Powertool for your vCloud : vCloud Connector

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!

Demo : Building a hybrid VMware vCloud

This video was shot at the Mobile World Congress 2011 and shows a demonstation of the vCloud Connector by VMware.

This is the tool to connect your private vCloud to a public vCloud as I have already explained in my earlier post here.

Building a hybrid vCloud

VMware announced that it is going to release the VMware vCloud Connector. With this connector you will be able to connect to public vCloud solutions that are provided by service providers like Bluelock and Colt and in the near future Verizon (currently in beta).

Over the last couple of months these service providers have been building public vClouds based on VMware vCloud technology. The VMware vCloud Connector is the missing piece of linking your private vCloud (a.k.a. vSphere) to one of the public vClouds of the service providers.

The following link gives a graphic representation on how you should visualize the creation of a hybrid vCloud using the VMware vCloud Connector.

The VMware vCloud Connector is a virtual appliance running in your own private vCloud. By using a plugin in your vSphere client you can use the vCloud Connector to connect to public vClouds that are provided by the service providers that have build vClouds that are accessible through the vCloud API.

By using your vSphere Client together with the vCloud Connector you create a “single pain glass” management console for managing both your private vCloud and public vCloud resources.

This creates a hybrid cloud management interface with the following capabilities :

  • –  Visualize workloads and templates across vSphere and private/public vClouds
  • –  Migrate workloads and templates between vSphere and vClouds
  • –  Perform basic power and deployment operations on workloads and templates
  • –  Access console of vApps in vClouds

For more information on the VMware vCloud Connector, have a look at the post created by VMware vCloud Architect Massimo Re Ferre’

The blog post by VMware can be located here.