What was announced?
In the Q4 2015 Earnings Conference Call, VMware announced they would be aggressively providing cloud innovations to vCloud Air Network partners to help them to accelerate growth. About a month ago, one of these innovations was silently GA’ed in a 1.0 release: vCloud Availability for vCloud Director.
What is vCloud Availability?
vCloud Availability is a software solution for vCloud Director that VCAN cloud providers can implement to build a Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) offering for their customers with. The technology used comes straight out of the vCloud Air Disaster Recovery service. It looks like VMware is delivering on their promise to release vCloud Air exclusive technology to VCAN partners!
vCloud Availability key features and benefits
vCloud Availability basically allows a cloud consumer to asynchronously (RPO > 15 minutes) replicate its Virtual Machines from a local vSphere data center to a cloud providers data center using VMware’s standard vSphere Replication appliance. The cloud consumer can then leverage DR capabilities such as setting up, testing and running Disaster Recovery runbooks, just like they can in vCloud Air DR. Although I haven’t worked with vCloud Availability yet, I have implemented vCloud Air DR several times now. Setting that up was a breeze. To be honest, one the biggest deal breakers for vCloud Air here in The Netherlands, is the lack of a local region, not the technology and now vCloud Availability allows vSphere customers to buy and use a truly integrated infrastructure DRaaS service from a local partner. DRaaS is an ideal use case for cloud adoption and it gives customers the ability to implement a relatively simple and very cost effective DR solution: just hook up the DR Virtual Data Center (DR-VDC), configure vSphere Replication and configure the DRaaS service. Everything is configured and managed right from the vSphere Web client.
vCloud Availability requirements
vCloud Availability uses relatively new technology so the requirements are pretty steep:
The cloud provider must run:
- vCloud Director 8.10
- ESX 6.0 U2
- NSX 6.2.3
- VCSA 6.0 U2
The cloud consumer must run:
- vCenter Server 6.0 or above
- vSphere Replication appliance 6.0 (required for native failback and multiple point in time recovery snapshots)
- VMware ESXi Host 5.0, 5.1.x, 5.5.x, or 6.0
- DR virtual data center (DR-VDC) to a vCloud Air Network Service provider running vCloud Availability for vCloud Director
- Internet connection between customer’s on-premises environment and the vCloud Air Network service provider
I hope vCloud Availability brings additional traction to VMware powered cloud computing. The DRaaS use case is very popular. It is a recurring topic in every public cloud discussion I have with customers. I can’t wait for more vCloud Air technology to be pushed out to vCloud Air Network partners. From a infrastructure perspective, no other cloud technology can offer the same level of integration for vSphere environments as vCloud powered clouds. Of course, the cloud discussion is slowly moving away from the infrastructure perspective to the platform- and application perspective, but in my reality cloud native applications and microservices are still very new and most of my customers data centers are running second generation n-tier applications on vSphere. Being able to seamlessly integrate these on-premises data centers and public cloud environments in a hybrid cloud from a infrastructure layer perspective, is still a huge advantage for most customers.
I hope Project Skyscraper (Cross Cloud vMotion) will also be released to VCAN partners soon. How about a non-disruptive Cross Cloud vMotion for a Cloud exit strategy?