VMware vCloud on Vblock

More and more of the discussions I have with service providers revolve around how to tackle the challenges being placed on the operations side of the house.  Fortunately, VCE and the Vblock have lots of tools and features that we can bring to bear on that issue, and one key piece of that story is VMware’s vCloud Director.

One of the challenges that vCloud Director poses for Service Providers, is that it’s not a management application.  Most SPs will leverage the included Vblock Advanced Management Pod to house all of the non-revenue generating pieces of the infrastructure, but vCloud Director, with it’s incredible active and important database, vCenter instance and web nodes takes some special consideration and planning.  It’s much more a Tier 1 app than it is a management tool, and that changes how things get laid out somewhat.

With that as background, and driven by the rate of adoption we were all seeing in the field, a group of VCE and VMware folks got together and started working through how vCD could be best implemented on a Vblock.  Kendrick Coleman from VCE and Chris Colotti VMware will also be posting this document and their thoughts, and we broke the design up into pieces and contributed to the final solution, focusing on four key areas:

  • Management Infrastructure
  • Networking Infrastructure
  • Storage Infrastructure
  • Scalability

It’s important for me to make a couple things clear before you dig into the design itself.  This paper is the culmination of a series of discussions and whiteboard sessions that the authors had, and not necessarily a solution that is supported or endorsed by either VCE or VMware.  It is designed to help people understand one of the more complete ways to implement the official VMware vCD reference architecture while staying true to the core of the Vblock standard.  There are definitely some suggestions in here that would need to be approved by VCE before they were implemented, so please make sure that anything you do with your Vblock isn’t going to impact your ability to take advantage of the one-call support process!  It’s possible that there may be an “official” vCD on Vblock reference architecture at some point in the future, and if that happens we’ll definitely point people in that direction…

This is also very much a work in progress.  Hopefully it will change due to feedback from you, our readers and the customers who are using these designs in the field!  Obviously there will have to be some changes made based on the soon-to-be-released vCD1.5 release, but the core of the architecture holds true for both versions.

This was a blast to work on.  Kenny and Chris in particular, but the entire group including Sumner Burkhart and Sony Francis, are great to work with, incredibly smart, responsive and always focused on the customer and how we could best serve them.  There were some long days in conference rooms drawing on whiteboards, weeks and weeks of e-mail exchanges, at least one instance of Kenny almost losing his sanity and a very memorable dinner which included all of the New England Patriots cheerleaders and someone using the pickup line “I was there when you were born”.  These guys are the reason I love this job, and I can’t wait for our next project.

Enjoy the paper, and please make sure to send your feedback!

VMware vCloud on Vblock Design Considerations