vCloud Suite 5.1 Solution Upgrade Guide

By now you’ve probably heard all the hype around the 5.1 releases of VMware’s vSphere and vCloud platforms – and the vCloud 5.1 Suite, which bundles the latest versions of several VMware key IaaS-focused technologies and delivers a comprehensive cloud solution. The suite comes in 3 flavors – Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise.

 

If you’re an existing (active) customer of any of these products, there’s an upgrade and/or entitlement path to the suite for you – and it’s highly recommended that you take advantage of it. Or, at the very least, you can upgrade your individual products to 5.1 as you ponder the suite. Whether or not you choose to upgrade and take advantage of the latest and greatest features is up to you. But if you’re looking for increased scale, performance, efficiency, and capability while taking advantage of end-to-end advancements in VMware’s leading cloud technologies, then I would place upgrade at the top of your to-do list. (some of my peers suggest I’m drinking the Kool-Aid via fire hose….really?). Learn more about the suite here: http://www.vmware.com/products/datacenter-virtualization/vcloud-suite/overview.html.
The attached guide will walk you through, in detail, the upgrade steps and procedures for moving to vCloud Suite 5.1.
Upgrade Overview
Speaking of upgrade – and to get back on topic – I thought it would be beneficial to publish a how-to guide of sorts to help with upgrading from previous versions of the core infrastructure stack to version 5.1, taking in consideration the many co-dependencies of an active cloud deployment (VMware’s pubs and guides cover the process for individual products with plenty of detail, but not so much as a whole solution…yet).…

Heterogeneous Foundations for Cloud: Simply Overrated

Let me start by making a statement that you may or may not agree with – being heterogeneous is often a problem in need of a solution…not a strategy. Allow me to explain…

I spend a lot of time discussing VMware’s vCloud solution stack to many different customers, each with varying objectives when it comes to their cloud journey. The majority of them fall under two groups – Group A) those who know what they want and where to get it and Group B) those who think they know what they want and have been shopping for the “right” solution since before cloud hit the mainstream – one “cloud bake-off” after another while changing requirements in real-time. Can you guess which ones meet their objectives first? Hint: it’s the same group that delivers IaaS to their enterprise and/or customers using proven technologies and trusted relationships in the time it takes the other to host a bake-off.
For group A the requirements are straightforward – deliver me a solution (and technology) that meets exceeds all the characteristics of cloud [see: defining the cloud] so I can transform my infrastructure and deliver next generation IT to the business. Sound familiar? It should because this is where the greater majority is – whether they accept it with open arms or are trying to meet agency mandates (or both).…

vCloud Networking: Using vShield Edge for Firewall & Routing (without NAT)

The Challenge: You are providing cloud services for a tenant using vCloud Director (obviously!) and want to provide a dedicated [routed] subnet and firewall services that are managed by the tenant admins.  Apps deployed in this cloud will be utilizing shared infrastructure services – LDAP, patching, scanning, etc – outside the cloud, so you’re trying to avoid NAT due to possible complications introduced by masking/translating source IPs.  Sound familiar?  Read on…
The release of vCloud Director (vCD) v1.5 along with vShield Edge (VSE) v5.0 provided a significant number of in-cloud networking enhancements that put a smirk on the faces of socially awkward cloud geeks everywhere.  Okay, I’ll admit it – the networking capabilities VMware has baked into vCloud Director have been one of the most intriguing components of the solution.  The combination of vCD 1.5 and VSE 5.0, riding on top of vSphere’s native networking capabilities, provide the framework for enhanced (and industry-leading) networking options for your cloud.  Check out the vCD 1.5 Technical Whitepaper for more info on these and other enhancements.
Here are the cliff notes for those who don’t care to read the marketing stuff:
  • improved network isolation at several levels within the cloud,
  • enhanced firewall capabilities,
  • baked-in VPN tunnels and the ability to securely stretch tenant networks across clouds,
  • enhanced NAT’ing flexibility,
  • the addition of static routes and layer-3 routing
Speaking of static routes and layer-3 routing (yep, that’s the best transition I can come up with), I have found many of my customers questioning what is actually possible with the use of these features.  …

Are you ready for Cloud?

Are you ready for all that is cloud??  VMware recently released a cloud self-assessment questionnaire that walks you through your organization’s readiness in the following categories (from the site):

  • Strategy – Aligning business needs with IT capability.
  • Process – Streamlining and automating processes to achieve business agility.
  • Architecture – Establishing an enterprise architecture for this new IT infrastructure.
  • Technology – Designing and deploying your technology infrastructure from virtualization to cloud.
  • People and Governance – Creating the roles and  skills necessary to ensure company-wide adoption, and the accountability  framework and policies for stakeholder collaboration.
+++++
@virtualjad…

Why Cloud for Existing Apps?

The value proposition for a “green fields” cloud is reasonably clear — building new environment within vCloud’s framework helps enterprises add all the wonderful things above while streamlining:

  • Security – Integration and auto-provisioning of vShield Edge and multi-tenant security boundaries
  • Governance – Integration with Active Directory at the organizational level for tight security and control
  • Resource Allocations – defining resource allowances through the use of virtual data centers (ex: vDCs)
  • Agility / On-Demand Resources – utilizing vCloud’s allocation models to provide critical resources only as they are needed
  • Cost Transparency – Integration with cloud-aware Chargeback
  • Automation – using vClouds template libraries to rapidly deploy workloads within and across tenant clouds
  • Efficiency – further driving resource utilization using innovative technologies, automation, and governance
  • IT-as-a-Service – offering a highly automated, low-maintenance cloud infrastructure to consumers and allow IT to focus on delivering innovations that drive revenue growth
From a marketing perspective, we all know what cloud is expected to deliver — agility, security, control, etc — as well as the key characteristics of cloud computing — pooling of resources, elasticity, self-service, broad access, and automation.   But what does all this cloud talk mean to existing workloads?  I get that a lot, and most recently from a customer that forced me think about a good response (and not a packaged/salesy one). …