Azure VMware Solution goes into GA

On September 22nd 2020, during Ignite 2020 , Microsoft announced the general availability of next generation of VMware Azure Solution(AVS). If you want to learn about basics of AVS, you can read my previous blog post on Introduction of Azure VMware Solutions. Now AVS is now generally available in four Region at US East, US West, West Europe (Netherlands) and Australia(NSW). AVS also going to be available in Japan East, UK South and South Central US in the near future. You can check the availability of Azure VMware Solution by checking Azure Products by Region page for details.

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Introduction to Azure VMware Solution (AVS)

Azure VMware Solution (AVS) enables you to run VMware SDDC stack natively on Azure to build-up a hybrid cloud infrastructure. AVS is a VMware validated solution that being delivered by Microsoft on Azure environment. According to Microsoft’s release statement in May 2020, “You can provision a full VMware Cloud Foundation environment on Azure and gain compute and storage elasticity as your business needs change”. Popular scenarios for this solution are datacenter footprint reduction, On-demand datacenter expansion, disaster recovery & business continuity and finally application modernization.

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NSX-T 3.0 SSL Certificate Replacement – Part 1

NSX-T installation comes with a out of the box self-signed SSL certificate. Because of security and compliance reasons, most of customers want to replace default self-signed certificate with a CA signed certificates. We have been looking for guide that explains how to do this step-by-step but unfortunately we couldn’t find one! There are some very useful guides like this one from VMware but as you read through, you realize the documentation is not complete. So to make story short, we looked around and ran SSL certification replacement.

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Configure Virtual IP for NSX-T Management Cluster

Now that we have finalize deploying three managers in NSX-T management cluster we can go ahead and configure a Virtual IP(VIP) on it. We can use NSX-T internal mechanism to set an IP address on the cluster or setup an external load balancer in front of NSX-T managers. Configuring VIP which is recommended by VMware is more simple but using a LB would load balance traffic among NSX-T managers. This is a design question and should be chosen based on requirements and customer needs.

Please keep in mind that if you want to choose this approach, you need to have all NSX-T managers are on the same subnet. In this case, managers are attached to SDDC Management network. To configure Virtual IP, login to NSX-T Manager UI, choose System and on the left panel select Appliances then click on SET VIRTUAL IP option.

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Deploying NSX-T Management Cluster

In a previous blog post, NSX-T architecture explained and now we can start implementation of NSX-T. Deployment process of NSX-T Data Center beings with deployment of NSX-T Management cluster. In NSX-T 3.0 management cluster is consist of three NSX-T managers which include both management and control plane. The management plane provides Web UI, REST API and also interface to other management platforms like vCenter Server, vCloud Director or vRealize Automation. The Control plane is responsible for computing and distributing network run time state.

NSX-T managers can be deployed on ESXi or KVM hypervisor. If you are planning to use ESXi platform to host NSX-T managers, an OVA file should be used. On the other hand for KVM platform, a QCOW2 image will be used for NSX-T manager deployment. It is important to note that mixed deployments of managers on both ESXi and KVM are not supported. Based on type of deployment and size of environment, NSX-T manager node size configuration should be selected. Following is the four different configuration options and their requirements.

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What’s New in NSX-T 3.0

On April 7th 2020, VMware introduced next major release of its Network Virtualization & Security solution. NSX-T 3.0 introduces variety of new features which enhance the adoption of software-defined networking in private, pubic and hybrid-cloud environment.

Following are some of the new features and enhancements that are available in NSX-T 3.0 Datacenter;

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What’s new in VCF 4.0?

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On March 10th 2020, VMware released VMware Cloud Foundation(VCF) 4.0 along side a refresh on its other SDDC protofolio including vSphere 7.0, vSAN 7.0 and vRealize Suite 2019 latest release. By deploying VCF 4.0, you can take advantage of all the components that are included in the package and there are some features which only available with VCF 4.0. For example Kubernetes capabilities of vSphere 7 are only included as part of VCF 4.0 with Tanzu. Following you can find Bill of Materials(BoM) for VCF 4.0.

One of the new capabilities that have been added to VCF 4.0 is the possibility to use NSX-T in Management workload domains. Before VCF 4.0, Management workload domain had to use NSX-V as networking and security virtualization solution. NSX-T will also used as a defacto network and virtualization solution for VM and container workload. With use of NSX-T we have the option to bring up one NSX-T Management cluster that can serve many workload domains.

VCF 4.0 also supports latest update of vRealize Suite 2019 which includes;

  • vRealize Automation 8.1
  • vRealize Opertions 8.1
  • vRealize Log Insight 8.1

All the above products have the capability to operate based on container workloads beside normal VM workload. VCF SDDC Manage 4.0 together with vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager 8.1 will automate the process of lifecycle management for both VCF core components and also vRealize suite components.

NSX-T Architecture & Components

As it mentioned in Introduction to VMware NSX , NSX-T Datacenter is built on three integrated layers of components which are Management Plane, Control plane & Data plane. This architecture and separation of key roles enables scalability without impacting workloads.

NSX-T Management cluster which built from three-node NSX-T managers controller nodes. Management plane and control plane are converged on each node. NSX managers provides Web-GUI and REST API for management purposes. This is one of the architectural difference compared to NSX-V which had to integrate into vSphere Client & vCenter server. NSX Manager is also could be consumed by Cloud Management Platform(CMP) like vRealize Automation to integrate SDN into cloud automation platforms. NSX-T Manager can also connect to vSphere infrastructure through integration with vCenter Server(Compute Manager).

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VMware’s New per-CPU Licensing Model

VMware has announced new update to per-CPU licensing model. Ok don’t panic VMware is not going to bring back vRAM licensing model but they added new CPU related license type. Effective from April 2nd 2020, building a server with a processor which has more than 32 cores needs additional license. According to VMware’s website, “Under the new model, one CPU license covers up to 32 cores in a single CPU”. This means, additional license requires to be purchased for every 32 physical CPU cores! So if there is a single-CPU server with up to 32 physical cores, as before, 1 license should be purchased. But if there is single-CPU server with 64 cores, 2 licenses needed because as it said before every license covers a single CPU with up to 32 cores. To get a better view of this change, take a look at below image from VMware.

Fortunately for those who are going to buy servers and VMware licenses till April 30th 2020, there is “Free per CPU licensing” program. According to VMware website, “Any existing customers who purchase VMware software licenses, to be deployed on a physical server with more than 32-cores per CPU, prior to April 30, 2020 will be eligible for additional free per-CPU licenses to cover the CPUs on that server”.

You can also get more information from VMware’s website!