VMware Cloud on AWS – Let’s create our first VMware SDDC on AWS!

VMware Cloud on AWS quick overview

–edited on January, 2018 to align with some changes in the Service–

VMware Cloud on AWS has been released two years ago and has got a lot of impressive positive feedback from customers.
There are tons of official and unofficial blog posts out there explaining what the VMware Cloud on AWS service is, the advantages for customers and all the use cases, so I’ll give you just a quick overview:
VMware Cloud on AWS is a unified SDDC platform that integrates VMware vSphere, VMware vSAN and VMware NSX virtualization technologies, and will provide access to the broad range of AWS services, together with the functionality, elasticity, and security customers have come to expect from the AWS Cloud.
Integrates VMware’s flagship compute, storage, and network virtualization products (vSphere, vSAN and NSX) along with vCenter management, and optimizes it to run on next-generation, elastic, bare-metal AWS infrastructure.
The result is a complete turn-key solution that works seamlessly with both on-premises vSphere based private clouds and advanced AWS services.
The service is sold, delivered, operated and supported by VMware. The service is delivered over multiple releases with increasing use-cases, capabilities, and regions.

VMware Cloud on AWS

SDDC Creation Steps

The first step we have to do is connecting to the VMC on AWS console, pointing to the following URL https://vmc.vmware.com/console/
The landing page provides an overview of the available SDDCs (if any).

VMware Cloud on AWS

Create SDDC

To create a new SDDC, we have to click on the “Create SDDC” button.

SDDC Properties

The SDDC creation wizard starts, we must choose an AWS Region that will host the SDDC, we must give the SDDC a unique name, and we must select the number of ESXi Hosts our Cluster will be made of. The minimum number of Hosts for a production Cluster is 3. You can create a 1-node Cluster for test and demo purposes, this single Host Cluster will expire under 30 days and can be converted to a full SDDC before expiration.

VMware Cloud on AWS

Stretched Cluster option

When we Select Multi-Host for a production deployment, we can choose to have our SDDC (vSphere Cluster) hosted in a single AWS Availability Zone (one subnet) or distributed across two AZs on two different subnets (vSphere Stretched Cluster).

VMware Cloud on AWS

Connect AWS Account

The next step in the wizard is to choose an AWS Account that will be connected to the VMware Cloud account. This enables us to choose the VPC and Availability Zone(s) where we want our SDDC to be Hosted. In the case we’ll use native AWS Services, these will be charged on this AWS Account.

VMware Cloud on AWS

Choose VPC and Subnet (Availability Zone)

In the next step we must choose the VPC and Subnet that will host our SDDC.

VMware Cloud on AWS

Management Subnet CIDR

The final step of the wizard is to choose a CIDR for the Management Network. This step is optional and you can leave the default, being sure that the default CIDR doesn’t overlap with any network that will connect to the SDDC (e.g. on-premises network that will connect to the SDDC trough a VPN connection). We can now deploy the SDDC.

VMware Cloud on AWS

Check SDDC creation progress

The progress window will show. As you can see, we are going to have our 4-node SDDC ready in less than 2 hours!

VMware Cloud on AWS

New SDDC deployed

Once deployed, we’ll be able to see our brand new SDDC under the SDDCs tab in the console.

VMware Cloud on AWS

SDDC details

Clicking on “VIEW DETAILS” we can access the SDDC Summary and all the available options such as adding and removing Hosts from the Cluster or accessing the network configuration.

VMware Cloud on AWS

Add a new Host

Let’s add a new Host to our SDDC. It’s simple like clicking on “ADD HOST”. If this new Host is only needed to manage a burst in our compute power needs, we can simply remove the Host when it will not be needed anymore and we’ll have an additional charge, for the additional capacity we added, only for the time frame the additional Host existed.

VMware Cloud on AWS

Specify number of Hosts to add

We can specify how many Hosts we want to add, till the maximum supported size of 16 Hosts per Cluster.

VMware Cloud on AWS

New Host(s) addition task progress

We’ll see a task in progress for the new Host addition to the Cluster.

VMware Cloud on AWS

Expanded SDDC

After a few minutes, we’ll have our SDDC made of 5 Hosts.

VMware Cloud on AWS

Manage SDDC Networking

One we have our SDDC in place, we’ll need to manage it remotely and to configure firewall and NAT rules to publish services. This is managed in the Network tab. Once we enter the network configuration tab, the first thing we are shown is a very nice diagram that highlights the network and security configuration of our SDDC.
Here we can see the Management and Compute Gateway configuration overview and any VPN or Firewall rule we have in place.

Management Gateway

Scrolling Down we can see the Management Gateway section, where we can create and manage IPsec VPNs and Firewalling to/from the Management Network.

VMware Cloud on AWS

Compute Gateway

Under the Compute Gateway section we can create and manage IPsec VPNs, L2VPNs, Firewall Rules, NAT to/from the Compute Networks, where our workloads reside.

VMware Cloud on AWS

Direct Connect

The last section we find under the Network tab is the Direct Connect section. Here we can manage the Virtual Interfaces (vifs) in case we have a Direct Connect in place to connect our SDDC with another on-premises or Service Provider hosted environment.

VMware Cloud on AWS

Tech Support real-time CHAT

In the bottom right corner of the console you can always find the Chat button. This is a fantastic feature that enables you to have real-time support from VMware Technical Support.

VMware Cloud on AWS

SDDC Add Ons

In the Add Ons tab we can manage the available add ons to the VMware Cloud on AWS offering: Hybrid Cloud Extension and Site Recovery.
Hybrid Cloud Extension is included in the VMware Cloud on AWS offering and enables us to seamlessly migrate workloads from remote vCenters to the SDDC.
Site Recovery is a paying add on that enables our SDDC as a target for Disaster Recovery from remote vCenters.

VMware Cloud on AWS

SDDC Troubleshooting

The troubleshooting tab gives us a tool to check and validate connectivity for a selected use case.

VMware Cloud on AWS

SDDC Settings

The settings tab provides us the overview of all the main settings for the SDDC.

VMware Cloud on AWS

SDDC Support

The Support tab provides us all the information we should provide to Technical Support when needed.

VMware Cloud on AWS

This concludes the creation of our first SDDC in VMware Cloud on AWS.
In a couple of hours we can have a powerful VMware full-stack SDDC deployed in AWS, enabling us to quickly respond to a lot of use cases such as Disaster Recovery, Geo expansion and global scale, bursting.
What a great stuff!

 

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