VMWare vCloud Director - Installation and Configuration Part 3

This is part 3 and the final part in a three part blog post, in this first post I'll briefly describe the process of configuring the vCloud Director application. I will also try and describe why vCloud Director is a useful application and what it brings to a development lab.

  1. vCloud Director - Configuration
  2. The Why - Why Clouds, what are the benefits?

vCloud Director Configuration

I won't cover the initial configuration step by step as there are many tutorials already available for establishing the initial vCloud Director configuration. I will point out the important things that will hopefully assist in successfully understanding and configuring your environment.

Steps - perform the following steps from the vDC home tab quick start menu
  1. Attach a vCenter server, the first step is to attach a vCenter server to the vCloud Director environment. The vCenter server must be in an available automated DRS configured cluster with an available resource pool. Note: for each vCenter server that you add to the vCloud Director environment you will first need a vShield Manager server configured and available.
    1. From the vDC home page select step 1 attach a vCenter
    2. Select the correct vCenter server to add to the vDC environment
  2. Create a Provider vDC - a Provider vDC combines the compute and memory resources of a single vCenter server resource pool with the storage resources of one or more datastores connected to that resource pool. A Provider vDC is the source for Organization vDCs (Org vDCs)
    1. From the vDC home page select step 2 create provider vDC
    2. Provide a Name
    3. Select a vCenter and Resource Pool
    4. Add Datastores
    5. Prepare the ESX(i) hosts
    6. Navigate to the Management Monitor tab and verify the ESX(i) hosts were prepared successfully, if you see a red x next to a host an error must have occurred. Note: I had an issue on both of my ESXi hosts where the preparation process was failing, it also affected HA on my vCenter cluster as this configuration would fail and pop an error stating the agent could not be installed. I ended up having to re-run the ESXi install to fix the issue on both hosts, and once HA would configure successfully then the vCloud host prepare finished successfully
    7. Once the Provider vDC has been created it should appear under the selected resource pool in the selected vCenter interface
  3. Create external provider networks - a logically separated network based on a vSphere port group. It is the network created by the service provider to allow virtual machines and organizations to access the outside world (Internet). If you want your Organization (and also your vApps) to have connectivity to the external world you need to have External Networks. 
    1. From the vDC home page select step 3 create external network
    2. Choose a vCenter server
    3. Add the network mask, default gateway, DNS information and ip range
    4. Enter a name for the external network
    5. The provider is automatically added to the Provider vDC
  4. Create a network pool - a group of networks that is available for use within an Org vCD to create vApp networks and certain types of organization networks. A network pool is backed by vSphere network resources such as vlan ids, port groups, or cloud isolated networks. vCD uses network pools to create NAT routed and internal organization networks and all vApp networks. Network traffic on each network in a pool is isolated at layer 2 from all other networks. Each Org vCD can have one network pool, multiple Org vCDs can share the same network pool. The network pool for an Org vDC provides the networks created to satisfy the network quota for an Org vDC. There are three different kinds of network pools available within vCD and they are VLAN backed network pools, vCD isolation backed network pools and vSphere port group backed network pools.
    1. From the vDC home page select step 4 create a network pool
    2. Select a Network Pool Type
    3. Select vCenter Server
    4. Configure Pool
    5. Provide a name for the pool
  5. Create an Organization - Organizations provide resources to a group of users and set policies that determine how users can consume those resources. An organization is the fundamental vCD grouping that contains users the vApps that they create and the resources that the vApps use. It is a top level container in a cloud that contains one or more organization virtual datacenters (Org vDC's) and catalog entities.
    1. From the vDC home page select step 5 create and organization
    2. Provide a name
    3. Specify LDAP Settings (if desired) or create local users
    4. Specify if organization can publish its catalogs to other organizations
    5. Configure SMTP if email notifications are desired
    6. Specify leases and quotas (if desired)
    7. Create the Org vDC and specify which Provider vDC it is going to get its resources from
    8. Select an allocation model - example pay as you go
      1. Configure settings for model selected
      2. Specify how much storage is allocated (if desired)
      3. Specify which network pools the Org vDC is connected to
      4. Provide a name and description for Org vDC
  6. Catalog - a container for the following entities vApp templates, vApps, media images (floppy, ISO). Organizations will have their own catalog which they can populate and share with other organizations and users. 
    1. From the vDC home page select step 8 which is add a catalog to an organization
    2. Select the organization to add the catalog too
    3. provide a name for the catalog

The Why - Why Clouds? What are the benefits and why should I care?

"Cloud is all about giving the end-users an unprecedented level of flexibility that allows them to do things that were only available to vSphere administrators before. In a way you can think of vCloud Director as an interface (or a proxy) into the virtual infrastructure. This allows vSphere administrators to give end-users a lot more flexibility, but at the very same time it allows them to keep full control of what end-users can do"

The Virtual DataCenter - much like when you walk into a physical datacenter you will find some resources that you want to connect your virtual machines too. For example you will find network sockets, power sockets, storage resources that you can put your virtual machines on, you might find one or two sockets that state this socket goes to the internet.  Users are now empowered to provision vApps and workloads without having to talk to the IT administrator or the system administrator. They don't have to worry about connecting something to the wrong network or doing something that would require the IT administrator. Its all about Self Service

I'm still trying to understand and wrap my head around the whole vCloud infrastructure and how it changes a typical vSphere environment. vCloud Director provides another layer of abstraction to your environment, it reminds me of what vCenter did to my two ESX(i) hosts. Only vCD does this to vCenter.

What will vCD do to my existing infrastructure? You will go through a process where you surrender some of the resources of the infrastructure to the vCD at which point it will take over those resources and manage them but it will not touch any of the resources that you have left aside. 

I think my next post will be about configuring vCD networking

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