vCloud Availability for vCloud Director-Part-1-Introduction

Few days back I was reading a blog by Tom Fojta about vCloud Availability for vCloud Director and had a quick look into what this product is and how it works. I was busy with some other assignments so did not got much chance to read about that in greater detail, so today I decided to know more about this products (as it is based on DRaaS, which is always an eye catching topic)

This post is focused on very basic stuffs about vCloud Availability for vCloud Director. So lets get started.

What is vCloud Availability for vCloud Director?

vCloud Availability for vCloud Director is a Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) solution that provides simple and secure asynchronous replication and failover for vSphere managed workloads.

VMware released vCloud Availability for vCloud Director keeping in mind to provide cloud innovations to vCloud Air Network partners so that they can implement this software solution to provide Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) to customers.

Customer’s who are using vCloud Air, knows that vCloud Air uses vSphere Replication to provide the DRaaS service to their customers. This is a very similar solution which vCAN partners will now be using for DRaaS. Its amazing to see vmware taking good care of their partners.

Since vCloud Air is not present in all regions,  vCloud Availability will be a blessing for vSphere customers because they can now buy and use DRaaS service from a local partner.

In last 3-4 years there is a shift in technology as more and more customer are now adopting to cloud solutions. Many Customers are no longer interested in setting up a redundant datacenter as per their BCDR policies. These days service providers are providing a very cost effective DR solution which is very easy to configure and manage.

vCloud Availability key features and benefits?

Benefits which service providers will be getting out of vCloud Availability solution is very similar to what vCloud Air is currently providing under their DRaaS service. Main benefits of vClod Availability can be listed down as below:

  • Self-service protection, failover and failback workflows per VM.
  • Recovery point objective (RPO) support from from 15 minutes to 24 hours.
  • Initial data seeding by shipping a disk: For a very big VM that have size in TB’s, customer can use similar solution as vCloud Air ODT and ship those VM’s to service provider datacenter and once the VM is imported in vCloud Director, use that VM as seed for establishing replication
  • Integrates with existing vSphere environments:
  • Tenant UI integrated in vCenter
  • Multiple point in instance support with upto 24 restore points.
  • Replication traffic totally secured by built in encryption.
  • API support for automation.
  • Support for Multi-Tenancy on service provider’s side.

vCloud Availability requirements

To use vCloud Availability for DRaaS, the cloud provider should have following running in their datacenter:

a) vCloud Director 8.10 or higher

b) vSpehre 6.0 U2 (Esxi 6.0 U2 and vCenter 6.0 U2)

c)NSX 6.2.3

On-prem requirements for customer:

a) vCenter Server 6.0 or above

b) vSphere Replication appliance 6.0

c) VMware ESXi Host 5.0, 5.1.x, 5.5.x, or 6.0

d)  DR-VDC Subscription in Service provider side.

e) Internet connection between customer’s on-premises environment and the vCloud Air Network service provider.

vCloud Availability Logical Architecture

Basically the architecture relies solely on service provider environment. There can be a slight differences in components that different service provider uses. Typical components can include what is visible in below diagram. I have taken this image from google, but looking at the image it seems very similar to architecture which VMware have in vCloud Air.

vcvd-arch.png

The sevrice provider provides the replication targets to the tenants which is then configured by tenant in their on-prem vSphere Replication appliance so that they can replicate data from on-prem to sevrice provider datacenter. For tenants, there is no need to deploy any other software other than the VR appliance.

The VR appliance leverages vSphere Replication and HBR technology to replicate on-prem virtual machines to the cloud. vSphere replication is very secure as the replication data is encrypted in on-prem as soon as it leaves Esxi host and is then decrypted in service provider side when it reaches there.

Below diagram gives a high level overview of the encryption process:

encrypted_flow

And thats it for this post. In next post of series we will discuss more on the logical architecture and how a sevrice provider can deploy and configure vCloud Availability for providing DRaaS to their customers.

Additional References:

To know more about this product, feel free to read below articles.

VMware vCloud Availability

vCloud Availability for vCloud Director FAQ

vCloud Availability for vCloud Director 1.0.1 Documentation Center

Video Tutorials

1: VMware vCloud Availability for vCloud Director Product Overview

2: VMware vCloud Availability Configuration

3: Replication from On-Premises to Cloud

4: Failover, reversing the replication, and fail back

5: Replicate from Cloud to Tenant

6: Migrate a Virtual Machine to the Cloud

I hope you find this post informational. Feel free to share this on social media if it is worth sharing. Be sociable 🙂

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