Lately I’ve been playing around with vCloud and all the whistles and bells that come along with it. One of the tools that really got my attention was vCloud Connector. Although it might seem as a simplistic tool, it actually is pretty powerful. Especially when you take a look at the use cases for this tool. That when it shows its real value : being the interconnect between vClouds, the hybrid cloud facilitator.
The construct of vCloud Connector
To get a better understanding of vCloud Connector we have to first look at the construct. The following picture gives a good representation of how vCloud Connector is setup.
vCloud Connector is constructed via a server-slave principle. One vCloud Connnection Server (vCCS) is needed. This is the central point access point and responsible for managing the nodes. The nodes are vCloud Connector Nodes (vCCN). Per vCloud instance or vSphere instance a node has to be installed and the have to be attached to the Connection Server. Both the vCloud Connector Server and the vCloud Connector Node can be downloaded at the VMware site
Through the User Interface (UI) the Connection Server can be controlled. The UI is available as a vSphere Client plugin or can be accessed via the web portal http://vcloud.vmware.com. This is were the nodes can be attached and after that the fun can start.
Use Cases for vCloud Connector
Fun being no more that copy-ing or moving workloads between vSphere and / or vCloud instances. Simple, but so effective. I’ve defined the 5 use cases I see. Bare in mind that workload need to be power off. It’s not a (long-distance) vMotion yet, it’s a start. Maybe in the future online will become a reality… Who knows!
#1 Hybrid Cloud; Probably the most referred use case. Moving workload from the private, internal cloud to a vCloud instance provided by a VMware vCloud enabled partner cloud; a public cloud. Drag-and-drop and the workloads will be moved or copied to it’s new home.
#2 Moving between external providers; Nobody likes to be stuck at some provider. At some certain point the decision is made to move your workload from provider A to provider B. Maybe it’s cheaper or the new service provider has got better service levels. Whatever the reason there is always the part of moving from A to B. vCloud Connector makes this task easy as copy-and-past in Windows. Just shut down the vApps and move the workloads to the new vCloud enabled provider.
#3 Migrating to the vCloud; One of the first questions I always get is how to migrate from vSphere to vCloud. vCloud Connector is the way to do this. It connects to the vCenter server and give the option to move or copy virtual machines and templates to a vCloud Director Organization vDC (Org vDC). Easy and simple.
#4 Moving vApps (Templates) between Org vDCs in different organizations; vCloud Connecor can be setup to move vApp (Templates) between Org vDC in different organizations. Normally an organization is a boundary within vCloud Director. By using vCloud Connector vApp (Templates) can be moved or copied between Org vDCs in different organizations.
#5 vCenter to vCenter; Maybe not the first use case to be thought of, but actually you can setup vCloud Connector to copy / move workloads between vCenter instances. This can be done in other ways, I know. We’ve been doing that for years. But vCloud Connector really makes this an easy task. Leveraging this ability through the use of a vSphere Client plugin.
Hopefully this gives a little bit more insight on how vCloud Connector can be used. I would at least advice everybody to install and configure it within their vSphere infrastructure. A powertool to move worlds, at least VM worlds!