On thursday most VMworld visitors are already headed home. The crowds are less, breakout sessions are no longer full and it there are no lines for the escalators anymore. Even though this might be true for some, Rudolf and I started the event again at 9 AM because we wanted to follow some interesting sessions.

Cloud migration and DC: Modernization with HCX: Use Cases and Architectures

This session was particulary useful like the session about vCloud Extender was yesterday. I thought Hybrid Cloud Extender (HCX) was somewhat the same tool but boy was I wrong.

There are a lot of crucial differences like that you do not need vCloud Director with HCX, but you do with vCloud Extender. Another difference is that with vCloud Extender once the migration is done, it is final. There is no failback option. With HCX you can however go back if you would please so.

Hybrid Cloud Extender can help Service Providers or customers that have a need for migrations between vSphere stacks that have different versions. Such as a migration of virtual machines between a vCenter 5.1 and vCenter 6.5 environment. Just using vMotion won’t be enough because a vMotion between version 5 and 6 is not possible. HCX however helps in this process.

HCXis deployed rather easy with an appliance on both the source and target site.You simply connect them with your vCenter and it provides you with a simpleinterface in which you can vMotion a selected virtual machine to another cloudenvironment or “replicate” the virtual machine to another environment for DRpurposes.

An example HCX architecture could like the picture shown below. HCX supports multiple versions, sites and clouds.

HCX Multi-Site, Multi-Version, Multi-Cloud Architecture

The way HCX works is that it enables a proxy connection between both the appliances where the vMotion traffic traverses on. This vMotion traffic is also encrypted by the appliances. HCX also uses its own WAN optimization so that there is no impact on the underlying operating systems that run on the virtual machines during the vMotion operation.

The second network type that traverses the connection between the two HCX nodes is virtual machine network traffic which can be stretched across datacenters in a way so that you have a stretched Layer 2 network. This can easily be done by clicking on “stretch network” inside the HCX interface.

What this means is that you can migrate your virtual machine to another cloud without having to re-ip the Guest Operating system. And even without consulting the Application Owner, because nothing actually changes.

Thisis why HCX works for most enterprise users. Already in place security, compliancy andbusiness processes do not need to change in anyway because nothing actuallychanges like I mentioned before.

One fun fact that I didn’t know is that you can even migrate from older legacy CPU architectures such as Sandy Bridge and Broadwell to new architectures such as Skylake and KabyLake. The way this works is that the CPU ID’s get frozen when you migrate them from the legacy to the new environment. That however also means that if you do want to have the new CPU features, you would have to manually enable them. Do watch out with this though, if you change them and reboot the virtual machine, you can’t live migrate the virtual machine back to the legacy environment because the CPU ID’s are not there.

All in all this is a very interesting tool that can be used for a variety of usecases. I am going to try this in the coming months to see if this couldpotentially have a benefit for our customers and our migrations.

VMwareREST API’s, Python, and You: A Coding Primer

Remember the old days of using the vSphere Management API’s to automate your vSphere operations? Well this era is over! Nowadays VMware vCenter has a REST API you can use to automate anything.

The vCenter REST API provides you with full featured SDK’s, CLI commands and workflow access. You can use the API explorer to find most operations so that you yourself don’t have to look them up. All you need to do is enter your credentials and you are good to go. The API explorer can be found incredibly simple on the following url https://vcenterfqdn/apiexplorer. This interface uses the Swagger UI so it can feel like you’ve seen this interface before.

These REST API commands can also be used with python. The speakers mentioned that this is probably the go to programming language in the DevOps community because of its interoperability with most of the current Operating Systems out there.

Theyalso mentioned that Visual Studio Code was, in their opinion, a very suitableIDE to use because it is very pluggable. An example of this is the possibility to download Python, PowerCLI//PowerShell and Code Markup plugins make the tool incredibly easy to use.

If you want to know more or see some samples, go to the website here!

Multi-Cloud Management-as-a-Service

According to VMware a large number of organizations are moving to an asset-light business model when it comes to IT. This means there are fewer investments in capital assets. With an IT industry that is rapidly changing and shows no signs of slowing down we can understand investing in IT assets for a 3-5 year period at once is becoming less attractive. Instead there is a trend towards a more consumption based approach. With this shift in IT spending it won’t surprise anyone why cloud computing is very popular. And as IT spending will grow from an estimated 1.3 to 2.1 trillion dollars in the next three years there is a lot of opportunity for growth in the cloud provider space. As VMware does not have cloud service themselves they focus on building and expanding a network of service providers. The last few years we’ve seen VMware putting a lot of effort in building that network of service providers and providing them with the necessary tools. As most software VMware has released is targeted towards enterprise customers this led to some challenges. Enter vCloud Director.

Vmware’s vCloud Director (vCD) is a tool that sits in between vCenter and NSX to give those tools the required multi-tenancy capabilities for use in a service provider environment. vCD has been around for years but only in the past year or so it received a boost in development effort. Features like integration with NSX and a brand new HTML5 interface are just a few of the improvements. With version 9.1 VMware introduced a vCD extensibility framework that allows developers to add new functionality to the vCD interface. One of the extensions that VMware developed themselves is a tenant app for vRealize Operations. This extension adds multi-tenancy capabilities to vRealize operations just like vCD has done for vSphere and NSX. You can expect us to follow-up on the development of vCD regularly.

The end

These last summaries concludes the series of blogs of VMworld Europe 2018. Stay tuned for more!

Bryan van Eeden

Bryan is an ambitious and seasoned IT professional with almost a decade of experience in designing, building and operating complex (virtual) IT environments. In his current role he tackles customers, complex issues and design questions on a daily basis. Bryan holds several certifications such as VCIX-DCV, VCAP-DCA, VCAP-DCD, V(T)SP and vSAN and vCloud Specialist badges.


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