My quick journey into the new public cloud offer by VMware has obviously started from the interface VMware offers to its customers.
vCHS is offered in two different versions: “Dedicated Cloud” and “Virtual Private Cloud”. Without deep diving into the details of the two versions, since you can directly get information from VMware website if you need them, the basic difference between the two versions is the availability of dedicated hardware in the “Dedicated Cloud”, and not shared with other customers.
I had access to the “Virtual Private Cloud” solution, and is shared with other vExpert also partecipating in the early access progrma. Once you login into the web interface, this is how it looks:
VMware decided to develop a custom interface, based on the vCloud APIs available to all the vCloud users; in fact other vCloud Service Providers have already created their own interfaces. I’m not aware about what percentage of the vCloud APIs are also available in vCHS, anyway users can open the underlying vCloud Director with a simple link when needed.
After a short tour of the GUI, I must say my first opinion is extremely positive: the dashboard gives a quick feedback of bought and available resources, both for the whole subscription and also per Virtual Datacenter. The main activities a user can do are all there, as for example all the management tasks of VMs:
Then, I start to pretend to be a customer. Since the service itself is called “Hybrid”, I thought about a company that already have its own “on premise” virtual infrastructure, and is willing to extend it by using vCHS. At the beginning, usually a customer evaluate which workloads are best to be moved into an external service like vCHS; among the “usual suspects” there could be the corporate email (maybe a MS Exchange Server), or an additional domain controller to better protect its own Active Directory from problems in its primary site.
So, I created a small virtual machine, that is then going to become my third domain controller for my lab, that already have two DCs. In vCHS you can use a VM catalog, create and manage your own catalog via vCloud (where you can upload both OVF or ISO files), or you can create your own VMs from scratch.
Since Active Directory in my lab is already based on Windows 2012, I used one of the available templates and I quickly created my first virtual machine.
The VM creation task is smooth and simple, and as you can see from these screenshots you only have to set few parameters; from here vCHS starts to deploy your new VM.
Once the VM is deployed, you can configure the VM by choosing the network you want to connect it to, edit again the hardware settings, and then power it on to initiate (if selected) the Guest OS customization.
VM management is possible for the most part directly from vCHS, without a real need to go into vCloud Director.
One thing that captured my interest, while looking at the available commands, is “Register for backup”:
I do not have any information at the moment, but the service will be available in the future so you will have a backup solution directly integrated in the user interface.
In my opinion, a Self-Service Data Protection service in a IaaS platform ir really a great thing. Every Cloud Provider already have and offer backups for the virtual machines they they host, but usually the customer cannot manage directly backup and most of all restore operations. This happens because backup solutions usually interact with the underlying vSphere infrastructure, and obviously the customer cannot have access to it. So, these kind of solutions are really welcome!
It will be really interesting to be able in the future to test it, and to compare it with alternative solutions like the upcoming Veeam Backup & Replication 7for example, since it will offer too the delegation to customers of the activities.