Why are we so enthusiastic about VMware Cloud Provider Pod?
VMware Cloud Provider Pod is a fantastic combination of a SaaS based service allowing you to build a custom Cloud Service Provider IaaS design with a few clicks but enough room for customization. It then generates you a complete design documentation including configuration sheets etc. and finally you get an automation system to deploy your design from bare metal to fully operational within a few hours including all the products by VMware and necessary linux VMs all configured based on VMware best practices and validated design. And if you select VSAN you will also fulfil all requirements to become VMware Cloud Verified. This allows a service provider to save weeks of professional services and get's time and room for their teams to build custom services instead of building infrastructure.
The facts in short
- Cost: It's free, except for your normal VCPP points you consume
- Hard coded and inflexible: Forget it, Cloud Provider Pod automation comes open so you can get it customized.
- Need help? Contact me and my team we have been involved in this since the early days and have a lot of experience on this product already.
Product updates included:
- VMware ESXi 6.5 U2 - plus patch for (VMSA-2018-0027)
This security issue is considered so critical that it was included into the Cloud Provider Pod initiator which is showing the importance in the service provider space. As the normal ESXi ISO builds on the VMware homepage have not been updated, which is important if you require to use any custom build with Cloud Provider Pod you need to ensure that it is patched BEFORE you load it into the initator.
- VMware vCloud Director 188.8.131.52 (Release Notes)
This is primarily a bug fix releases solving a lot of smaller issues.
- VMware NSX 6.4.3 (Release Notes)
Not only minor issues, but also several improvements in the HTML5 UI integration
- VMware vRealize Network Insight 3.9 (Release Notes)
- VMware vRealize Operations Management Pack - Cloud Provider Pod Health (Initial Release)
- Other product versions stayed the same: VSAN 6.6, vCenter Server 6.5 U2, vRealize Log Insight, vRealize Operations 7.0, vRealize Operations Manager Tenant App 2.0, vCloud Usage Meter.
So we can see this patch release includes a lot of individual software updates, at this point however VMware Cloud Provider Pod does not yet have any life-cycle management, so it will not allow you to move from 1.0 to 1.0.1 except with a fresh install. But you can just update the individual products.
But what has changed beside the software updates:
- Hard coded passwords
The initial 1.0 release used still hard coded passwords for some internal system communication, this has been solved and sorted. So your initial password will now also be used for all systems
- Better VSAN disk group detection
Having multiple disk groups is easier detected and will be automatically grouped in. It is however required that your Cache Disks are smaller than the Capacity Disks AND both disk groups are identical in size and number of disks (according to VSAN best practice guides).
- Better error recovery
Sometimes the automated deployments of appliances failed, that meant in the past you had to restart from scratch. Now the system picks up at the error stage cleans out the work done and retries it.
- Storage Policy for NFS and iSCSI
Issues had been identified were NFS or iSCSI storages were not creating proper storage policies for vCloud Director and therefore no Provider VDC was created. This has been solved.
- vCloud Extender Deployment
Several deployments had issues with vCloud Extender not being fully configured, those have been addressed in this release, especially the restrictions round certain passwords not being allowed.
What to consider before you deploy the new version?
When you want to use VMware Cloud Provider Pod please ensure you:
- Use the newest initiator which can be found here.
- Create your Design and configuration files using the Designer.
If you have already a configuration file please upload it and regenerate files, this ensures you have the latest parameters
- Deploy the design using the provided Package and configData.cfg from the Designer.