First Look: vCloud Air On Demand
Last week VMware celebrated the official GA of vCloud Air in Australia. And while I’ve previously expressed mixed feelings around VMware’s Public Cloud strategy…the announcements at VMworld 2014 around the vCloud Air Network have eased my concerns around the Service Provider Partner ecosystem. Working for one of Australia’s leading vCloud Air Network SPs I fully expect to ride along on the marketing wave that a launch like this brings and I’m looking forward to the increased focus on Hybrid Cloud in the Australian Market.
There are increased opportunities for VMware to support and push their Network Partners as an alternative option for clients who may not be the right fit for vCloud Air, or need services out of different locations in Australia…and in turn, Network Partners should be thinking about how to leverage Air resources especially when it comes to the PaaS options coming shortly….after all we have common foes 🙂
Below is a quick look and introduction into the vCloud Air Interface. vCloud Air is based upon vCloud Director and has a custom frontend written to abstract aspects of the vCD API. There is still access to the vCD UI as not every task has been abstracted…so you will find yourself going between the customer portal and the vCD Portal to configure and manage Virtual Datacenter Resources.
The process to sign up to the On Demand Service is done from the following URL and you can login using an existing MyVMware Account, or by creating a new one:
On the next page you enter in some billing and address details and complete the sign up. There are a few issues at the moment with the signup whereby some locations (My local of Western Australia was stopping me log in) trigger a sign in loop on the page…this is a known issue and is being looking at. After sign up you can expect to wait 15-30 minutes to get a confirmation email with your details and a link to set your initial password.
On a browser head to https://vca.vmware.com which gets redirected to VMware’s Single Sign On Identify Management Portal which is based out of the US.
Upon first login you should see a couple of Services…Virtual Private Cloud on Demand and My Subscriptions…at the moment Subscriptions Services are not available to my account.
When you first select the Virtual Private Cloud OnDemand the portal will ask you on what VCA instance around the world you want to place your vDC and then it will go off and provision your first vDC…this took about 5-10 minutes for me…Including time to deploy the Edge Gateway.
Once complete you will see a Welcome Message and a button to create your first Virtual Machine and on the left hand side see the first vCD created…which is defaulted to VDC1.
You can also take a look at your Gateway (Edge Devises) and vOrg Networks as well as an overview of your Resource Usage.
Going through the process of creating your first VM you are presented with a New Virtual Machine Wizard which presents to you the VCA Catalog as well as the default MyCatalog created by vCD. The interface for creating the VM is well laid out as shown below:
A nice touch here is being able to see how much your VM will cost per hour or per month and seeing how that changes depending on the resources you want to throw at the VM. Once the VM is created you can Power it on and also perform the drop down tasks shown below.
There is nothing special in terms of the functions here…all pretty standard vCD operations. Except that you can reconfigure the resources of the VM directly and add another disk to the VM without going into the vCD UI.
Network Setup and Config:
Under the Gateways Tab you get a block view of the Edge Gateway. By Clicking on that you will see more network options relating to NAT and Firewall Rules…To add a new Network Click on the Tab and Add Network:
Still vCD Under The Covers:
VMware have done a good job in extracting vCD into the VCA Portal…something that we at ZettaGrid have also started to do…however there is still the need to go between portals to get complete control of the Virtual Datacenter resources…this isn’t a bad thing, but the ultimate goal would be to move everything into the frontend portal.
If you launch The vCloud Director UI and go to Administration and Virtual Datacenters you will see that the On Demand Service utilizes the vCloud Director Pay as you Go Model and by default the size of the vDC PaYG Pool is 130GHz of vCPU, 100GB of vRAM and 4TB of Storage.
I haven’t seen any differences in what you can do in the vCD UI vs public flavors of vCD (5.5 and SP 5.6) so if you are used to vCD you can carry on as usual. Interestingly enough I picked up that the max HW version for VMs in the Australian Zone is 9 which probably means the VCA team are being cautious about compatibility rather than it being a sign that they are running ESXi 5.1 under the covers…when building a large cloud platform there are more constraints put upon upgrades and the passing on of new feature releases…this will no doubt evolve as the service matures.
So that’s a walk through of vCloud Air…It’s here locally now (as are the rest of the big Public Cloud Players) and I am totally embracing of that fact…the future is Hybrid Cloud and consumers are spoiled for choice…the flip side to that is Service Providers are competing for a pieces of a pie that is growing…there is lots of room for everyone who has a plan…decent vision and strategy, together with the right tools to consume services to thrive and be successful.
Of course there are many more ways to access and consume vCloud Air and vCloud Air Network services and there are other providers doing great things with the vCloud API. Next week I’ll post on what ZettaGrid is doing in this space…but for the moment, congratulations to VMware for the AU Launch and let the vCloud Air Network grow stronger and faster than ever before.