Tag Archives: SDDC

Effectively Planning VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC Upgrades

One of the questions I am often asked is now that I am using VMware Cloud on AWS, how do I go about managing my SDDC life cycle? The answer…..VMware has you covered! As of March 2020, we have made some significant enhancements to the Notification Gateway (NGW) that give you several options to receive updates from VMware Cloud Services regarding maintenance activities such as certificate replacements and SDDC upgrades to new releases. While the NGW can be leveraged in several different areas, my preferred integrations are with Slack and Microsoft Teams. Setting up these integrations are fairly straightforward. Look no further than William Lam’s blog for details.

Even if you have Webhook integrations setup, you will still get a notification email similar to the image below letting you know when your SDDC is scheduled for an upgrade.

Notification email from Notification Gateway detailing each phase of the SDDC upgrade.

It is imperative that you take note of the dates and times your SDDC is scheduled for each phase as your times will all be in UTC timezone so do your time conversions accordingly. When you login to your SDDC console and go to the maintenance tab and you will see each phase listed along with recommendations for each phase.

Each phase of the SDDC is highlighted below as well as details around SDDC accessibility during the upgrade. For detailed information, read my associate Tom Twyman’s blog and the SDDC upgrade notes found here. We continue to improve upgrade processes in the background so check back often!! There are additional considerations to make when integrating with HCX, Site Recovery and Horizon so be sure to understand the impacts listed in the read me!! Keep in mind that during Phase 1 your vCenter certificate will be updated and the NSX certificate will be updated during Phase 3. If you have other products and services that depend on vCenter, you will need to take the proper steps to accept the new certs.

While there are time estimates for each phase, mileage may vary during the upgrade. To make things a bit easier for you. I have included a simple excel spread sheet to help you plan your SDDC upgrade.

After going through several customer upgrades over the past two years, my top 5 things to do are

  1. Don’t forget about certificate validation afterwards!
  2. Plan your outages around each phase and best to be conservative. Allot for the full estimated time.
  3. Setup integrations with the NGW. While emails are nice, it has been my observation that people get too many emails these days and these notifications are often ignored. Pick a delivery method that will get your attention!
  4. Read the release notes as well as upgrade notes before your scheduled upgrade.
  5. Don’t panic! For some, giving VMware the keys to the car (SDDC) is unnerving, and they want to watch and be involved. Remember this is a service, we have you covered. Sit back and relax!

VMware Cloud on AWS Connection Options

Happy New Year!!! This is going to be an exciting year for VMware Cloud on AWS and I wanted to kick off 2018 by highlighting the way in which you are going to connect into and out of VMware Cloud on AWS.

First of all, VMware Cloud on AWS is optimized (VMware Cloud Foundation) to run on dedicated, elastic bare metal infrastructure at a very high level inside Amazon’s data centers. For security purposes, the VMware Cloud on AWS SDCC is bifurcated to the components that manage the SDDC itself such as ESXi, VSAN, NSX, and vCenter.

Here’s a simple explanation of how you can setup the connectivity framework.

The first thing you need to setup is a connection to the management components of the SDDC.  You will first need to create a Management VPN and choose a set range of IP addresses that will be used by management components such as the ESXi hosts and vCenter. This range will be in the form of a simple CIDR block. We recommend using a /20 CIDR block for management purposes. After you connect the management portion of the SDDC, you will then need to setup an IPSec VPN between your on-prem data center and management components. This VPN can be setup over the Internet or AWS Direct Connect (DirectX). After this connection is established, you can then build firewall rules on the VMware Cloud on AWS Console. With these rules you can control access to the  vCenter from your on-prem data center.

VMCMgtVPN

There is an optional connection you can setup if you need access to your vCenter Server directly from the Internet. A public IP is automatically provided during the provisioning process. It is important to note that all access to this IP is restricted. To provide access, you will need to configure firewall rules in the VMware Cloud on AWS console to allow this direct type of Internet access.

PublicAccess

The second VPN you will need to setup is between your compute workloads and your on-premise data center. Several logical networks are required to provide the IP addresses for the workloads you plan on migrating or build in VMware Cloud on AWS. This VPN secures these workloads and allows them to connect back to your on-prem data center. This can be an IPSec VPN or L2VPN. The L2VPN advantage is that you can stretch a single L3 IP space from on-prem to the cloud and is also required for live migrations. This VPN can go over the Internet or AWS DirectX. You can again create firewall rules as needed to access on-prem workloads.

ComputeVPN

The next connection is between your SDDC workloads and your Amazon VPC. This is automatically configured and built during the SDDC provisioning process. Once you select the Amazon VPC subnet that will be associated with your VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC an elastic network interface (ENI) will be created allowing traffic to flow between both environments.  In order to control security, you will need to configure AWS IAM policies as well as firewall rules on the VMware Cloud on AWS side to allow access between both. Lastly, you will likely need to give direct public internet access to some of your SDDC workloads. To make these accessible to the Internet, you will need to leverage AWS elastic IPs along with NAT and firewall configurations to allow this type of access.

ENI

That’s it! Now you are ready to leverage your SDDC on VMware Cloud on AWS!

Also, here’s a video that covers the content discussed above.

-SL