Tag Archives: VMware

Veeam on the VMware Cloud Marketplace Protecting VMware Cloud on AWS Workloads

At VMworld 2018, myself and Michael Cade gave a session on automating and orchestrating Veeam on VMware Cloud on AWS. The premise of the session was to showcase the art of the possible with Veeam and VMware that resulted in a fully deployed and configured Veeam platform. We chose VMware Cloud on AWS for the demo to showcase the power of the Software Defined Datacenter with Veeam, however our solution can be deployed onto any vSphere platform.

Why Veeam with VMware Cloud on AWS:

I’ve have spent a lot of time over the past couple of months looking into VMware Cloud on AWS and working out just where Veeam fits in terms of a backup and recovery solution for it. I’ve also spent time talking to VMware sales people as well as solution providers looking to wrap managed services around VMC and the question of data protection is often raised as a key concern. There is a good article here that talks about the need for backup and how application HA or stretched clustering is not a suitable alternative.

Without prejudice, I truly believe that Veeam is the best solution for the backup and recovery of workloads hosted on VMware Cloud on AWS SDDCs. Not only do we offer a solution that’s 100% software defines it’s self, but we can extend protection of all workloads from on-premises, through to the SDDC and also natively in AWS covering both backup, replication as well as offering the ability to use Cloud Connect to backup out to a Veeam Cloud and Service Provider. I’ll go into this in greater detail in a future post.

Veeam on the VMware Cloud on AWS Marketplace:

At the same time as our session on the Monday there was another session that introduced the VMware Cloud Marketplace that was announced in Technical Preview. As part of that launch, Veeam was announced as an initial software partner. This allows for the automated deployment and configuration of a Veeam Backup & Replication instance directly into a deployed SDDC and also configures an AWS EC2 EBS backed instance to be used as a Veeam Repository.

The VMware Cloud Marketplace will offer the ability to browse and filter validated third-party products and solutions, view technical and operational details, facilitate Bring Your Own License (BYOL) deployments, support commercial transactions, and deliver unified invoices. We plan to open Cloud Marketplace to a limited Beta audience following VMworld and are working on additional features and capabilities for future releases. We envision the Cloud Marketplace will quickly expand, introducing new third-party vendors and products over time and becoming the de-facto source for customers to extend the capabilities of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Provider Partner environments.

Compared to what Michael and I showcased in our session, this is a more targeted vanilla deployment of Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 with Update 3a into the SDDC. At the end of the process, you will be able to access the Veeam Console, have it connected to the VMC vSphere endpoint and have the EC2 Veeam repository added.

This is done via CloudFormation templates and a little bit of PowerShell embedded into the Windows Image.

Being embedded directly into the VMware Cloud Marketplace is advantageous for customers looking to get started quick with their data protection for workloads running on VMware Cloud o AWs. Look out for more collateral from myself, Veeam and VMware on protecting VMC with Veeam as well as a deeper look at our VMworld session which digs into the automation and orchestration of Veeam on VMware Cloud on AWS using Chef, Terraform, PowerShell and PowerCLI.

References:

Introducing VMware Cloud Marketplace

https://cloud.vmware.com/cloud-marketplace

https://marketplace.vmware.com/vsx/solutions/veeam-availability-suite-for-vmware-cloud-on-aws-9-5?ref=search#summary

VMworld 2018 Recap Part 2 – Community and Veeam Recap

VMworld 2018 has come and gone and after a couple of days recovery from the week that was, i’ve had time to reflect on what was a great week and an another great VMworld in Las Vegas. For me, the dynamic of what it is to be at a VMworld has changed. The week is not just about the event, the announcements or the sessions…but more about what myself and my team are able to achieve. While we are participants of VMworld we are also working and need to be adding value on all fronts.

This year I left Las Vegas with a sense of achievement and the belief that the week was extremely successful both personally and from a Veeam Product Strategy point of view. In this post (which is Part 2 of my VMworld 2018 recap) I am going to go over what went down with the VMware community during the event and close off with a quick Veeam roundup.

Community:

I felt like the community spirit was in full effect again at VMworld. Between all the sessions, parties and events my overall feeling was that there was a lot of community activity going on. Twitter it’s self came to life and everyones timelines where filling up with #VMworld media. The grass roots community still fuels a lot of VMware’s success and you can’t underestimate the value of influence and advocacy at this level. Certainly, Veeam and other vendors understand this and cater to supporting community events while looking after members with vendor branded swag.

One important thing I would like to highlight is the power of the local community and how something small can turn into something huge. My good friend from Australia, Tim Carman had an idea last year to create an As Built PowerShell Documentation script. He first presented it at his local VMUG…then a few months later he presented it at the Melbourne VMUG UserCon and last week, he presented it with Matt Allford in front of 500 plus people at VMworld. Not only that, but the session was voted into the daily top ten and is currently the second most downloaded via the online session download page!

Hackathon:

Another amazing thing that happened at VMworld was the team that I was lucky enough to be a member of took out the Hackathon. Aussie vMafia 2.0, lead by Mark Ukotic took out the main prize on the back of an idea to put a terminal in the (H5) Client and running commands. Again, what I was most pleased about with Mark, Tim and Matt’s success was exposure from the sessions and Hackathon win. They are great guys and well deserving of it. It goes down as one of my best VMworld highlights of all time!

Veeam Highlights and Sessions:

Finally to wrap things up, it was a great VMworld for Veeam. I spoke to a lot of customers and partners and it’s clear that our Availability Platform that’s driven through our strong ecosystem alliances is still very much resonating and seen to be leading the industry. Being hardware agnostic and software only carries massive weight and it was pleasing to have that validated by talking to customer and partners during the course of the event.

In terms of our sessions, we had two different breakouts. One covering some of the brilliant new features in Update 4 of Backup & Replication 9.5 presented by Danny Allan and Rick Vanover.

And myself and Michael Cade presented on automation and orchestration of Veeam on VMware Cloud on AWS. Michael talks about the session here, but in a nutshell we came up with a workflow that orchestrates the deployment of a Veeam Backup & Replication Server with Proxies onto a vSphere environment (VMC used in this case to highlight the power of the SDDC) and then deploys and configures a Veeam Linux Repository in AWS, hooks that into a VeeamPN extended network and then configures the Veeam Server ready to backup VMs.

Finally…it wouldn’t be VMworld without a Veeam party, and this year didn’t fail to live up to expectation. Held at the Omnia nightclub on Tuesday night it was well received and we managed to fill the club without the need to pull in a headline act. And as I tweeted out…

Wrap Up:

Overall, VMworld ticked a lot of boxes and was well received by everyone that I came across. IT’s been a good run of three VMworld’s in a row in Vegas, however it’s time to move back to where it all started for me in 2012 in San Fransisco. It’s going to be interesting going back to the Mascone Center and a city that hasn’t got the best reputation at the present moment due to social issues and the cost of accomodation is astronomical compared to Vegas. However, location is one thing…it’s what VMware and it’s ecosystem partners bring to the event. This year it worked! Hopefully next year will be just as successful.

VMworld 2018 Recap Part 1 – Major Announcement Breakdown!

VMworld 2018 has come and gone and after a couple of days recovery from the week that was, i’ve had time to reflect on what was a great week and an another great VMworld in Las Vegas. In this post I wanted to break down what I saw as the major announcements at the 2018 event and highlight some of the cool stuff VMware is bringing out for their customers, partners and technology partners.

VMware have kept up the momentum from last years VMworld and have continued on their pivot from a hyper-visor company to one that truly spans a multi-platform ecosystem of partners and other technologies. This post again is all about VMware at VMworld…i’ll focus on the Veeam happenings and my community experiences at VMworld in part 2.

VMware Cloud on AWS:

I’m a believer! I am personally excited with what VMware have delivered here. The focus of my session on Automating and Orchestrating Veeam was around VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC) utilising a Single Node SDDC for our live demo. Having presented at VeeamON with Emad Younis on VMC and Veeam I have since had my head deeply in the offering. VMware seem to be addressing the pricing concerns myself and others have and are now allowing smaller host deployments (from three to two later down the track) along with more flexible licensing.

The M5 release will feature NSX-T which offers a lot more hard core networking capabilities which will directly connect to AWS Direct Connect. The announcement of high-capacity storage option built into the vSAN cluster using Amazon EBS is an interesting one and an example of the mushing together of VMware and AWS technologies.

With all that said, I’m still not sure where this offering sits when compared to VCPP hosted IaaS and how it has the potential to impact that side of VMware’s business. That maybe a topic for a dedicated blog post…but not now.

Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) on VMware:

This came as a surprise, but is in itself an interesting announcement. Having the ability to run RDS on-premises with the ability to migrate/move the workloads to and from AWS opens up a number of possabilities. With support Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL, and MariaDB databases it’s covering a lot of existing use cases. No doubt this is a mechanism for complete cloud transition, but the choice to run this on-premises or in a hybrid setup is genius.

vCloud Provider Announcements:

Having been on the beta program for the next version of vCloud Director I knew what was coming, but I didn’t think it would be announced at VMworld. Suffice to say the next version of vCD will be another significant one. Version 9.5 continues to build on the momentum of the 9.x releases and continues to enhance the platform as the flagship Cloud Management Platform for Service Providers.

New innovations include cross-site networking improvements powered by deeper integration with NSX and Initial integration with NSX-T. A full transition to an HTML5 UI for the cloud tenant with improvements to role-based access control. There is also going to be a virtual appliance option. I’m looking forward to this dropping later in the year and continuing to #LongLivevCD!

One thing to touch on as well is the native integrated data protection capabilities using Avamar. This is directly integrated into the vCD HTML5 UI via the extensibility plugin. I’ve had a lot of requests from service providers who use Veeam as their trusted availability platform for vCD if we will release similar functionality. At this stage, we can’t make any promises but it’s something getting face time at the top levels of our R&D and Product Management and Strategy teams.

There was also a new VMware Cloud Foundation version announced. Details here.

vSphere and vSAN:

vSAN continues to evolve and improve and there is also a lot to look forward to in the vSphere 6.7 Update 1. There is a new quickstart wizard that walks you through the setup of a cluster that includes a number of tasks that where previously not hard to install…but not as well thought out in terms of ease of use. Operationally, dealing with vSAN Firmware and driver updates has always been painful, but again this update looks to streamline that process by moving the functionality into the HTML5 vSphere Update Manager.

There has also been enhancements to maintenance mode activities, improved health checking and diagnostics as well as TRIM/UNMAP support that uses less storage through the process of automatic space reclamation. This can automatically reclaim capacity that is no longer used, reduces the capacity needed for workloads without administrator interaction.

In terms of vSphere, all administrative functions have been completed for the vSphere Client so in theory there should be no more switching between the old Flex and HTML5 clients. vSphere Platinum is a new edition of vSphere that combines vSphere Enterprise Plus along with AppDefense which is their SaaS based  security product built to alert and remediate against anything that looks out of the norm. It seems like most vendors are releasing SaaS based offerings with Machine Learning behind them in this space as security tools…I do wonder if the market is flooded?

Other Notables:

Project Dimension looked interesting, but as with any VMware project I tend to wait for more concrete announcements closer to release. And it seems as though Edge computing is here to stay as a term. Remote offices are now the Edge!

Project Dimension will extend VMware Cloud to deliver SDDC infrastructure and hardware as-a-service to on-premises locations.  Because this is will be a  service, it means that VMware can take care of managing the infrastructure, troubleshooting issues, and performing patching and maintenance.  This in turn means customers can focus on differentiating their business building innovative applications rather than spending time on day-to-day infrastructure management.

Speaking of the Edge, I did like the sound of the announcement around ESXi on 64bit ARM. VMware demonstrated ESXi on 64bit ARM running on a windmill farm at the Edge. VMware sees an opportunity to work with selected embedded OEMs to scope and explore opportunities for focused, ARM-enabled offering at the edge. This is the current 64bit ARM CPU architecture used on Apple TV 4 so we could have ESXi on AppleTVs in the near future!

References:

https://ir.vmware.com/overview/press-releases/press-release-details/2018/AWS-and-VMware-Announce-Amazon-Relational-Database-Service-on-VMware/default.aspx

https://blogs.vmware.com/virtualblocks/2018/08/27/whats-new-in-vsan-6-7-update-1/

https://blogs.vmware.com/vcloud/2018/08/vmware-vcloud-director-9-5.html

https://ir.vmware.com/overview/press-releases/press-release-details/2018/VMware-Previews-Technology-Innovations-at-VMworld-2018/default.aspx

http://vmblog.com/archive/2018/08/27/aws-and-vmware-announce-amazon-relational-database-service-on-vmware.aspx

Creating a Single Host SDDC for VMware Cloud on AWS

While preparing for my VMworld session with Michael Cade on automating and orchestrating the deployment of Veeam into VMware Cloud on AWS, we have been testing against the Single Host SDDC that’s been made available for on demand POCs for those looking to test the waters on VMware Cloud on AWS. The great thing about using the Single Host SDDC is it’s obviously cheaper to run than the four node production version, but also that you can spin it up and destroy the instance as many times as you like.

Single Host SDDC is our low-cost gateway into the VMware Cloud on AWS hybrid cloud solution. Typically purchased as a 4-host service, it is the perfect way to test your first workload and leverage the additional capability and flexibility of VMware Cloud on AWS for 30 days. You can seamlessly scale-up to Production SDDC, a 4-host service, at any time during the 30-days and get even more from the world’s leading private cloud provider running on the most popular public cloud platform.

To get started with the Single Host SDDC, you need to head to this page and sign up…you will get an Activation email and from there be able to go through the account setup. This big thing to note at the moment is that a US Based Credit Card is required.

There are a few pre-requisites before getting an SDDC spun up…mainly around VPC networking within AWS. There is a brilliant blog post here, that describes the networking that needs to be considered before kicking off a fresh deployment. The offical help files are a little less clear on what needs to be put into place from an AWS VPC perspective, but in a nutshell you need:

  • An AWS Account
  • A fresh VPC with a VPC Networking configured
  • At least three VPC Subnets configured
  • A Management Subnet for the VMware Objects to sit on

Once this has been configured in the AWS Region the SDDC will be deployed into the process can be started. First step is to select a region (this is dictated by the choices made at account creation) and then select a deployment type followed by a name for the SDDC.

The next step is to link an existing AWS account. This is not required at the time of setup however it is required to get the most out of the solution. This will go off and launch an AWS CloudFormation template to connect the SDDC to the AWS account. It creates IAM role to allow communication between the SDDC and AWS.

[Note] I ran into an issue initially where the default location for the CloudFormation template to be run out of was not set to the region where the SDDC was to be deployed into. Make sure that when you click on the Launch button you take not the the AWS region and change where appropriate by change the URL to the correct region.

After a minute or so, the VMware Cloud on AWS Create an SDDC page will automatically refresh as shown below

The next step is to select the VPC and the VPC subnets for the raw SDDC components to be deployed into. I ran into a few gotcha’s on this initially and what you need to have configured is the subnets configured to size as listed in the user guides and the post I linked to that covers networking, but you also need to make sure you have at least three subnets configured across different AWS Availability zones within the region. This was not clear, but I was told by support that it was required.

If the AWS side of things is not configured correctly you will see this error.

What you should see…all things being equal is this.

Finally you need to set the Management Subnet which is used for the vCenter, Hosts, NSX Manager and other VMware components being deployed into the SDDC. There is a default, but it’s important to consider that this should not overlap with any existing networks that you may look to extend the SDDC into.

From here, the SDDC can be deployed by clicking on the Deploy SDDC button.

[Note] Even for the Single Instance Node SDDC it will take about 120 minutes to deploy and you can not cancel the process once it’s started.

Once completed we can click into the details of the SDDC, which allows you to see all the relevant information relating to it and also allows you to configure the networking.

Finally, to access the vCenter you need to configure a Firewall rule to allow web access through the management gateway.

Once completed you can login to the vCenter that’s hosted on the VMware Cloud on AWS instance and start to create VMs and have a play around with the environment.

There is a way to automate a lot of what i’ve stepped through above…for that, i’ll go through the tools in another blog post later this week.

References:

Selecting IP Subnets for your SDDC

Workaround – VCSA 6.7 Upgrade Fails with CURL Error: Couldn’t resolve host name

It’s never an issue with DNS! Even when DNS looks right…it’s still DNS! I came across an issue today trying to upgrade a 6.5 VCSA to 6.7. The new VCSA appliance deployment was failing with an OVFTool error suggesting that DNS was incorrectly configured.

Initially I used the FQDN for source and target vCenter’s and let the installer choose the underlying host to deploy the new VCSA appliance to. Even though everything checked out fine in terms of DNS resolution across all systems I kept on getting the failure. I triple checked name resolution on the machine running the update, both vCenter’s and the target hosts. I even tried using IP addresses for the source and target vCenter but the error remained as it still tried to connect to the vCenter controlled host via it’s FQDN resulting in the error.

After doing a quick Google search and finding nothing, I changed the target to be an ESXi host directly and used it’s IP address over it’s FQDN. This time the OVFTool was able to do it’s thing and deploy the new VCSA appliance.

The one caveat when deploying directly to a host over a vCenter is that you need to have the target PortGroup configured as an ephemeral…but that’s a general rule of bootstrapping a VCSA in any case and it’s the only one that will show up from the drop down list.

While very strange given all DNS checked out as per my testing, the workaround did it’s thing and allowed me to continue with the upgrade. This didn’t find the root cause…however when you need to motor on with anupgrade, a workaround is just as good!

Released: vSAN 6.7 – HTML5 Goodness, Enhanced Health Checks and More!

VMware has announced the general availability of vSAN 6.7. As vSAN continues to grow, VMware are very buoyant about how it’s performing in the market. With some 10,000 customers at a run rate of over 600 million they claim to lead the HyperConverged market with a 32% market share. From my point of view it’s great to see vSAN being deployed across 250 cloud providers and have it as the cornerstone storage of the VMware Cloud on AWS solution. vSAN 6.7 is focusing on intuitive operational experience, consistent application experience and holistic support experience.

New Features and Enhancements:

  • HTML5 User Interface
  • Embedded vROPs plugin for HTML5 User Interface
  • Support for Windows Failover Cluster using iSCSI
  • Adaptive Resync Performance Improvements
  • Destaging Performance Improvements
  • More Efficient data placement during Host Decommissioning
  • Improved Space Efficiency
  • Faster Failover with Redundant vSAN Networks
  • Optimized Witness Traffic Seperation
  • Stretched Cluster Improvements
  • Host Affinity for Next-Gen Applications
  • Health Check Enhancements
  • Enhanced Diagnostics
  • vSAN Support Insight
  • 4Kn Device Support
  • Improved FIPS 140-2 Validation Security

There are a lot of enhancements in this release and while not as ground breaking at the 6.6 release last year, there is still a lot to like about how VMware is improving the platform. From the list above, i’ve taken the key ones from my point of view and expanded on them a little.

HTML5 User Interface:

As has been the trend with all VMware products of late, vSAN is getting the Clarity Framework overhaul and is being included in the HTML5 vSphere Web Client with new vSAN tasks and workflows developed from the ground up to simplify the experience. There is also new vSAN functionality that can only be accessed via the HTML5 client.

The legacy Flex client will still be available for use and it’s also worth noting that this is not a direct port of the Flex interface but started from the ground up. This has resulted in a more efficient experience for the user with less clicks and less time to action items. Any new features or enhancements will only be seen in the new HTML5 UI.

Support for Windows Failover Cluster using iSCSI:

A few weeks back I posted around how you could use vSAN as Veeam repository using the iSCSI feature. With vSAN 6.7 there is offical support for Windows Failover Clustering using the vSAN iSCSI service. Lots of people still run MSCS and a lot still use traditional clustering. This supports physical and virtual Guest iSCSI initiators that includes transparent failover of clusters with vSAN iSCSI volumes.

I’m not sure if this now means that iSCSI volumes are supported as Veeam Cloud Repositories…but I will confirm either way.

Adaptive Resync Performance Improvements:

vSAN 6.7 introduces a new Adaptive ReSync feature that will make sure resources are available for VM IO and resync IO. This ensures that under IO stress certain traffic types are not starved of resources and allows more bandwidth to be used when there are periods of less contention. Under contention, resync IO will be guaranteed at least 20% of the bandwidth and if no resync traffic exists, VM IO may consume 100%. This is effectively regulating reads and writes to ensure optimal balance for VM and reync IO.

Destaging Performance Improvements:

vSAN 6.7 looks to be more consistent when talking about data optimizations in the data path. With the faster destaging, data drains more quickly from the write buffer to the capacity tier. This allows the buffer tier to be available for newer IO quicker. This is done via improved in-memory handling of IO during destaging that delivers higher throughput and more consistency which in turn improves the overall performance of VM and resync IO.

More Efficient data placement during Host Decommissioning:

When putting a host in maintenance mode or decommissioning a host you need to select the evacuation type for the objects on that host. This can take time depending on the amount of data. vSAN 6.7 builds on improvements introduced in 6.6 that consolidates replicas living across multiple hosts while maintaining FTT compliance. Is looks for the smallest component to move while results in less data being rebuilt and less temporary space usage. vSAN will provide more intelligence behind the data movement to reduce the time and effort it takes to put a host into maintenance mode.

Improved Space Efficiency:

In previous vSAN versions the VM swap object was always thick provisioned even if the VM it’s self was thin. in vSAN 6.7 this will now be thin by default and also inherit the policy from the VM so that the FTT is the swap object is consistent with the VM which results in more efficient storage. Previous to this, large environments would suffer with a large number of swap files taking up a higher proportionate amount of space.

 

Conclusion:

vSan continues to be improved by VMware and they have addressed some core usability and efficiency features in this 6.7 release. The move to the HTML5 web client was expected, but still good to see while the enhancements in resync and destaging all contributes to platform stability. The enhanced health checks add a new dimension to vSAN troubleshooting and the support insight allows users to get a better view of what’s happening on their instances.

References:

Pre release information and images sourced via VMware EABP

https://blogs.vmware.com/virtualblocks/2018/04/17/whats-new-vmware-vsan-6-7/

 

 

vExpert 2018 – The Value Remains!

After a longer than expected deliberation period the vExpert class of 2018 was announced late last Friday (US Time).  I’ve been a vExpert since 2012 with 2018 marking my seventh year in the program. I’ve written a lot about the program over the past three or four years since it’s “perceived” value started to go downhill. I’ve criticised parts of the program around the relative ease at which some people where accepted and also on the apparent inability for numbers to be better managed.

However, make no mistake I am still a believer in the value of the vExpert and more importantly I have come to realise over the past few years (solidified over the past couple of months) that apart from the advocacy component that’s critical to the programs existence…people continue to hold the program in extremely high regard.

There are a large number of vExpert’s who expect entry year after year, and rightly so. In truth there are a large number that legitimately demand membership. But there are others who have struggled to be accepted year after year and for who, acceptance into the program represents a significant achievement.

That is to say that while many established vExpert’s assume entry there are a number of people that desire entry. This is an important indicator on the strength of the program and the continued high regard the vExpert program should still be held in.  It’s easy to criticise from the inside, however that can’t be allowed to tarnish the reputation of program externally.

This is a great program and one that is valued by the majority of those who actively participate. VMware still commands a loyal community base and the vExpert’s lead from the front in this regard. Remembering that it’s all about the advocacy!

Well done again to the team behind the scenes…The new website is testament to the program moving forward. The vExpert team are critical the success of the program and having been part of the much smaller Veeam Vanguard program, I have a lot of respect for the effort that goes into sorting through two thousand odd applications and renewals.

And finally, well done to those first time vExpert’s! Welcome aboard!

——-

For those wondering, here are the official benefits of the program:

  • Invite to our private #Slack channel
  • vExpert certificate signed by our CEO Pat Gelsinger.
  • Private forums on communities.vmware.com.
  • Permission to use the vExpert logo on cards, website, etc for one year
  • Access to a private directory for networking, etc.
  • Exclusive gifts from various VMware partners.
  • Private webinars with VMware partners as well as NFRs.
  • Access to private betas (subject to admission by beta teams).
  • 365-day eval licenses for most products for home lab / cloud providers.
  • Private pre-launch briefings via our blogger briefing pre-VMworld (subject to admission by product teams)
  • Blogger early access program for vSphere and some other products.
  • Featured in a public vExpert online directory.
  • Access to vetted VMware & Virtualization content for your social channels.
  • Yearly vExpert parties at both VMworld US and VMworld Europe events.
  • Identification as a vExpert at both VMworld US and VMworld EU.

VMware Cloud Briefing Roundup – VMware Cloud on AWS and other Updates

VMware has held it’s first ever VMware Cloud Briefing today. This is an online, global event with an agenda featuring a keynote from Pat Gelsinger, new announcements and demos relating to VMware Cloud as well as discussions on cloud trends and market momentum. Key to the messaging is the fact that applications are driving cloud initiatives weather that be via delivering new SaaS or cloud applications as well as extending networks beyond traditional barriers while modernizing the datacenter.

The VMware Cloud is looking like a complete vision at this point and the graphic below highlights that fact. There are multiple partners offering VMware based Cloud Infrastructure along with the Public Cloud and SaaS providers. On top of that, VMware now talks about a complete cloud management layer underpinned by vSphere and NSX technologies.

VMware Cloud on AWS Updates:

The big news on the VMware Cloud on AWS front is that there is a new UK based service offering and continued expansion into Germany. This will extend into the APAC region later in the year.

VMware Cloud on AWS will also have support for stretch clusters using the same vSAN and NSX technologies used on-premises on top of the underlying AWS compute and networking platform. This looks to extend application uptime across AWS Availability Zones within AWS regions.

This will feature

  • Zero RPO high Availability across AZs
  • Built into the infrastructure layer with synchronous replication
  • Stretched Cluster with common logical networks with vSphere HA/DRS
  • If an AZ goes down it’s treated as a HA event and impacted VMs brought back in other AZ

They are also adding vSAN Compression and Deduplication for VMware Cloud on AWS services which in theory will save 40% in storage.

VMware Cloud Services Updates:

Hybrid Cloud Extension HCX (first announced at VMworld last year) has a new on-premises offering and is expanding availability through VMware Cloud Provider Partners. This included VMware Cloud on AWS, IBM Cloud and OVH. The promise here is an any-to-any vSphere migration that cross version while being still secure. We are talking about Hybridity here!

Log Intelligence is an interesting one…it looks like Log Insight delivered as a SaaS application. It is a real-time big data log management platform for VMware Cloud on AWS adding real-time visibility into infrastructure and application logs for faster troubleshooting. It support any SYSLOG source and will ingest over the internet in theory.

Cost Insight is an assessment tool for private cloud to VMware Cloud on AWS Migration. It calculates VMware Cloud on AWS capacity required to migrate from on-premises to VMC. It has integration with Network insight to calculate networking costs during migration as well.

Finally there is an update to Wavefront that expands inputs and integrations to enhance visibility and monitoring. There are 45 new integrations, monitoring of native AWS services and integration into vRealize Operations.

You can watch the whole event here.

Released: Runecast Analyzer 1.7 with vSAN Support

Runecast has released version 1.7 of their Analyzer today and it has added support for VMware vSAN. By using a number of resources within VMware’s knowledge base Runecast offers a platform that looks at best practices, log information and security hardening guides to monitor your vSphere infrastructure which in turn brings to your attention issues through a simple yet intuitive interface. This now extends to vSAN as well. Also in this release is an improved dashboard called the VMware Stack view and improved vSphere Web Plugin.

Version 1.7 focuses on VMware vSAN support and proactive issue detection with remediation. vSAN, having gained market lead in the HCI space is deployed in vSphere environments more commonly these days as the storage component. It is critical to not only monitor performance but also keep the vSAN configuration in the best condition and prevent from any future failures or outages.

Runecast Analyzer v1.7 scans vSAN clusters and looks at cluster configurations against a large database of VMware Knowledge Base and Best Practices rules. This results in the ability to list issues and then offer suggestions on how to fix those issues which may affect vSAN availability or functionality. This acts as a good way to stop issues before they become more serious problems that impact environments.

As mentioned version 1.7 also offers an upgrade to the vSphere Web Client and as you can see below the integration is tight with the HTML5 client.

Finally, I wanted to highlight the new VMware Stack dashboard. This new visual component aims to very quickly prioritize what problem to solve and where it exists. The VMware stack contains 5 layers, Management, VM, Compute, Network and Storage. Runecast prioritizes and sorts all detected problems into those five categories so an admin can easily see where the critical issues are and what is the risk they pose.

Overall for those that have vSAN in their environments I would recommend a look at this release. The guys at Runecast are taking a unique approach to monitoring and I’m looking forward to future releases as they expand even more beyond vSphere and vSAN.

The latest version is available for a free 14-day trial.

VMware Cloud on AWS Availability with Veeam

It’s been exactly a year since VMware announced their partnership with AWS and it’s no surprise that at this year’s VMworld the solution is front and center and will feature heavily at Monday’s keynote. Earlier today Veeam was announced as an officially supported backup, recovery and replication platform for VMware Cloud on AWS. This is an exciting announcement for existing customers of Veeam who currently use vSphere and are interesting in consuming VMware Cloud on AWS.

In terms of what Veeam has been able to achieve, there is little noticeable difference in the process to configure and run backup or replication jobs from within Veeam Backup & Replication. The VMware Cloud on AWS resources are treated as just another cluster so most actions and features of the core platform work as if the cloud based cluster was local or otherwise.

Below you can see a screen shot of an VMC vCenter from the AWS based HTML5 Web Client. What you can see if the minimum spec for a VMC customer which includes four hosts with 36 cores and 512GB of RAM, plus vSAN and NSX.

In terms of Veeam making this work, there were a few limitations that VMware have placed on the solution which means that our NFS based features such as Instant VM Recovery, Virtual Labs or Surebackups won’t work at this stage. HotAdd mode is the only supported backup transport mode (which isn’t a bad thing as it’s my preferred transport mode) which talks to a new VDDK library that is part of the VMC platform.

With that the following features work out of the box:

  • Backup with In Guest Processing
  • Restores to original or new locations
  • Backup Copy Jobs
  • Replication
  • Cloud Connect Backup
  • Windows File Level Recovery
  • Veeam Explorers

With the above there are a lot of options for VMC customers to stick to the 3-2-1 rule of backups…remembering that just because the compute resources are in AWS, doesn’t mean that they are highly valuable from a workload and application availability standpoint. Customers can also take advantage of the fact that VMC is just another cluster from their on-premises deployments and use Veeam Backup & Replication to replicate VMs into the VMC vCenter to which end it could be used as a DR site.

For more information and the offical blog post from Veeam co-CEO Peter McKay click here.

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