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Supplemental Data – for vCloud Director Install Configure Manage Students

This page is intended to supplement the material covered in the vCloud Director -Install Configure Manage (vCloud ICM) class.  VMware vCloud Director  and VMware vCloud Suite are very complex products that require a lot of supporting pieces, as students in the vCloud ICM class quickly learn.  Although the class covers a lot of details and provides detailed hands-on labs, students who are new to vCloud may still struggle with fully understanding and implementing vCloud.  This page is intended to be a central resource to enable those students to implement vCloud on their own and provide supporting data.  The content of this page will be appended and modified over time, mostly based on frequently asked questions from students.

Install vCloud in a Lab – Proof of Concept Testing and Training

Since this product is so complex, it makes sense to begin with installing it in a test lab utilizing a very simple configuration, much like the implementation used in the course labs.   The final lab exercise (Lab 17) from the course, focused on installing vCloud Director.  The initial goal for the student now is to practice installing vCloud in their own lab until they can do so mostly by memory, without having to read the lab exercise or another guide.   Initially, this may still be quite a challenge, since vCloud has so many prerequisites, such as databases, LDAP, Red Hat, etc..   Recommendation:  on the first attempt to implement vCloud for test purposes, first review the Installation Module from the course book and then use the vCloud Evaluation and Evaluation Guide.

VMware vCloud Evaluation  – For newbies to vCloud, consider utilizing the vCloud Evaluation  (Trial) software and Evaluation Guide on your very first attempt to implement vCloud in a test lab.   The trial software includes virtual appliances for vCloud Director, vCenter, and vShield Manager servers, which make the setup much simpler.  This allows the administrator to quickly implement and test the core functionality of vCloud, without the burden of dealing with a ton of infrastructure details. For example, a Windows oriented administrator would not have to be concerned with configuring a Red Hat VM from scratch, just to gin hands-on experience with vCloud.  Also, it includes an Evaluation Guide, which provides the very specific steps to implement and use vCloud Trial products in a lab.  This guide enables the administrator to implement vCloud for test purposes without the need to spend a lot of time on design and planning.  Once the trial implementation is in place, it can be used to practice configuring and using most of the features of vCloud.  Alternatively, the Build a vCloud in a Home Lab blog could be used to configure a lab that is similar to that described in the Evaluation Guide.

After practicing with the Evaluation Implementation, the student can move forward with implementing a more complex configuration.   At this point, the student should review the vCloud Director Installation Guide and vCloud Director Installation Best Practices guides, but a full installation may still seem rather daunting, as it requires so many perquisite items in the environment.  For example, some students are mostly Windows oriented and may find it challenging to install and configure Red Hat to prepare for vCloud Director.  In this case, first consider utilizing  Kendrick Coleman’s webpage for installing vCloud Director 5.1 from beginning to end, within a vSphere lab environment.  It includes very specific details for implementing the Red Hat VM in which vCloud Director will run, including details for configuring the VM, installing Red Hat, configuring Red Hat, etc.

Details on vCloud

vCloud Maximums – VMware students and customers often ask about configuration maximums and limits, which frequently change with each product update.  Typically, designers should avoid on reaching any maximums in their design and should strongly research any potential issues when nearing maximums.  For example, some maximums may only be achieved at the expense of limiting another portion of the design.  Most vCloud related maximums can be found in these knowledge base articles:  VMware vCloud 5.1 Maximums and More VMware vCloud Maximums.  These articles include items such as maximum number of cells, vCenter Servers, VMs, and network pools in a vCloud implementation.

VMware vCloud Cell Load Balancer – in large vClouds, it is best to have at least two vCloud Director Servers (vCloud Director cells) that accessed via a load balancer.  A load balancer is not included in vCloud Director directly.  Many customers utilize third-party load balancers, such as F5, but it is possible to use VMware vCloud Networking and Security Server (vShield)  to provide the load balancing.  Check with a VMware Sales Representation to determine if any additional licenses must be purchased.  Tony Fojta’s Blog has a good article for Load Balancing vCloud Cells using vShield Edge.

VMware vCenter Chargeback – This product is mentioned in the vCloud Director ICM class, but details are not truly provided.  It is covered in details in other classes.   Many students want to learn more about Chargeback because they wish to implement it or wish to understand it to prepare for the IaaS or vCloud certification exams.   The Release Notes are a good place to learn details about the vCenter Chargeback System Requirements and other prerequisites.   The vCenter Chargeback Installation Guide provides the steps for installing the product.  The vCenter User Guide provides the basic steps for configuring the hierarchy, pricing models, reports and other features that are necessary for charging consumers for the vCloud resources they utilize.  Configuring such costs are far from trivial.

NFS Transfer Repository for Multi-cell vCloud Deployments – the vCloud ICM course does not provide a lot of detail on this NFS Repository, other than it is required for mult-cell vClouds.  Certainly, the performance, management, and scalability of this repository could be very important in some vClouds.   Here are some additional details.

Fast-Provisioning – This feature is similar to linked clones in VMware View, where a set of virtual disks from multiple VMs share the same base disk.  It is described rather well in the vCloud ICM course and students gain hands-on experience with it during labs.  But, some students may still struggle to fully understand the concept.  Here is nice  Explanation of vCloud Fast Provisioning from Chris Colloti, including details on the Shadow VMs, use cases, and impact on catalogs.

Integrate vCloud with SSO – This article on the VMware Technologies Blog outlines the steps for configuring vCloud to integrate with VMware vCenter Single Sign-On (SSO)

Configuring vCloud with Microsoft Sysprep packages – The vCloud ICM course and labs provides steps for deploying MS Sysprep into vCloud for guest customization.  This document provides additional details, including a video demonstration.

vCloud Director Ultimate Resource Guide – this document provides a ton of detail on vCloud.  Most students will not want to read all of its content and references, but it is a very useful website to bookmark as a one-stop shop for vCloud information.

Backup and Restore of vCloud Director Virtual Appliance configuration – the many components of vCloud, vSphere, and supporting infrastructure are typically backed up independently today.  So, great care must be made in designing the backup and restoration of the full solution.  But, some data backup vendors are moving towards providing solutions to back up the entire vCloud configuration.  This document is a good starting point to get familiar with the challenge.  It focuses on backup up a vCloud environment that utilized the vCloud virtual appliance.  One product that may be able to easily backup the entire configuration of vCloud is Veeam’s product to backup vCloud .

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