VMware vCloud Availability for vCloud Director 2.0 what’s new

vCloud Availability 2.0 is available for download today here. vCloud Availability for vCloud Director 2.0 delivers the following key enhancements:

    • vSphere 6.5 Support: Added support for vSphere 6.5 on the service provider side. This was missing in the previous release and many service providers were looking for it. The supported vSphere versions on the tenant side remain unchanged. For more interoperability and compatibility information about vCloud Availability for vCloud Director, see the Interoperability Pages for vCloud Availability for vCloud Director 2.0. Here is a screenshot of what the interoperability matrix look like.

vCloud Availability for vCloud Director Interop Matrix

    • 5-minutes Recovery Point Objective (RPO): vCloud Availability for vCloud Director 2.0 delivers an enhanced RPO support of 5-minutes compared to the previously supported RPO of 15 minutes.
    • Enhancements to vCloud Availability for vCloud Director Service Manager Portal: The Service Manager Portal, introduced in the vCloud Availability for vCloud Director 1.0.1.2 release, allows service providers to monitor and manage their DR environments. The current release includes usability and performance enhancements to improve the response time on the Inventory page and a new Tenant Impersonation feature. The new feature allows service providers to act as tenant users. Using the Tenant Impersonation feature, service providers can filter tenant organizations and perform DR operations using a tenant role, the same way a tenant user would.
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vCloud Director 9.0 is Ready for Download

vCloud Director 9.0 has been announced at VMworld with some exciting enhancements. I am positive most of our VCPP (VMware Cloud Partner Program) partners will be looking forward to many of these features. Just in case you have missed it, VCPP (VMware Cloud Partner Program) is the new name for the VCAN(vCloud Air Network) Program. In this post, I will be covering few of the spotlight features of vCD 9.0.

Before I start, I want to highlight that’s while many vCD releases in the past few years were more progressive, this one is more on revolutionary side. I would highly recommend service providers to start evaluating vCD 9.0, as soon it released out not to be left being none competitive with those who upgrade. The difference this time is not hidden in the API, but include major changes in the UI interface as well. Read below for more details, and download the bits at vCloud Director 9.0 Download Link to start testing it out in your labs.

  • Modernized HTML5 interface. vCloud Director 9.0 comes with a new much slicker and smoother graphical interface for the tenant portal based on HTML5 which is an evolution from the previous Flex graphical interface. While this one might not be in parity with the Flex version in version 9.0, which is why the Flex version will still be available in parralel, it will include  the most frequently used functionality.
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VMware Cloud Availability 1.0.1.2 Compatibility Matrix

VMware Cloud Availability (vCAv) is a solution provided by VMware to Service Providers to offer DRaaS with VMware Cloud Director(vCD) as a target.

VMware Cloud Availability vCAv

Two features that makes VMware vCloud Availability valuable to service providers are:

  • It support multi-tenancy out of the box: This means the Service Provider will not have to acquire a separate hardware and setup an isolated vSphere environment per client, which end up improving the TCO and ROI for both the Service Provider and their customers.
  • The vCenter/vSphere versions do not have to match between the service Provider and the Tenant. This is big as the service provider will have the liberty to board customers running a different version of vSphere and vCenter without having to impact the version they run on premise.

A question I am often asked lately when talking about VMware Cloud Availability is: Does the on premise environment of vSphere/vCenter have to match the versions used by the service provider and if not what versions are compatible? The short answer is no, for more info on the supported versions, look below.

Provider Versions

While vCD 8.20 and vSphere/vCenter 6.5 is recommended below is the different versions supported for the Service provider.

  • vCD 8.10, 8.10.1 or 8.20
  • vCenter 6.0u2+
  • ESXi 6.0u2+
  • Any NSX version certified by the vCD release selected above

Tenant Requirements

While vSphere/vCenter 6.0U2 and vSphere/vCenter 6.5 is the recommended versions for the Tenant, below is the full compatibility matrix and versions that can be used by the Tenant, which as you can see is pretty wide and goes all the way to vCenter 5.1 and ESXi 5.0.… Read More

vROPS Tenant App for VCD 1.0 is GA

The announcement of vROPS Tenant App for vCloud Director  1.0 is a great news to our vCloud Air Network Partners. vRealize Operations Tenant App for vCloud Director 1.0 is GA as of August 23, 2017! Now you can provide your customers with a better self-service monitoring solution that they were asking you for. This will provide a new monetizing opportunity for our vCAN Partners as well enhance their customers experience.

vRealize Operations Manager Tenant App for vCloud Director
It is a tenant facing application which provides a tenant administrator visibility to their vCloud Director environment. Service provider admin can enable access to the application to any tenant. It solves monitoring, troubleshooting and capacity planning use cases for a tenant. This is available only to service providers.

vRealize Operations management pack for vCloud Director

Highlights of what vROPS Tenant App for VCD 1.0 offers:

  • Extends vRealize Operations Manager to include vCloud Director constructs
  • Leverages vRealize Operations advanced analytics
  • Tenant specific monitoring, troubleshooting and capacity planning
  • Tenant Admin specific views to enable Operations Management solving monitoring, troubleshooting and capacity planning use cases
  • Provider Admin can pick and choose the tenants to whom access it to be provided. It can be provided as an extra addon.
  • Photon OS based Virtual appliance (OVA) for easier installation
  • H5 Client based on VMWare Clarity

 

Please note vROPS Tenant App for vCloud Director  1.0 has vRealize Operations Management Pack for vCloud Director as a pre-requisites.… Read More

VMware Hybrid Cloud Manager vs vCloud Connector

While some readers might be surprised of me comparing Hybrid Cloud Manager and vCloud Connector as many might assume that Hybrid Cloud Manager is replacing vCloud Connector, so why compare them. While this might be true in the long term, its still not the case today. While Hybrid Cloud Manager Excel at some of the features vCloud Connector used to deliver and add few that vCloud connector did not have, it still lack some of the features vCloud Connector had that you might still need. I have put this post to help you decided which one fit your need better or do you need both. Yes, there will be cases where you will need both products to co-exist.

Let’s compare Hybrid Cloud Manager and vCloud Connector on their merits in the different use cases:

Hybrid Cloud Manager vs vCloud Connector

Target Cloud it support:

  • Hybrid Cloud Manager is only meant to support VMware vCloud Air (Previously known by VMware Hybrid Cloud Service) Dedicated Cloud at the momement, where it will expand to the other vCloud Air offering in the near future. This might even expand to VMware vCloud Air Network providers in the future, but its not there yet.
  • vCloud Connector is currently supported with VMware vCloud Air, vCloud Director, and most VMware vCloud Air Network providers.
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VMware vCloud Hybrid Service vSphere Client Plug-in is here

VMware has just announced vCloud Hybrid Service vSphere Client Plug-in which will help VMware customers manage their VMs in VMware Hybrid Service the same way they manage their vSphere environment right from inside their vSphere Client (Only Web Client as you would guessed), which should increase administrators efficiency and reduce the time of learning a new interface as they will get to use the vSphere familiar interface to manage their VMs in the Cloud. vSphere Client will be your single pane of glass to VMs running in your datacenter and in VMware Hybrid Service. This is such a great achievement and will complement VMware Hybrid Cloud story.

vCHS vSphere Client Plug-in

vCloud Hybrid Service vSphere Client plug-in extends the familiar vSphere Web Client UI to vCloud Hybrid Service. With the vCHS plugin, from within the vSphere Client, customers can:

  • View and administer Dedicated Cloud and Virtual Private Cloud instances on vCHS
  • Browse, create and modify each cloud instance and manage its inventory of virtual data centers, gateways, and networks
  • Deploy virtual machines using catalog templates and modify existing VMs
  • Receive automatic updates on any changes made to their account via vCHS web portal

Resources:

Requirements:

  • vSphere Web Client 5.5  (No C+ Client)
  • vCloud Hybrid Service account with VPC or Dedicated cloud
  • Compatible Browsers:
    •   Windows: Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer
    • Mac: Chrome and Safari   (VMs Console Access does not work on Mac)
    • Linux: Firefox and Chrome

Demos:

Enjoy the new enhanced Experience of VMware vCloud Hybrid Service!

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vCloud Director VM Customization joining domain fail

Joining VMs to the domain is a part of vCloud Director VMs customization process. While configuring the guest customization screen for your VMs in vCloud Director to join the domain is a straight forward & easy process, there seems to be many situations where VMs just fail to join the domain as a part of the Windows VM customization process. The below list will help you try to pin point the problem and fix it as quickly as possible.

vCD Guest Customization joining Domain

vCD Guest Customization joining Domain

– First of all make sure to use DHCP for your IP assignment rather than Static IP Pool, as DHCP is a requirement for the vCloud Director Customization to be able to join VMs to the domain. This is pointed out in the following KB: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1026326, while I agree it could have been nice if it was stated a bit more clearly.

This seems to be the most missed issue with getting VMs to join the domain using the vCloud Director Customization, the reason it does not work with Static IP Pool, is that Sysprep reset the IP of the machine before joining the domain which has forced VMware to get the customization script to inject the IP of the Static IP pool after the joining the domain step is being completed by the Sysprep.… Read More

VMware vCloud Director Stuck While Canceling Task

I have a customer who called me yesterday for having a task in vCloud Director that has been stuck in the cancelling stage for over a month. The problem has started after a power outage they had in their datacenter. vCloud Director is operating just fine, just that particular task was doing nothing and in reality it was cancelled but in the vCloud GUI it kept saying “Cancelling Copy” as shown in the below screenshot.

vCloud Director Stuck on Canceling Copy

My customer was bugged by this and wanted to get rid of this message in his vCloud Director GUI, which we were able to do successfully by following the below procedure. Please note the following procedure will take your vCloud Director Portal down for few minutes, so you probably want to schedule it during an outage.  At a high level what is the below procedure will be doing is gracefully shutting down the vCD Cells then bringing them up, which should clean up any stuck cancellation tasks. Below is a step by step of how to do so:

  1. Log in to the target vCloud Director cells using SSH as root.
  2. Navigate to $VCLOUD_HOME/bin/ (typically /opt/vmware/cloud-director /bin/ ).
  3. Retrieve the current job status. This cell-management-tool command line supplies system administrator credentials and returns the count of running jobs (i.e.
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Configuring vCloud Director Provider SSO Federation

If you have already took the effort to build your vCenter Single Sign On server while upgrading to vSphere 5.1, then it might be worth while to benefit of it to unify your login to vCloud Director. Wouldn’t be nice if you don’t have to enter your credential separately for vCloud Director after you have already logged on to your vSphere Web Client or the opposite. Is not this the idea behind including SSO in vSphere 5.1. In this blog post, I will share with you the exact instructions on how to configure your vCloud Director to utilize vCenter SSO to login vCloud Admins to the system.

To configure vCloud Director 5.1.x provider SSO follow the below instructions:

  1. Log in to the vCloud Director as a system administrator.
  1. Navigate to Administration tab and select Federation under System Settings in the left pane.
  2. Under vSphere Services, click Register.
  1. Enter the following information, and click OK when done.
  1. Select Use vSphere Single Sign-On, and click Apply.
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How to get Redhat 6.2 Linux Second NIC to Ping

While trying to setup the Redhat Linux machine with two interfaces to install vCloud Director into it, I had some funny problem with my network cards configuration. I have not installed vCloud Director yet at that time, so I was sure it is some Redhat Linux or networking problem rather than vCloud Director in specific. The problem I had, that I was able to ping one of the two NICs IPs from a different subnet, where I could not get the second NIC which I was planning to use for vCloud Director Remote Console to ping. Other machines within the same subnet were able to ping both NICs IPs, while machines from other subnets can only ping the IP of the first NIC.

I checked my network cards configurations and confirmed it had a gateway configured into them, as that seemed to me to be nothing but a routing/default gateway configuration problem. After fuzzing for few hours with this problem and trying every trick that is known to mankind with routing on Linux, I landed on the following post How To Install vCloud Director on RHEL 6.2 – No GUI by Kenny Coleman which explain the solution to the same problem.… Read More

The Order of vCloud Director 5.1 Upgrade Process

It seems there has been quite few articles that try to explain the vCloud Director 5.1 Upgrade Process out there in the blog sphere, but most of them focus on the steps on how to upgrade vCloud Director Cells and the Database. As many of them do quite good job at that, I am not going to re-invent the wheel and will just list few of them through this blog post. Though what seems to me missing of most of these articles is the order to carry out the vCloud Director environment components upgrade process in.

vCloud Director includes quite few moving parts and integrations, so you will need to ensure you upgrade all of these pieces in the correct order to avoid mixing incompatible products versions and wreck your vCloud environment. In such a situation, VMware interoperability matrix is your big friend and can be accessed at: http://partnerweb.vmware.com/comp_guide2/sim/interop_matrix.php?

Alright, Alright, you already know where to find the interoperability matrix, but still scratching your head which product to upgrade first & which one second. Do you upgrade vCenter Chargeback, vCloud Director, vCenter, or vShield first & in what order should you upgrade all of these components involved in your vCloud Solution.… Read More

Free VMware vCloud Director Video Training

Cloud Computing has been picking up for the past few year, and it seems to catch up with the way virtualization has been spreading up. VMware has been one of the leading companies enabling both public and private clouds. One of the main products helping our customers build their own Infrastructure As A Service Cloud or as many call it IAAS is vCloud Director. vCloud Director has added an extra abstract layer over virtualization & quite few terminologies that many customers are still not aware of and can get initially confused by it. For that VMware has released a series of videos that will help you pickup on vCloud Director quickly. Don’t miss them out they are really worth watching out & over all its free! These videos can be found at the following link: http://vmwarelearning.com/vcloud/ or for your convenience I have included them in this blog post below:
 
1- Learn vCloud Director Concepts and Architecture in the below video:
 

 
2- Installing vCloud Director 1.5 Video

 

 

3- Creating Provider Resources in vCloud Director
 

 

4- Creating Organizations in vCloud Director
 

 
5- Creating Organization Resources Part 1 in vCloud Director
 

 
6- Creating Organization Resources Part 2 in vCloud Director
 

 
7- Creating and Populating Catalogs in vCD
 

 
8- Building a vApp in vCloud Director
 

 
9-Creating vShield Edge Firewall Rules
 

 
10- Creating Site-to-Site VPNs
 

 
11- Creating Static Routes.… Read More

vCloud Director joining VMs to specific Active Directory Domain OU

While VMware vCloud Director 1.5.1 has a lot of flexibility, one thing it seems missing is getting VMs to join a specific OU in Active Directory Domain. Making your vApps VMs join a particular domain is quite easy using the vCloud Director web interface. All you have to do is to configure your domain information in your vCD, then configure the join domain parameters as showing in the below screenshot.

vCloud Director Guest customization joining AD
While configuring vCD to a level where it get vAPP VMs to join a specific Active Directory Domain is a straight forward task, getting those vAPP VMs to join in a specific OU require a bit more work and can be challenging for a first time vCD user. Actually vCD 1.5.1 does not have that capability out of the box by just using the web interface, but you will have to integrate it with vCO or create your own domain joining script.

Note: This has changed in vCD 5.1 & now you can do it directly from the GUI though if you still using vCD 1.5.x then please utilize the instruction below.

While many admins will panic when they hear that they have to create their script, in this scenario its easy enough that every one should be able to complete the task in less than 10 minutes.… Read More

vCloud Director 1.5 step by step (Part1: Pre-requisite)

I have finally come back to this, as I have been planning to do this for a while. I have for a while wanted to document how to create your own small vCloud environment maybe for a lab, demo, or just testing the product and learning how its setup. I have lately put different scattered vCloud Director 1.5 articles, but they were in no sequence. I thought maybe I should create a vCloud Director 1.5 environment creation tutorial then build and add links to my other vCloud Director articles to it. OK, lets start.

Before you even start by thinking about creating a vCloud environment, there is pre-requisite that you need to meet. I am pretty sure you were expecting this is coming. Below is what you should have before hand to be able to continue with the below tutorial.

VMware vCloud Director 1.5 setup pre-requisite:

– vSphere Infrastructure: to setup vCloud Director, you will need to have a vSphere Infrastructure in place. You can achieve this with one vCenter and one ESXi host(5.0 recommended, 4.0 U2 or greater required), but I would recommend you at lease use two ESXi host to avoid the fuzz of having to install the vCloud Director agent manually, if you have to stick with a single host then you might want to check the following post during the vCloud Director agent installation stage: Installing vCloud Director Agent Manually.… Read More

vCloud Director 1.5.1 not showing Blocking Tasks

I have been doing some testing lately with vCloud Director 1.5.1 & working with blocking tasks was one of them. I have configured blocking tasks for “Instantiate vApp from Template”, so the task of deploying a vApp will be blocked and I get to approve it before continuing as shown in the below screen shot.

VMware vCloud Director blocking tasks

Although when ever I tested to deploy a vAPP the vAPP deployment was blocked and give a “pending processing” status as expected and showing in the screen shot below, I could not see the task anywhere under my blocking tasks.

VMware vCD Blocking vApp pending processing

Below is a screen shot of my blocking tasks which is oddly did not show up any pending tasks, although I am sure I had one in there as you can see from the above screenshot.

vCloud Director blocking taks no pending processing

This is was kinda shocking to me at first, as I knew this was showing earlier in vCloud Director 1.5 at my home lab. After communicating to few colleagues in VMware, I have discovered that vCloud Director 1.5.1 is having this kinda of behavior when initiating the task as a system admin user. Its important to note though that it work just fine if you initiate your actions as an Org admin or user.… Read More