VMware vCloud Air from Beta to Now

VMware OnDemand Early Access

I was given the privilege to test out what was formally called VMware vCHS on demand, and up until the beta phase of OnDemand you would have to size and buy chunks of resources if you were going to use the VMware vCHS service. When they announced the beta on demand program I was nothing but excited and intrigued as to how this new service would pan out.

Having the ability to spin up cloud resources ondemand from within a familiar interface (VMware vCenter) is everything a virtualization admin could ever want. I had my doubts about how easy it would actually be though. I assumed much coding or special plugins would be needed in order to administer virtual machines in a remote cloud. To my surprise however it was quite the opposite experience for me. When I logged in for the first time the interface was very clean and only showed me the basic options that I needed. Below is a screenshot of how easy it is to create a new virtual machine in vCloud Air, complete with a cost calculator.

Create a new VM in vCloud Air

Below you can see all of your resource usage across your own cloud. You can even get the same view on individual virtual machines with up to the latest hour worth of data.


I am a long time user of VMware Workstation and with the release of Workstation 11, the is also support for vCloud Air. So for those of you that do not administer VMware ESX hosts/clusters you can still fire up virtual machines in the cloud. It surprises me how many IT professionals are still building home labs when they can be utilizing on demand cloud resources. You can build a hybrid cloud now from a laptop with VMware workstation and vCloud Air OnDemand. Below are some screenshots of the workstation integration:

workstation 11 vcloud air

vmware vcloud air workstation
Besides the native integrations and ease of use lets talk a bit more about one of the easiest use cases for vCloud Air… Disaster Recovery. Late adopters of cloud technologies can’t argue the fact that DR is still a great use case for cloud technologies. Some of the newer features released include:

  • Native failback support – Customers will now be able to resume normal data center operations in their primary data center following a failover to vCloud Air. Customers will be able to replicate workloads back from vCloud Air to their primary environment over the network and resume normal operations.
  • Multiple recovery points – Customers will have the option to roll back to multiple earlier snapshots of their data center environment. This is vital to recover from outages caused by data corruption, viruses or hacking attacks that compromise the most recent recovery point.

If you haven’t already, go ahead and check it out. VMware is currently offering $300 in service credits for your first 90 days which is plenty of time to try out all of the features. As always if you have any questions or need me to elaborate on anything please comment below or follow me on twitter.



OpenStack Icehouse Released Today

The latest version of OpenStack called Icehouse was released today.

New Features in Icehouse

OpenStack Icehouse has nearly 350 new features that reflect a community-wide effort to bring the voice of the user into the rapidly maturing open source cloud software platform. Key themes this release cycle have been raising the bar on testing and stability, as well as tighter integration across the platform. OpenStack Database Service (Trove) also became part of the integrated release in Icehouse.

Compute (Nova)

New support for rolling upgrades minimizes the impact to running workloads during the upgrade process. Testing requirements for third-party drivers have become more stringent, and scheduler performance is improved. Other enhancements include improved boot process reliability across platform services, new features exposed to end users via API updates (e.g., target machines by affinity) and more efficient access to the data layer to improve performance, especially at scale.

Object Storage (Swift)

Object Storage released discoverability, which dramatically improves workflows and saves time by allowing users to ask any Object Storage cloud what capabilities are available via API call. Additional improvements included a new replication process that improves performance with data that is more efficiently transported through s-sync instead of r-sync protocol. Significant progress was also made on ongoing storage policies features and will be further developed for the Juno release.

Block Storage (Cinder)

Block Storage added backend migrations with tiered storage environments, allowing for performance management in heterogeneous environments. Mandatory testing for external drivers now ensures a consistent user experience across storage platforms, and fully distributed services improve scalability. Overall quality, dependability and upgrades were a focus for Icehouse including fixing more than 400 bugs.

Networking (Neutron)

Networking introduced tighter integration with Compute in Icehouse that includes improved consistency with bulk instance creation and improved provisioning. There is better functional testing for actions that require coordination between multiple services, and third-party driver testing now ensures consistency and reliability across network implementations. Significant progress was made during the Icehouse release cycle to bring OpenStack Networking (Neutron) to feature parity with Nova-Networking, but both options are still available for users in the Icehouse release.

Dashboard (Horizon)

OpenStack Dashboard again expanded its multi-lingual support and now includes 16 languages with the addition of German, Hindi and Serbian. Additional improvements to the general user interface and experience were also implemented such as a more self-guided navigation, inline table editing and extensibility.

Identity Service (Keystone)

The first iteration of federated authentication is now supported allowing users to access private and public OpenStack clouds with the same credentials. General stability and performance improvements were also made.

Orchestration (Heat)

Automated scaling of additional resources across the platform, including compute, storage and networking is now available. A new configuration API brings more lifecycle management for applications, and new capabilities are available to end-users that were previously limited to cloud administrators. Collaboration with OASIS resulted in the TOSCA Simple Profile in YAML v1.0, demonstrating how the feedback and expertise of hands-on OpenStack developers can dramatically improve the applicability of standards.

Telemetry (Ceilometer)

Telemetry features improved access to metering data used for automated actions or billing / chargeback purposes.

Database Service (Trove)

A new capability included in the integrated release allows users to manage relational database services in an OpenStack environment.

Image Service (Glance)

The Image Service features improved calculation of storage quotas, and the project moved to using 0-based indices for location entries.