The release and support of VXLAN has raised a great level of interest in the community. As one of the first to deliver content with regards to VXLAN implementation examples I’ve been approach by customer and colleagues with questions around VXLAN architecture designs and use cases. For the most part, I see there is a large audience not really up to speed with the logistics of VXLAN as it relates to vSphere and vCloud infrastructures supported implementation scenarios. The knowledge gap is not entirely around the value of VXLAN technology but more around the architectures and uses cases where it can successfully be used today.
Based on my experiences lately, the use of VXLAN becomes the topic of conversation whenever connecting multiple data centers where each site has separate vSphere/vCloud Infrastructure becomes to topic of conversation. I can see how some folks have been mislead into thinking VXLAN is the answer for that as they can now leverage VXLAN to connect multiple vCenter Server and vCloud Director infrastructure together today. Well the truth is that plain and simple VXLAN CANNOT be use as the technology to connect multiple vCenter Server and vCloud Director environments today.
The reality is that with the current release of VXLAN there is no supported way of connecting multiple vSphere or vCloud Infrastructures together. Considering the platforms architectures and components both vSphere and vCloud based infrastructures have a lot of dependencies and moving parts which makes it very challenging to integrate in a way that would make that possible today. From what I understand this is something that all of the partners involved with the development of the VXLAN technology are looking to address soon.
One of the publications which I have found a lot of people reading and using as guidance for vCloud Director is the vCloud Architecture Toolkit (vCAT). As part of the vCAT implementation examples we have included a couple of VXLAN scenarios one of them being around disaster recovery and based on conversation this very topic I’ve noticed that some people have overlooked or missed one critical piece of the information discussed and illustrated as part of that example.
As one of the contributors to the vCloud Architecture Toolkit (vCAT) I have to come out and defend some of the misconceptions folks are gathering around the VXLAN implementation example in vCAT topic. The VXLAN disaster recovery example scenario is based around a stretched cluster scenario, and not two separate infrastructures. Two physical data centers in two different locations with one logical datacenter (vSphere/vCloud) spanning both physical data centers.
Recently I’ve been writing and publishing a series of articles on the vSphere Storage Appliance on the VMware Storage blog. There is quite of bit of interest on this solution now that it supports centralize and de-centralized management of multiple VSA Clusters. One of the new features of the VSA 5.1 is that it allows you to centrally manage multiple two node or three node clusters from a single instance of vCenter Server. I’ve covered the VSA centralized management for ROBO topic in lengthy details in the VMware Storage blog so I recommend reading those articles to get up to speed on that.
One of the big topics around the use of VSA for ROBO is around the correct use and deployment of the VSA Cluster Service (VSACS). It’s important to know that all scenarios that will be based on two clusters require the deployment of the VSACS. The requirements for this solution demands for the VSACS to reside outside of the resources provided by the VSA Cluster in order to avoid VSA Cluster service outages. The options available for the deployment of the VSACS range from using an virtual machine, an existing shared physical system or an inexpensive hardware appliance that meets the applications requirements.
So in an effort to simplify implementation and even possibly reduce the cost around the management and implementation of two node VSA cluster scenarios the utilization of the vMA appliance can be considered. The vMA appliance i snow build on top of one of the Linux distribution (SLES) supported by the VSACS and it presents the following benefits to this solution:
- Preconfigured and support Operating system
- Free of charge
- Small footprint
I recently posted an article about Architecting Storage Offering for vCloud Director 5.1. In the article I discussed new architecture considerations for the latest version of vCloud Director.
The middle of the article focuses around the use of Storage Profiles among other vSphere features that can now be leveraged by vCloud Director.
When I referenced the use of Storage Profiles I stated the following:
“The “*(Any)” storage profile is there by default, but it should not be included as part of any PVDC without considering the possible performance and operational risks.”
The reason for my statement was due to the possible risks any vCloud Director infrastructure can be exposed to without the correct use and understanding of the new storage features and capabilities discussed in the article.
As I’ve said before, vCloud Director is now capable of leveraging some of the vSphere storage technologies. For the most part, a majority of the storage related configurations are defined outside of the vCloud Director interface i.e. VM Storage Profile, Storage Clusters, etc. Cormac Hogan wrote an excellent article about the configuration and use of Storage Profiles. It’s a Must Read!
Storage Profiles are defined, organized, and configured in vSphere. The majority of the time we tend to label them by referencing precious metals. An example of that is illustrated in the figure below.
Earlier this year I got a chance to team up with some of my colleagues and deliver a couple of presentations for VMworld 2012 in San Francisco and Barcelona. Two of those sessions were nominated VMworld 2012 Top 10 Most Popular Sessions.
One of those session was called “Architecting a Cloud Infrastructure”. In this session Duncan Epping, Aiden Daigleish, Chris Colotti, and myself (Dave Hill was listed as a speaker as well but he could’t make it). We discussed various design considerations topics when architecting cloud infrastructures.
The panel styled session lead by four VCDX’s focused on architecture and design strategies. The initial discussions of the session were pre-vCloud Suite 5.1 release and therefore the technical and product examples we used initially were based on vSphere 5.0 and vCloud 1.5.
Later that week after the vCloud Suite 5.1 was announced we adjusted and included vCloud Suite 5.1 in our discussions. Overall the topics we covered were based on a building block approach which are irrelevant to any product version in some degree.
Some of the key topics of discussion were on areas such as customers requirements, use cases, capacity management, availability, best practices, compute, storage, security design amongst a few others.
Based on the recent minor product update released today for the vCloud Suite 5.1.0A there is no better time to get up to speed with what’s up and what’s hot with regards to VMware documentation. there is great deal of new documentation and information that all VMware users and customers have catch up with. Tracking down all the content VMware publishes for all the different products can be very challenging and time consuming.
Recently, VMware released a solution to facilitate the access to published content, and other media. The solution comes in the form of an iPad application design to provide a centralized portable repository that automatically synchronizes with VMware’s content repositories as content is published.
Aside from the accessibility benefit to the documentation one of my favorite features is the access to all the vCloud Suite related videos that are accessible via the application. The videos and content can even be downloaded for offline viewing.
The king of all things automation with PowerCLI Alan Renouf posted an article about the application in which he even presented several screen shots of the application in action.
The VMware KMP application is available of the iPad, not sure where things currently stand for an Android version. For now that of you that have iPad’s get on it. The figure below is a screen shot of the application playing one of the videos
VMware KMP iPad Application with Video
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