibility features also make IaaS a highly flexible means of customizing machine configurations and integrating machine provisioning and management with other enterprise-critical systems such as load balancers, configuration management databases (CMDBs), ticketing systems, IP Address management systems, or Domain Name System (DNS) servers.

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