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Today we’ll take a look into setting up the VMware on IBM Cloud that offers deployment & management of the platform. In 2016, VMware & IBM formed a strategic partnership & released VMware Cloud Foundation for faster provisioning of these environments. This is to help the developers get the server instances easily, with high availability & disaster recovery so that, they can focus on deploying the apps faster.

There are various reasons why you should be choosing IBM Cloud for your VMware environments. One of them, of course, is the IBM’s vast & expanding network spread across 50 data centers, providing us with easy optimization & high-performing cloud infrastructure for VMware instances. Within a few hours, you can set it up with bare metal server & virtual servers.

You get access to a bouquet of cognitive capabilities including IBM Watson APIs, which you cannot get anywhere else. And most importantly, disaster recovery & backup service helps maintain the plentiful smile during regular operations.  I’ll be covering the comparison between the IBM Cloud vs AWS vs Azure next week.

Prerequisites

You will need a supported browser such as Firefox, Chrome, or Safari

Because the VMware solution is a part of IBM Bluemix catalog, you’ll need a Bluemix account to proceed. If you already have an IBM ID, you’ll need to associate it with the Bluemix account, which is a one-time activity. When you first log in to the console, it’ll prompt to do so.

IBM Cloud - VMware Solutions

You’ll also need a SoftLayer API Key for ordering the VMware instance. You can go to “Settings” and associate your SoftLayer account to acquire the API key. (See image)

IBM Cloud VMware - SoftLayer API Key

Environments

There are two types of virtualization available on the IBM Cloud.

  • Cloud Foundation Instance: It’s a comprehensive instance which uses VMware SDDC manager, vSphere Hypervisor, vCenter, vSan & NSX.
  • vCenter Server Instance: It’s a basic instance which uses vSphere Hypervisor, vCenter Server & NSX

Step 1: Choose Cloud Foundation Instance

IBM Cloud VMware - Cloud Foundation Instance (Primary)

Cloud Foundation use Microsoft Active Directory for a domain controller, hence we’ll need to provide the instance as primary. It’s the first instance you’ll need to use with the single sign-on domain. Additional secondary instances later can be associated with this primary instance.

Step 2: Primary Instance

Cloud Foundation VMware - Primary Instance Details

During the next step in setting up the primary instance, you’ll be asked to provide the required information such as; Domain name, Instance name, Hardware configuration & Data center location. Use the domain name that will be used as the single sign-on root domain. Choose the instance name that is easily identifiable as the same will be used in DNS subdomain for the instance hostnames.

Cloud Foundation instances come in 24-core with 128GB of RAM & 28-core with 256GB of RAM.

These require minimum 4 nodes because it uses vSAN. These are deployed using 1 public VLAN, mainly reserved for workload deployments for public connectivity, & 2 private VLANs for using vMotion and vSAN.

The instance is deployable in the following data center locations across the world.

Amsterdam 03, Chennai 01, Dallas 10, Frankfurt 02, Hong Kong 02, London 02, Melbourne 01, Queretaro 01, Milan 01, Montreal 01, Oslo 01, Paris 01, Sao Paulo 01, Seoul 01, San Jose 03, Singapore 01, Sydney 01 and 04, Tokyo 02, Toronto 01, and Washington, DC 04.

Step 3: Place Order

Place order for Cloud Foundation VMware instance

The third & last step in order process is to view the order summary, terms of use & estimation on the cost. Your SoftLayer account (that we authorized earlier) will be billed for the instance.

Deployment

The IBM Cloud processes the entire deployment of installation & configuration of your instances based on the location, specifications you provided. The process usually takes less than 24 hours for provisioning. The IBM Cloud username & API key is used to perform the deployment which includes the following:

  • Ordering VLANs & subnets
  • IBM Cloud Bare Metal servers with vSphere Hypervisor installed
  • Configuration of vSAN, NSX, Controllers, & Edge service gateways
  • Deploying SDDC manager
  • IBM cloud driver for management
  • Configuration of IBM Cloud virtual server instance
  • Validating the installation & configuration

Management

For the vCenter Server instance, as long as you’re connected to IBM cloud VPN, you can directly log in to the vCenter.

To manage Cloud Foundation instance, you must modify your ‘hosts’ file because the PSC authenticates the connection to vCenter by the hostname & not by its IP. So to ensure the hostname can be resolved, get your PSC hostname & IP address for the instance from the portal.

# Cloud Foundation instance PSC
10.168.55.99    psc0.vrack.vsphere.local

Cloud Foundation VMware - Deployed instance properties

Through IBM cloud portal, you can always deploy additional nodes into the cluster, remove nodes, and initiate an upgrade, initiate backups, manage and install additional services & open support tickets.

As you have seen here, we could provide these instances faster than ever so we can focus on deploying our applications. Go ahead & deploy your next VMware environment on the IBM Bluemix Cloud today. Comment below if you need any help.

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