VMware vCloud Director – the what and evalution

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Last week I was asked about vCloud Director. I haven’t worked with vCloud Director the last couple of projects (single users of their private infrastructure). I thought I can use this question to buff up my vCloud Director skills, update my lab to 5.5 and do a blog post in one.

vCloud director, what’s that?

vCloud director is a solution from VMware to enable organisations to build multi-tenant private clouds. This is done by creating virtual data centers on infrastructure resources. Users (or tenants) of those virtual data centers can use vCloud Director to consume their resources in a service that is offered through a Web portal. The web portal enables self service to cloud provider customers (Infrastructure as a Service, IaaS) or internal tenants for multi-tenant organisations.

And what do you need? – A litte vCloud Director architecture first.

vCloud director consist of the following components:

– A vCloud director “cell”. A single instance of vCloud Director is known as a “cell.” This can be vCloud Director installed on a VM with supported OS or this can be a vCloud Directory appliance. Important Note here: the vCloud Director appliance is not for production (5.5 still not supported). It is designed for Proof of concepts or demo environment (lower scale single cell). Appliance are designed for removing complexity. So yes.. I’m using the appliance in this evaluation.
– vCloud Director database. Information about objects, users and other vCloud related data is stored in a MS SQL or Oracle database. With more then one cell in your environment, all cells communicate with one vCloud Director database. This component is critical and should be high available.
– vCenter Server. The vCenter instance supplies a connection for vCloud Director with the needed resources, such as CPU and memory. vCloud can be connected to one or more vCenter instances. For my demo I’m using a vCenter Server Appliance 5.5.
– ESXi hosts. They provide the computing power. They are grouped in clusters or resource pools via vCenter. With these hosts also comes attached storage resources, which in their case can be clustered also. I have 5.5 in my lab.
– vCloud Networking and Security Manager (again 5.5). To enable the support of automated management of vCloud networking and security (integrating vShield), an instance of vCloud Networking and Security Manager is required for each vCenter Server attached to vCloud Director.


The above model shows all the mentioned components brought together.

Lab time – evaluation with initial installation of components

I have one vCSA and one ESXi host added in my notebook lab. I’m downloading the vCloud director appliance and vCloud Networking and security vShield manager appliance.
These can be easily deployed to your inventory as an OVF template. These deployments are really straightforward.
One note for the networks of the vCloud director: a vCloud Director appliance requires two network adapters and IP addresses. The one is used for HTTP traffic and to connect to the vCloud Director user interface. The other is for the console proxy connection that is used for all VMware Remote Console (VMRC) connections and traffic. When the networks are on the same IP subnet, the lowest number (eg. 132 when the other ends with 133) is assigned to the web service (https://<lowest_Ip>/cloud).

In a production environment these should connect to two different networks. For the lab I’m connecting both network adapters to the same network (and thus ignoring the warning shown).

I’m using the internal database option, so my demo lab does not need a database server.

My Lab now looks like this:


So with VCSA 5.5 deployed and initially setup (accepting EULA and accepting defaults). I’ll add a ESXi host. Nothing fancy. Minimum 4GB memory. Well it actually can go down, but you first have to install ESXi with 4GB and then downsize when finished. And vCD needs some memory for Oracle XE. So better stick to 4GB minimum.

I will go a head and initially configure vShield Manager…. ehhrm I mean vCloud Networking and Security Manager.
I add the VM to the same network, minimize memory for lab purpose and power on. When booted the manager login is shown. I logon with admin and password default. Go to the privileged mode (by using enable, at that time my Cisco days are passing in my memory) and enter set-up. Here I configure the IP address in the same range as my other hosts (that are DHCP clients). Open up a web browser to the configured IP address and the interface is shown. We can the same default user as the one used at the manager login.

The minimal item we have to setup is a connection to vCenter. Click the edit button next to it and add the vCenter server to the VSM.


After this we can close VSM and check that vCloud networking and security manager is successfully manageable from vCenter.

Next up deploying vCloud Director appliance. We will need to do this from the vCSA and deply as ovf.

So deploying to correct datacenter, storage and getting the warning for the same networks, setting root and guest password and adding IP’s or using DHCP (the latter for now)



And deploy when complete (and yes I switched from web client to vSphere client for the screen shots).

Start your engines. When the VM is booted, you will have to complete the initial installation by open https://<your VCD ip>/cloud. I have not changed the default user and password so root and vmware it is.

Accept the license agreement, add a valid (trial) license, and a administrator account. Add a unique system name and ID. The system name will be used to add a folder to your infrastructure. The ID should be unique to prevent conflicts. Starting with 1.

And finish. You are now returned to the vCD login screen. The last items for this eval:
Login and choose attach New vCenter from the Quick Start you are shown. Insert the name, ip, port and users for your vCenter. And next add to VSM. Ready to complete.

After this you will have to configure a provider data center and define resources (storage, networking) that will be consumed by organisations. You will have to create these organizations as well.

But for now this will be enough.

– Enjoy!

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