Category Archives: vCloud

Released: vCloud Director 9.1 – New HTML5 Features, vCD-CLI and more!

Overnight VMware released vCloud Director 9.1 (build 7905680) which builds on the 9.0 release that came out last September. This continues to deliver on VMware’s promise to release major vCD updates every six months or so. This update, on the surface contains fewer big ticket items than the 9.0 release however the enhancements included are actually significant and continue to build on where 9.0 left off.

New Features and Enhancements:
  • Enhanced Tenant Portal
  • HTML Provider Portal
  • User Interface Extensibility
  • Service Integration
  • Standalone VMRC
  • Multi-Site Management View
  • SR-IOV
  • FIPS Mode
  • Python SDK
  • vCD-CLI
  • vRealize Orchestrator Integration
Enhanced Tenant Portal:

The new Tenant UI features include vApp and Catalog enhancements while delivering on probably the biggest pain point with the Flex UI tenant portal…that is OFV/OVA management. We now have native upload and download integration without the need for the client integration plugin.

You now also get an overview of resources consumed in your Virtual Datacenters and also get a view of the multiple organisation feature introduced into 9.0.

A new Provider Portal has been seeded in this release and at the moment can only be used for the new vRealise Orchestrator extensibility functionality. The administrator can import workflows from vRO through the import option. An administrator clicks the import workflow button, selects the vRO instance, and then chooses all the workflows they would like to import. On that note, there is an updated vRO Plug-In that allows both providers and tenants to automate tasks from the portal which is an excellent feature.

There is also a new workflow for the provision of standalone VMs and vApps.

Standalone VMRC:

If the management of OVAs/OVFs wasn’t the number one pain point with the FlexUI then the next one would have had to be the pain caused by the lack of functionality in the Console window. A HTML VM console is supported in version 9.0, but 9.1 now adds support for standalone VMware Remote Console. The VMRC provides more functions such for the tenant and significantly improves access to the VM consoles and gives greater flexibility accessing the VMs.

vCD-CLI:

I’ve blogged about the old VCA-CLI on a number of occasions and it’s great to see the project officially brought back into the vCD world. Development on this stopped for a while with the demise of vCloud Air, however I’m glad to see it picked up on as it’s a great tool for managing vCloud Director tenant Organisations and objects from a command line without having to get stuck into the APIs directly. It’s also used for the new Container Services Extension that has also been released side by side with this release of vCD.

Compatibility with Veeam, vSphere 6.5 and NSX-v 6.4.x:

vCloud Director 9.1 is compatible with vSphere 6.5 Update 1 and NSX-v 6.4 and supports full interoperability with other versions as shown in the VMware Product Interoperability Matrix. With regards to Veeam support, I am sure that our QA department will be testing the 9.1 release against our integration pieces at the first opportunity they get, but as of now, there is no ETA on offical support.

A list of known issues can be found in the release notes.

Conclusion:

Overall this is a very strong release with a lot of emphasis on extensibility behind the visual enhancements and functionality of the ever evolving HTML Tenant UI. As usual, I’ll look to write a few more blog posts on specific 9.1 features over the next couple of weeks.

There is a White Paper where you can find more details about what’s contained in the 9.1 release. Tom Fojta and Daniel Paluszek VMware have a what’s new blog posts as well.

#LongLivevCD

References:

https://blogs.vmware.com/vcloud/files/2018/03/vcd91newfeatureswp.pdf

VMware vCloud Director 9.1 is out!

vCloud Director Tenant UI: Dude…Where is my VM Web Console?

As most of you should know buy now, vCloud Director 9.0 features a new HTML5 Tenant UI Portal which is not only very pretty, but also functional. As of the 9.0 release the HTML5 Tenant UI has a limited scope of functionality compared to the legacy Flex based web console but is still a great example of where vCD is going in terms of continuing to enhance vCD.

I was having a discussion on Slack with Mark Ukotic talking about future vCD releases when he commented that he was looking forward to the Web Console coming to the HTML5 UI. To which I said “It was already there!” He replied saying “Really?” to which I replied…

On the Virtual Machines page, you can click on the VMware graphic which will open a Web Console window.

You won’t see the mouse change to indicate that the area is hot, which is why most people assume that the option to launch the Web Console isn’t there. But if you click on it, the Web Console window will pop up and you will be able to interact with the VM.

It is a very limited console in terms of remote actions you can perform. There is a lot more functionality in the VMware Remote Console…hopefully we will see that available to launch through the new Tennant UI in upcoming versions.

If the VM if powered off you will get the following message if you try to click on the image.

So there you have it! The Web Console is there in the new HTML5 Tenant UI in vCloud Director 9.0…it’s not super obvious, but it is there!

#LongLivevCD

Released: vCloud Director 9.0.0.2 – Important Networking Fixes!

Last week VMware put out a new point release for vCloud Director 9.0 (Build 7553273) for Service Providers. While there is nothing new in this release there are a significant number of resolved issues as listed in the release notes. One thing to mention is that even though this was released during a similar timeframe to NSX-v 6.4 there is no offical compatibility just yet.

Reading through the list of resolved issues there where some pretty impactful errors that seem to be related mostly to NSX operations and networking in general.

  • Deleting a Provider VDC can corrupt VXLAN network pools that are in use After you delete a Provider VDC, its associated VXLAN network pool becomes unusable by organization VDCs backed by other Provider VDCs.
  • The Redeploy an Edge Gateway from vCloud Director task succeeds instantly but the Edge does not actually redeploy in NSX When you attempt to redeploy an Edge Gateway from vCloud Director, the API initiates a task in vCloud Director and in vCenter Server but does not send a redeploy request to the NSX server. As a consequence, the Edge Gateway does not redeploy.
  • Registration of an NSX Server fails when you supply the credentials of an SSO user vCloud Director SSO users are not authorized to access an NSX endpoint required for registration, so registration fails.
  • Changes on Edge Gateway Services are not synchronized between vCloud Director and NSX When you modify one of the Edge Gateway Services, for example by creating a Static Route, the change is saved on the vCloud Director side but cannot be saved on the NSX server.
  • Creating or updating a firewall rule for an Advanced Gateway Portal with enabling the Show only user-defined rules toggle causes the action of the default firewall rule to change. When you create a new firewall rule or update an existing rule for an Advanced Gateway Portal, if you enable the Show only user-defined rules toggle, the action of the default firewall rule changes incorrectly to match the last modified rule.
  • Deleting an external network that uses a distributed virtual port group with a Private VLAN does not work When you try to delete an external network that is liked to a private VLAN associated with a distributed virtual port group (dvPortgroup), the deletion fails with an InternalError: Only single VLAN or trunk VLAN is supported error message.
  • You cannot add a DNAT rule configuring an original or a translated port or port range through the tenant portal When you attempt to add a DNAT rule from the Edge Gateway screen in the tenant portal, you cannot enter either a port or a port range in the Original Port and the Translated Port text boxes.
  • Creating a SNAT or a DNAT network rule by using a public IP address that is not associated to a particular network interface fails When you try to create a SNAT or a DNAT network rule for either an internal or an external interface in vCloud Director, if the public IP address is not added to a particular network interface, you receive a the following error message:
  • Configuring a static route fails if you set the gateway of an external network as a next hop IP address When you configure a static route for an organization network, if you enter the address of an existing default gateway in the Next Hop IP text box, saving the static route configuration fails with the following error message:

Good to seem them fixing issues quickly but it also tells me that a lot of people participating in the beta for 9.0 didn’t test deep enough against real word scenarios…a lot of what is listed above isn’t what you would consider corner cases. These issues should have bene picked up before going to GA. Possibly also shows that a lot of VCPP Service Providers haven’t upgraded to 9.0 just yet. In any case the vCloud product development team has been hard at work resolving the bugs and Service Providers should be confident deploying or upgrading to 9.0 now.

#LongLivevCD

If you are a vCAN SP and have the right entitlements follow this link to download vCloud Director 9.0.0.2:

References:

https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vCloud-Director-for-Service-Providers/9.0.0.2/rn/rel_notes_vcloud_director_9-0-0-2.html

 

 

Awarded vExpert Cloud – A New vExpert Sub Program

Last week Corey Romero announced the inaugural members of the vExpert Cloud sub-program. This is the third vExpert sub-program following the vSAN and NSX programs announced last year. There are 135 initial vExpert Cloud members who have been awarded the title. As it so happens I am now a member of all three which reflects on the focus I’ve had and still have around VMware’s cloud, storage and networking products leading up to and after my move to Veeam last year.

Even with my move, that hasn’t stopped me working around these VMware vertices as Veeam works closely with VMware to offer supportability and integration with vCloud Director as well as being certified with vSAN for data protection. And more recently as it pertains specifically to the vExpert Cloud program, we are going to be supporting vCloud
Director in v10 of Backup & Replication for Cloud Connect Replication and also at VMworld 2017 we where announced as a launch partner for data protection for VMware Cloud on AWS.

For those wondering what does it take to be a part of the vExpert Cloud program:

We are looking for vExperts who are evangelizing VMware Cloud and delivering on the principles of the multi-cloud world being the new normal. Specificity we are looking for community activities which follow the same format as the vExpert program (blogs, books, videos, public speaking, VMUG Leadership, conference sessions speaking and so on).

And in terms of the focus of the vExpert Cloud program:

The program is focused on VMware Cloud influencer activities, VMware, AWS and other cloud environments and use of the products and services in way that delivers the VMware Cloud reality of consistency across multi-cloud environments.

Again, thank you to Corey and team for the award and I look forward to continuing to spread the community messaging around Cloud, NSX and vSAN.

Released: vCloud Director 8.10 and 8.20 Point Updates

Last week VMware snuck out two point releases for vCloud Director 8.10 and 8.20. For those still running those versions you now have 8.10.1.1 (Build 6878548) and for 8.20 there 8.20.0.2 (Build 6875354) available for download. These are both patch upgrades and resolve a number of bugs, some of which appear to be mirrored in both versions.

Scanning the Release Notes, below are some of the more notable fixes:

8.10

  • Resource limit change for a vCloud Edge Gateway Resolves an issue where the memory limit for a compact and full-4 Edge Gateway was insufficient. Memory was increased from 512MB to 2048MB
  • Performing hardware changes to a VM fails Resolves an issue where performing hardware changes to a VM in vCloud Director fails with an error message:
  • Degraded performance due to insufficient memory Resolves an issue that could lead to an insufficient memory reservation of the NSX Edge VMs, which might cause poor performance.
  • Catalog synchronization failure Resolves an issue where synchronization of a remote catalog item fails with an out of memory, causing the vCloud Director cell to crash.

8.20

  • Incorrect status update for VMs storage profile or disk-level storage Resolves an issue that could cause a VM storage profile or disk-level storage profile to be updated incorrectly when the VM is included in a recompose operation. This fix ensures that PvdcComputeGuaranteeValidator runs even when the deployment fails in Pay-As-You-Go allocation model. With this fix, the undeploy workflow ignores the VM deployment state if the undeploy operation is called with a force=true flag.
  • Failure to move virtual machines between shared datastores Resolves a storage issue where moving a virtual machine from one shared datastore to another fails.
  • Failure to revert VM snapshots Resolves an issue that could cause reverting to a virtual machine snapshot to fail
  • Failure to allocate an external IP address and a gateway IP address Resolves several issues in managing the allocation of external IP a gateway IP addresses during VM boot and runtime when the NAT service is enabled and IP Translation is set manually.
  • Failure to delete Organization VDC Resolves an issue that could cause various operations to fail.

So a small point release for good to see the team continuing to improve the platform for those not yet able to upgrade to the latest 9.0 release. If you have the entitlements, head to the MyVMware site to download the builds.

References:

http://pubs.vmware.com/Release_Notes/en/vcd/81011/rel_notes_vcloud_director_8-10-1-1.html

http://pubs.vmware.com/Release_Notes/en/vcd/82002/rel_notes_vcloud_director_8-20-0-2.html

vCloud Director 9.0: Digging into the new Standalone VM Feature

vCloud Director 9.0 was released late last month and brought with it a number of big new features and enhancements. If you are interested in a overview of what’s new, head here to my launch post. Getting back to this post I wanted to focus on what I think is a significant change to the way in which workloads are thought about in vCD…the Standalone VM.

Standalone Virtual machines can be instantiated and viewed along with virtual machines as part of a vApp container. A filter button creates a list based on Virtual machines, virtual applications or both.

The vApp container construct in vCloud Director carries divided opinion from both services providers and customers of vCD with one side liking the fact that VMs could be grouped into logical vApps and treated as a like group or VMs such as an Exchange Cluster. While others wanted the ability to deploy standalone VMs that where more like VM instances you find in public clouds. Historically from a programatic point of view the creation of a VM within a vApp had it’s challenges in a chicken and egg type of scenario where by the composition and recomposiontion of the VM within the vApp required a specific order. This was improved from 8.0 with enhancements to vApp functionality, including the ability to reconfigure virtual machines within a vApp, and network connectivity and virtual machine capability during vApp instantiation.

Standalone Virtual Machines:

In vCloud Director 9.0 you can now create and configure individual Virtual Machines form the new HTML5 Tenant UI. Under the compute menu you now have a Virtual Machines and vApps tab. From here you can view either standalone VMs, VMs in a vApp or both. This is also where you can create a new VM. Note that you can’t create new vApps from the new UI just yet…that still needs to be done in the Flash based UI.

You now have the ability to choose from three pre-canned instance sizes which come with default resources depending on the type of VM selected. However you can still customize the VM as shown below.

When provisioned the VM is available from the new tenant UI with all the normal operations possible. The biggest difference here is that you don’t need to worry about the vApp state and that it’s independent from any other VMs. As a side note as it’s not 100% obvious, to view the console of the VM click on the icon top right of the Virtual Machine box.

Standalone VMs in vCenter and Flash UI:

Taking a look under the covers of the HTML5 UI the standalone VMs are represented slightly differently in vCenter. in Previous versions each VM was created with the VM name plus a UUID…when a standalone VM is created the VM name is just that…the VM name.

However what is interesting is when you look in the Flash UI you will see that in fact the standalone VM is still contained within a vCD vAPP construct.

So in effect, that HTML5 UI is presenting the VM as standalone, but in actual fact there is still a one to one relationship with a vApp under the covers. Taking a look back in vCenter under the folder view it’s more representative of what you see in the Flash UI.

Standalone VMs via the API:

Querying the API shows that the Standalone VMs are indeed composed within a traditional vCD vApp.

References:

https://docs.vmware.com/en/vCloud-Director/9.0/rn/rel_notes_vcloud_director_90.html

Enabling, Configuring and Viewing Metrics in vCloud Director 9.0

Last week I released a post on configuring Cassandra for vCloud Director 9.0 metrics. As a refresher, one of the cool features released in vCloud Director SP 5.6.x was the ability to expose VM metrics that service providers could expose to their clients via a set of API calls. With the release of vCloud Director 9.0, the metrics can now be viewed from the new HTML5 tenant UI, meaning that all service providers should be able to offer this to their customers.

With the Cassandra configuration out of the way, the next step is to use the Cell Management Tool to tell the vCD cells to push the VM Metric data. Before this, if you log into the HTML5 UI you will notice no menu for Monitoring…this only gets enabled once the metrics have have been enabled by the tool.

The command has changed from previous versions in line with removing the dependancy on the KairosDB and we are now calling a cassandra argument that has the following options:

Those familiar with the previous command to configure the metrics will see a lot more options that specify the Cassandra nodes, the original command to configure the schema, the username and password to connect to the Cassandra database with and the ttl for the data, meaning that if you wanted you could keep more than two weeks of data.

If you tail the Cassandra system.log while the process is happening you will see a bunch of tables being created and populated with the initial data.

With the done, if you go into the new HTML5 Tenant UI and go to the Virtual Machine view you should now see a Monitoring Chart drop down in the menu in the main window. From here you can choose any of the available metrics across a half hour, hour, day and week timescale.

API Calls to Retrieve Current and Historical Metrics:

If you still want to go old school the following API Calls are used to gather current and historical VM metrics for vCD VMs. The Machine ID required used the VM GUID as seen in vCenter. The ID can be sourced from the VM Name. The vCD Machine ID shown below in the brackets is what you are after.



Configuring Cassandra for vCloud Director 9.0 Metrics

One of the cool features released in vCloud Director SP 5.6.x was the ability to expose VM metrics that service providers could expose to their clients via a set of API calls. Some service providers took advantage of this and where able to offer basic VM metrics to their tenants through customer written portals. Zettagrid was one of those service providers and while I was at Zettagrid, I worked with the developers to get VM metrics out to our customers.

Part of the backend configuration to enable the vCloud Director cells to export the metric data was to stand up a Cassandra/KairosDB cluster. This wasn’t a straight forward exercise but after a bit of tinkering due to a lack of documentation, most service providers where able to have the backend in place to support the metrics.

With the release of vCloud Director 9.0, the requirement to have KairosDB managed by Apache has been removed and metrics can now be accessed natively in Cassandra using the cell management tool. Even cooler is that the metrics can now be viewed from the new HTML5 tenant UI, meaning that all service providers should be able to offer this to their customers.

Cassandra is an open source database that you can use to provide the backing store for a scalable, high-performance solution for collecting time series data like virtual machine metrics. If you want vCloud Director to support retrieval of historic metrics from virtual machines, you must install and configure a Cassandra cluster and use the cell-management-tool to connect the cluster to vCloud Director. Retrieval of current metrics does not require optional database software.

The vCloud Director online docs have a small install guide but it’s not very detailed. It basically says to install and configure the Cassandra cluster with four nodes, two of which are seed nodes, enabling encryption and user authentication with Java Native Access installed. Not overly descriptive. I’ve created an script below that installs and configures a basic single node Cassandra cluster that will suffice for most labs/testing environments.

Setting up Cassandra on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS:

I’ve forked an existing bash script on Github and added modifications that goes through the installation and configuration of Cassandra 2.2.6 (as per the vCD 9.0 release notes) on a single node, enabling authentication while disabling encryption in order to keep things simple.

This will obviously work on any distro that supports apt-get. Once configured you can view the Cassandra status by using the nodetool status command as shown below.

The manual steps for the Cassandra installation are below…note that they don’t include the configuration file changes required to enable authentication and set the seeds.

From here you are ready to configure vCD to push the metrics to the Cassandra database. I’ll cover that in a seperate post.

References:

https://docs.vmware.com/en/vCloud-Director/9.0/com.vmware.vcloud.install.doc/GUID-E5B8EE30-5C99-4609-B92A-B7FAEC1035CE.html

https://www.vmware.com/content/dam/digitalmarketing/vmware/en/pdf/vcloud/vmware-vcloud-director-whats-new-9-0-white-paper.pdf

vCloud Director 9.0: Manual Quick fix for VXLAN Network Pool Error

vCloud Director 9.0, released last week has a bunch of new enhancements and a lot of those are focused around it’s integration with NSX. Tom Fojta has a what’s new page on the go with a lot of the new features being explained. One of his first posts just after the GA was around the new feature of being able to manually create VXLAN backed Network Pools.

VXLAN Network Pool is recommended to be used as it scales the best. Until version 9, vCloud Director would create new VXLAN Network Pool automatically for each Provider VDC backed by NSX Transport Zone (again created automatically) scoped to cluster that belong to the particular Provider VDC. This would create multiple VXLAN network pools and potentially confusion which to use for a particular Org VDC.

In vCloud Director 9.0 we now have the option of creating a VXLAN backed network pool manually instead of one being created at the time of a setting up a Provider vDC. In many of my environments for one reason or another the automatic creation of VXLAN network pool together with NSX would fail. In fact my current NextedESXi SliemaLabs vCD instance shows the following error:

There is a similar but less serious error that can be fixed by changing the replication mode from within the NSX Web Client as detailed here by Luca, however like my lab I’ve know a few people to run into the more serious error as shown above. You can’t delete the pool and a repair operation will continue to error out. Now in vCD 9.0 we can create a new VXLAN Network Pool form the Transport Zones created in NSX.

Once that’s been done you will have the newly created VXLAN Network Pool that’s truly more global and tied to best practice for NSX Transport Zones and one that can be used with the desired replication mode. The old one will remain, but you can now configure Org vDCs to consume the VXLAN backed network pool over the traditional VLAN backed pool.

References:

vCloud Director 9: What’s New

vCloud Director 9: Create VXLAN Network Pool

Released: vCloud Director 9.0 – The Most Significant Update To Date!

Today is a good day! VMware have released to GA vCloud Director 9.0 (build 6681978) and with it come the most significant feature and enhancements of any previous vCD release. This is the 9th major release of vCloud Director, now spanning nearly six and half years since v1.0 was released in Feburary of 2011 and as mentioned from my point of view it’s the most significant update of vCloud Director to date.

Having been part of the BETA program I’ve been able to test some of the new features and enhancements over the past couple of months and even though from a Service Provider perspective there is a heap to like about what is functionally under the covers, but the biggest new feature is without doubt the HTML5 Tenant Portal however as you can see below there is a decent list of top enhancements.

Top Enhancements:

 

  • Multi-Site vCD – Single Access point URL for all vCD instances within same SP federated via SSO
  • On-premises to Cloud Migration – Plugin that enables L2 connectivity, warm and cold migration
  • Expanded NSX Integration – Security Groups, Logical Routing for east-west traffic and audit logging
  • HTML5 Tenant UI – Streamlined workflows for VM deployment, UI Extensibility for 3rd party services/functionality
  • HTML5 Metrics UI – Basic Metrics for VMs shown through tenant portal
  • Extensible Service Framework – Service enablement, SSO Ready
  • Application Extensibility – Plugin Framework
  • PostGres 9.5 Support – In addition to MSSQL and Oracle, Postgres is now supported.
  • …and more under the hood bits

I’m sure there will be a number of other blog posts focusing on the list above, and i’ll look to go through a few myself over the next few weeks but for this GA post I wanted to touch on the new HTML5 Tenant UI.

There is a What’s New in vCloud Director 9.0 PDF here.

New HTML5 Tenant UI:

The vCD team laid the foundation for this new Tenant UI in the last release of vCD in bringing the NSX Advanced HTML5 UI to version 8.20. While most things have been ported across there may still be a case for tenants to go back to the old Flex UI to do some tasks, however from what I have seen there is close to 100% full functionality.

To get to the new HTML5 Tenant UI you go to: https://<vcd>/tenant/orgname

Once logged in you are greeted with a now familiar looking VMware portal based on the Clarity UI. It’s pretty, it’s functional and it doesn’t need Flash…so haters of the existing flex based vCD portal will have to bite their tongues now 🙂

The Networking menu is inbuilt into this same Tenant portal and you you can access it directly from the new UI, or in the same way as was the case with vCD 8.20 from the flex UI. Below is a YouTube video posted by the vCD team that walks through the new UI.

There is also VM Metrics in the UI now, where previously they where only accessible after configuring the vCD Cells to route metric data to a Cassandra database. The metrics where only accessible via the API and some providers managed to tap into that and bring vCD Metrics into their own portals. With the 9.0 release this is now part of the new HTML5 Tenant UI and can be seen in the video below.

As per previous releases this only shows up to two weeks worth of basic metrics but it’s still a step in the right direction and gives vCD tenant’s enough info to do basic monitoring before hitting up a service desk for VM related help.

Conclusion:

vCloud Director 9.0 has delivered on the what most members of the VMware Cloud Provider Program had wanted for some time…that is, a continuation of the commitment to the the HTML5 UI as well as continuing to add features that help service providers extend their reach across multiple zones and over to hybrid cloud setups . As mentioned over the next few weeks, I am going to expand on the key new features and walk through how to configure elements through the UI and API.

Compatibility with Veeam, vSphere 6.5 and NSX-v 6.3.x:

vCloud Director 9.0 is compatible with vSphere 6.5 Update 1 and NSX 6.3.3 and supports full interoperability with other versions as shown in the VMware Product Interoperability Matrix. With regards to Veeam support, I am sure that our QA department will be testing the 9.0 release against our integration pieces at the first opportunity they get, but as of now, there is no ETA on offical support.

A list of known issues can be found in the release notes.

#LongLivevCD

References:

https://docs.vmware.com/en/vCloud-Director/9.0/rn/rel_notes_vcloud_director_90.html

https://www.vmware.com/content/dam/digitalmarketing/vmware/en/pdf/vcloud/vmware-vcloud-director-whats-new-9-0-white-paper.pdf

VMware Announces New vCloud Director 9.0

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