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Make VMware work for you on IBM Cloud, Part 2

Deploy and migrate on-premises VMware workloads to IBM Cloud with these use cases

Tailor these use cases to meet your clients' specific needs

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Content series:

This content is part # of 2 in the series: Make VMware work for you on IBM Cloud, Part 2

Stay tuned for additional content in this series.

This content is part of the series:Make VMware work for you on IBM Cloud, Part 2

Stay tuned for additional content in this series.

VMware on IBM Cloud enables existing VMware clients to extend their infrastructure to IBM Cloud. This is illustrated through use cases like expanding capacity in the cloud (and contracting capacity when it’s not needed), migrating to the cloud, backup and disaster recovery, and standing up a dedicated cloud environment for development and test workloads.

This tutorial expands on the concepts presented in Part 1 by detailing the design of the use cases mentioned above and their implementation on IBM Cloud. This solution design is intended to serve as a baseline that provides the flexibility needed to tailor custom solutions to meet the compute, storage, and networking needs of specific clients, depending on their existing requirements and limitations.

Part 1 explored the compute, network, and storage options available in IBM Cloud. Now let's discuss three different use cases to understand how these components can best meet clients’ requirements.

Existing resources provide a high-level description of components in IBM Cloud, but don’t offer a detailed description of all the available options and "what to choose when" guidance. With clients looking for more customized solutions based on their requirements, it is important to know all available options as well as limitations to providing the best possible solution.

Table 1 defines some of the basic terms used in this article series.

Table 1. VMware on IBM Cloud key components and features
TermDefinition
Software-defined data center (SDDC)A data storage facility in which all elements of the infrastructure—networking, storage, CPU, and security—are virtualized and delivered as a service.
Virtual machine (VM) workloadsWorkloads deployed on those VMs that run, for example, a user's business applications.
IBM CloudThe infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS) offered through public, private, and hybrid cloud delivery models.
Dedicated storageStorage where the storage host is dedicated to a single client only (for example, VSAN, IBM SA, and Quantastor).
Shared storageStorage where data from multiple clients is hosted on the same storage host using a virtualization concept (for example, endurance and performance).
vRealize Orchestrator (vRO) and vRealize Automation (vRA)Provide an automation and orchestration platform that simplifies complex IT tasks and improves service delivery efficiency, operational management, and IT agility.
vSphere Operations Management (VOM)Delivers intelligent operations management with application-to-storage visibility across physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructures. Using policy-based automation, operations teams automate key processes and improve IT efficiency.
Site Recovery Manager (SRM)Works in conjunction with various replication solutions, including VMware vSphere Replication, to provide disaster recovery capability by automating the process of migrating, recovering, testing, re-protecting, and failing-back virtual machine workloads.
Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS)Migrates virtual machines from a host that is running low on resources to any that can both sustain the additional load and supplement the resources required by the VMs. The main function of DRS is to ensure that a VM is allocated the required computing resources to run optimally.
vSphere Data Protection (VDP)A backup and recovery solution from VMware that is fully integrated with VMware vCenter Server and VMware vSphere Web Client, providing disk-based backup of virtual machines and applications.
VXLAN Tunnel Endpoints (VTEPs)VTEP functionality is part of the vSphere Distributed Switch (VDS) and is installed as a VMware Installation Bundle (VIB). This module is responsible for Virtual eXtensible Local Area Network (VXLAN) data path processing, which includes maintenance of forwarding tables and encapsulation and de-encapsulation of packets.
Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP)Provides a method to control the bundling of several physical ports together to form a single logical channel. LACP allows a network device to negotiate an automatic bundling of links by sending LACP packets to the peer (a directly connected device that also implements LACP).

Use cases

The three standard use cases below cover the solution design of VMware components on IBM Cloud. Apart from these three use cases, you have various options for migrating on-premises workloads to IBM Cloud. These features are covered later in this document.

Capacity expansion for new workloads

This solution allows clients to seamlessly place their dedicated on-premises workloads into a more resource- and cost -efficient software-defined data center that leverages vSphere and other basic VMware components. This design mainly focuses on the VMware Hypervisor (ESXi) only type of architecture, which does not include VSAN or Network virtualization (NSX). However, we can expand this design to include both NSX and VSAN capabilities based on the client's requirements.

Dev/Test

By using VMware on IBM Cloud, clients can physically separate and extend development and test environments for on-premise applications into the IBM Cloud, eliminating the risk of overusing CPU, storage, and network resources from mission-critical workloads. Developers also benefit by getting the agility and scalability to expand the infrastructure when necessary and to perform rapid deployments. This use case leverages all of the major components of VMware, such as vSphere, NSX, and VSAN.

Disaster Recovery (DR) for the VMware environment

DR for the VMware environment enables clients to securely back up data in and to the IBM Cloud while boosting recovery times, cutting costs, and reducing risks. Clients can migrate the VMs back and forth whenever there is maintenance activity in the primary site. This allows clients to have cost-efficient solutions that also provide more flexibility for DR setup.

Standard design for implementating use cases

Part 1 explored the compute, network, and storage options available in IBM Cloud. Now let's discuss three different client scenarios to understand how these components can best meet clients’ requirements.

Client scenario 1

Overview: In this scenario, the client prefers to move their Dev/Test workload from on premises to Cloud in order to reduce IT infrastructure expenses and server provisioning time. This is a classic example of cloud burst wherein the workload will move back and forth from on premises to cloud.

Client requirements:

  • Client requires shared storage with high IOPS
  • Backup storage with medium IOPS
  • There is no requirement for SDN
  • Migrate on-premises workloads to IBM Cloud
  • Existing infrastructure uses VMware ESXi 6.0

Based on the above requirements, the solution design takes into consideration the network and storage options available in IBM Cloud. Since the client is not looking for SDN, the physical network components remain the same.

Table 2. Client scenario 1 - solution components
RequirementSolution
Storage with high IOPSObject- or file-based endurance
Backup storage with medium IOPSObject- or file-based endurance
Migration of workloads from on premises to IBM CloudvSphere vMotion
Connectivity between on premises and IBM CloudDirect link from on premises to IBM Cloud
Connectivity between external clients and IBM CloudConnect to IBM Cloud through Vyatta gateway

On-premises clients can connect to IBM Cloud using Direct Link (IPsec), whereas external clients can connect through the Vyatta firewall, passing through the Netscaler load balancer. VLANs are used to isolate the network within the private network.

Figure 1 depicts the architecture for a fully set up and functional VMware on IBM Cloud adopting SDDC. Clients connect to VMware through the Vyatta firewall and NSX Edge. Internet users connect via public VLAN, and their incoming requests are load balanced using NetScaler. (This can be either physical or virtual.)

Figure 1. VMware ESXi on IBM Cloud architecture
VMware ESXi on IBM Cloud architecture
VMware ESXi on IBM Cloud architecture

Once users are connected to the IBM Cloud, all of the VMs on ESXi hosts that are on premises are migrated to the IBM Cloud data center using vSphere vMotion.

For bulk migration, you have few other options, as shown in Table 3.

Table 3. Migration options
Method/toolSource VM stateScriptableKey use caseWAN optimization capable
OVFTOOLColdYes (via command line)Offline scripted transfer of VM packages; export package and transport (SneakerNet, UDT, Optimize, FileTransfer, etc.)Not applicable -- package format only
VMware ConverterCold (VM), Live (Physical Hot Clone)Yes (via API)Converting physical or other format VMs to vSphereRequires third party
vSphere replicationLive*NoSimple/manual replication of live VMs; requires downtime for recovery onlyRequires third party
SRMLive*Yes (via API), but vSphere replication not exposed via APIOrchestrated replication and recovery of live VMs; requires minimal downtime for recoveryRequires third party
vSphere cold migrationColdYes (via SDK) https://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/sdk_pubs.htmlSingle vCenter management scenario; not intended for large-scale migrationRequires third party

* vSphere replication and SRM will not provide live migrations of running VMs across sites (Metro vMotion). VMs will be replicated while live/running, but recovery processes will require downtime for the running VMs in the source site and startup of recovery site replicated VMs.

Client scenario 2

Overview: The client prefers to migrate their on-premises VMware workload to a solution on cloud that exhibits the SDDC “service” feature. In this scenario, the SDDC architecture must be deployed on the target cloud environment.

Client requirements:

  • Client requires software-defined storage and a software-defined network as part of the solution
  • Backup storage with medium IOPS
  • Migrate on-premises workloads to IBM Cloud
  • Existing infrastructure uses VMware ESXi 6.0
Table 4. Client scenario 2 - solution components
RequirementSolution
Software-defined storageVMware VSAN
Backup storage with medium IOPSObject- or file-based performance
Software-defined networkVMware NSX
Migration of workloads from on premises to IBM CloudvSphere vMotion
Connectivity between on premises and IBM CloudDirect link from on premises to IBM Cloud
Connectivity between external clients and IBM CloudConnect to IBM Cloud via NSX Edge gateway

The solution is designed such that both storage and network requirements are achieved. VMware VSAN acts as SDS while VMware NSX fulfills the SDN requirement.

The on-premises client can connect to IBM Cloud using Direct Link (IPsec) while external clients can connect through the NSX logical firewall, which replaces the physical Vyatta gateway. VLANs are used to isolate the network within the private network. The setup in Figure 2 uses VSAN storage, in contrast to the endurance/performance storage setup shown in Figure 1.

Figure 2. VMware ESXi on IBM Cloud architecture with VSAN and NSX
VMware ESXi on IBM Cloud architecture with VSAN and NSX
VMware ESXi on IBM Cloud architecture with VSAN and NSX

Logical NSX components perform the routing and load balancing. Once the users are connected to the IBM Cloud, all the ESXi hosts from on premises are migrated to the IBM Cloud data center using vSphere vMotion.

The VMware NSX software networking and security virtualization platform delivers the operational model of a virtual machine for the network. Virtual networks reproduce the Layer2 to Layer7 network model in software, allowing multi-tier network topologies to be created and provisioned quickly, without the need for additional IBM Cloud physical private networks.

NSX Edge has the ability to reproduce logical switches, logical routers, firewalls, VPNs, and load balancers. Using these capabilities, clients’ guest VM networks can be segmented based on the workload (web, app, database, etc.), and internal routing can be configured.

This design contains NSX Manager and three controllers, which provide the capabilities mentioned above. Based on client requirements, NSX Edge, Distributed Logical Router (DLR), and VXLANs vary.

VSAN provides the storage pooling capability of local hybrid disks (SATA + SSD) and the entire storage accessibility to both management and guest VMs.

Client scenario 3

Overview: The client requires two data centers to migrate their on-premises VMware workloads to IBM Cloud by implementing the replication and backup options across the data centers. Here, the client is looking to test/deploy disaster recovery capability on the cloud. A second instance of the cloud is also used as a backup strategy.

Client requirements:

  • Two data centers with synchronous replication of data across both
  • Backup storage that is replicated and synchronized
  • Failover across the data centers in the event of a disaster
  • Migration of on-premises workloads to IBM Cloud
  • Self-service portal to place request and provision VMs with approvals

The solution design supports the client requirement of two data centers with storage replication implemented across both. On-premises clients connect to the IBM Cloud network using a direct link, whereas external clients connect through NSX Edge gateway.

Table 5. Client scenario 3 - solution components
RequirementSolution
Storage synchronous replicationIBM Spectrum Accelerate
Backup storage with medium IOPSObject- or file-based storage
Software-defined networkVMware NSX
Migration of workloads from on premises to IBM CloudvSphere vMotion
Connectivity between on premises and IBM CloudDirect link from on premises to IBM Cloud
Connectivity between external clients and IBM CloudConnect to IBM Cloud via NSX Edge gateway
DC1 – DC2 storage replicationvSphere high availability (HA) functionality
Failover between DC1 and DC2SRM with help of DRS and Netscaler supports DC-to-DC failover in case of a disaster event
Self-service portalvRA and vRO help clients automate and orchestrate the placement of requests, and provision VMs
Back up data in both data centersvSphere Data Protection(vDP) is used to back up the data in both data centers

IBM Spectrum Accelerate supports this design with synchronous replication. Spectrum storage starts with 4 ESXi hosts and scales up to 15 physical hosts per cluster. Spectrum doesn’t support All Flash storage. It supports a maximum of 2 SSDs for caching purposes. Dual 10GbE is mandatory for IBM Spectrum Accelerate implementation, and it's important to keep this requirement in mind when selecting appropriate SoftLayer data centers.

Figure 3 shows the network flow from users who are on the internet or at a client location to two instances of the VMware on Cloud setup—one a production instance and other for disaster recovery. In this setup, IBM Spectrum is the storage solution.

Figure 3. VMware ESXi on IBM Cloud architecture DC-DC replication
VMware ESXi on IBM Cloud architecture DC-DC replication
VMware ESXi on IBM Cloud architecture DC-DC replication

DC1-to-DC2 failover takes place with the help of Netscaler, SRM, and DRS. vRealize automation provides a self-service portal to the client, and VM provisioning can be achieved with the help of vRealize Orchestrator workflows.

The three client scenarios described above act as the default design template, and custom solutions for new clients can be derived from these scenarios, which include compute, storage, and network as key components.

Conclusion

In this tutorial, we showed you how to:

  • Apply VMware on IBM Cloud through real-time use cases
  • Implement and migrate VMware on IBM Cloud without SDN, including options for migrating various kind of workloads from on premises to IBM Cloud
  • Implement and migrate VMware on IBM Cloud with SDDC
  • Implement VMWare on IBM Cloud with data-center-to-data-center replication and failover capabilities
  • Migrate VMware workload from on premises to IBM Cloud and the associated network options available
  • Select the appropriate migration tool(s) for specific use cases

The concepts and examples provided in these tutorials should make it easier for you to make decisions about your architecture. You should be able to produce a foolproof solution by referring to these scenarios and by using the appropriate tool sets for migrating client workloads from on premises to IBM Cloud.

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the following people, whose support and help was sought from time to time::

  • Gautam U Bhat—Technical Lead, VMware on IBM Cloud
  • Senthilkumar Vimalraj—Subject Matter Expert, IBM Cloud for OpenStack for Watson Health
  • Nilanjan Banerjee—Technical Sales Specialist, IBM Cloud
  • Vinod Chavan—Technical Executive, IBM Cloud Tech Sales

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ArticleTitle=Make VMware work for you on IBM Cloud, Part 2: Deploy and migrate on-premises VMware workloads to IBM Cloud with these use cases
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