VMware Cloud Director Charge Back Explained

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VMware Chargeback not only enables metering and chargeback capabilities, but also provides visibility into infrastructure usage through performance and capacity dashboards for the Cloiud Providers as well as tenants.

To help Cloud Providers and tenants realise more value for every dollar they spend on infrastructure (ROI) (and in turn provide similar value to their tenants), our focus is to not only expand the coverage of services that can be priced in VMware Chargeback, but also to provide visibility into the cost of infrastructure to providers, and billing summary to organizations, clearly highlighting the cost incurred by various business units. but before we dive in further to know what’s new with this release, please note:

  • vRealize Operations Tenant App is now rebranded to VMware Chargeback.
  • VMware Chargeback is also now available as a SaaS offering, The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering will be available as early access, with limited availability, with the purchase or trial of the VMware Cloud Director™ service. See, Announcing VMware Chargeback for Managed Service Providers Blog.

Creation of pricing policy based on chargeback strategy

Provider administrator can create one or more pricing policies based on how they want to chargeback their tenants. Based on the vCloud Director allocation models, each pricing policy is of the type, Allocation pool, Reservation pool, or Pay-As-You-Go

NOTE – The pricing policies apply to VMs at a minimum granularity of five minutes. The VMs that are created and deleted within the short span of five minutes will still be charged.

CPU Rate

Provider can charge the CPU rate based on GHz or vCPU Counts

  • Charge Period which indicates the frequency of charging and values are: Hourly, Daily Monthly
  • Charge Based on Power State indicates the pricing model based on which the charges are applied and values are: Always, Only when powered on, Powered on at least once
  • Default Base Rate any base rate that provider want to charge
  • Add Slab providers can optionally charge different rates depending on the number of vCPUs used
  • Fixed Cost Fixed costs do not depend on the units of charging

Memory Rate

  • Charge Period which indicates the frequency of charging and values are: Hourly, Daily Monthly
  • Charge Based on indicates the pricing model based on which the charge is applied, values are: Usage, Allocation and Maximum from usage and allocation
  • Charge Based on Power State indicates the pricing model based on which the charges are applied and values are: Always, Only when powered on, Powered on at least once
  • Default Base Rate any base rate that provider want to charge
  • Add Slab providers can optionally charge different rates depending on the memory allocated
  • Fixed Cost Fixed costs do not depend on the units of charging

Storage Rate

You can charge for storage either based on storage policies or independent of it.

  • This way of setting rates will be deprecated in the future release and it is advisable to instead use the Storage Policy option.
  • Select the Storage Policy Name from the drop-down menu.
  • Charge Period indicates the frequency of charging and values are: Hourly, Daily Monthly
  • Charge Based on indicates the pricing model based on which the charge is applied. You can charge for used storage or configured storage of the VMs
  • Charge Based on Power State This decides if the charge should be applied based on the power state of the VM and values are: Always, Only when powered on, Powered on at least once
  • Add Slab you can optionally charge different rates depending on the storage allocated

Network Rate

Enter the External Network Transmit and External Network Receive rates.

Note: If your network is backed by NSX-T, you will be charged only for the network data transmit and network data receive.

  • Network Transmit Rate select the Change Period and enter the Default Base Rate as well as using slabs, you can optionally charge different rates depending on the network data consumed
  • Network Receive Rate select the Change Period and enter the Default Base Rate. as well as using slabs, you can optionally charge different rates depending on the network data consumed. Enter valid numbers for Base Rate Slab and click Add Slab.

Advanced Network Rate

Under Edge Gateway Size, enter the base rates for the corresponding edge gateway sizes

  • Charge Period indicates the frequency of charging and values are: Hourly, Daily Monthly
  • Enter the Base Rate

Guest OS Rate

Use the Guest OS Rate to charge differently for different operating systems

  • Enter the Guest OS Name
  • Charge Period indicates the frequency of charging and values are: Hourly, Daily Monthly
  • Charge Based on Power State This decides if the charge should be applied based on the power state of the VM and values are: Always, Only when powered on, Powered on at least once
  • Enter the Base Rate

Cloud Director Availability

Cloud Director Availability is to set pricing for replications created from Cloud Director Availability

  • Replication SLA Profile – enter a replication policy name
  • Charge Period indicates the frequency of charging and values are: Hourly, Daily Monthly
  • Enter the Base Rate

You can also charge for the storage consumed by replication objects in the Storage Usage Charge section.This is used to set additional pricing for storage used by Cloud Director Availability replications in Cloud Director. Please note that the storage usage defined in this tab will be added additionally to the Storage Policy Base Rate

vCenter Tag Rate

This section is used for Any additional charges to be applied on the VMs based on their discovered Tags from vCenter. (Typical examples are Antivirus=true, SpecialSupport=true etc)

  • Enter the Tag Category and Tag Value
  • Charge based on Fixed Rate or
  • Charge based on Alternate Pricing Policy – Select the appropriate Pricing Policy
  • Charge Period indicates the frequency of charging and values are: Hourly, Daily Monthly
  • Charge Based on Power State This decides if the charge should be applied based on the power state of the VM and values are: Always, Only when powered on, Powered on at least once
  • Enter the Base Rate

VCD Metadata Rate

Use the VCD Metadata Rate to charge differently for different metadata set on vApps

NOTE- Metadata based prices are available in bills only if Enable Metadata option is enabled in vRealize Operations Management Pack for VMware Cloud Director.

  • Enter the Tag Category and Tag Value
  • Charge based on Fixed Rate or
  • Charge based on Alternate Pricing Policy – Select the appropriate Pricing Policy
  • Charge Period indicates the frequency of charging and values are: Hourly, Daily Monthly
  • Charge Based on Power State This decides if the charge should be applied based on the power state of the VM and values are: Always, Only when powered on, Powered on at least once
  • Enter the Base Rate

One Time Fixed Cost

One time fixed cost used to charge for One time incidental charges on Virtual machines, such as creation/Setup charges, or charges for one off incidents like installation of a patch. These costs do not repeat on a recurring basis.

For values follow VCD METADATA and vCenter Tag section.

Rate Factors

Rate factors are used to either bump up or discount the prices either against individual resources consumed by the Virtual Machines, or whole charges against the Virtual Machine. Some examples are:

  • Increase CPU rate by 20% (Factor 1.2) for all VMs tagged with CPUOptimized=true
  • Discount overall charge on VM by 50% (Factor 0.5) for all Vms tagged with PromotionalVM=True
  • VCD Metadata
    • enter the Tag Key and Tag Value
      • Change the price of Total, vCPU, Memory and Storage
      • By applying a factor of – increase or decrease the price by entering a valid number
  • vCenter Tag
    • enter the Tag Key and Tag Value
      • Change the price of Total, vCPU, Memory and Storage
      • By applying a factor of – increase or decrease the price by entering a valid number

Tanzu Kubernetes Clusters

This section will be used to charge for Tanzu K8s clusters and objects.

  • Cluster Fixed Cost
  • Charge Period indicates the frequency of charging and values are: Hourly, Daily Monthly
    • Fixed Cost Fixed costs do not depend on the units of charging
  • Cluster CPU Rate
    • Charge Period indicates the frequency of charging and values are: Hourly, Daily Monthly
    • Charge Based on this decides if the charge should be applied based on Usage or Allocation
    • Default Base Rate(per ghz)
  • Cluster Memory Rate
    • Charge Period indicates the frequency of charging and values are: Hourly, Daily Monthly
    • Charge Based on this decides if the charge should be applied based on Usage or Allocation
    • Default Base Rate(per gb)

Additional Fixed Cost

You can use Additional Fixed Cost section to charge at the Org-VDC level. You can use this for charges such as overall tax, overall discounts, and so on. The charges can be applied to selective Org-VDCs based on Org-VDC metadata.

  • Fixed Cost
    • Charge Period indicates the frequency of charging and values are: Hourly, Daily Monthly
    • Fixed Cost
  • VCD Metadata – enter the Tag Key and Tag Value
  • VCD Metadata One Time – enter the Tag Key and Tag Value

Apply Policy

Cloud Director Charge Back provides flexibility to the Service Providers to map the created pricing policies with specific organization vDC. By doing this, the service provider can holistically define how each of their customers can be charged based on resource types.

Bills

Every tenant/customer of service provider can see/review their bills using the Cloud Director Charge Back app. Service Provider administrator can generate bills for a tenant by selecting a specific resource and a pricing policy that must be applied for a defined period and can also log in to review the bill details.

This completes the feature demonstration available with Cloud Director Charge back. Go ahead and deploy and add native charge back power to your Cloud. 

NFS DataStore on VMware Cloud on AWS using Amazon FSx for NetApp

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Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP integration with VMware Cloud on AWS is an AWS-managed external NFS datastore built on NetApp’s ONTAP file system that can be attached to a cluster in your SDDC. It provides customers with flexible, high-performance virtualized storage infrastructure that scales independently of compute resources.

PROCESS

  • Make sure SDDC has been deployed on VMware Cloud on AWS with version 1.20
  • The SDDC is added to an SDDC Group. While creating the SDDC Group, a VMware Managed Transit Gateway (vTGW) is automatically deployed and configured
  • A Multi-AZ file system powered by Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP is deployed across two AWS Availability Zones (AZs). (You can also deploy in single AZ but not recommended for production)

DEPLOY VMWARE MANAGED TRANSIT GATEWAY

To use FSx for ONTAP as an external datastore, an SDDC must be a member of an SDDC group so that it can use the group’s vTGW and to configure you must be logged into the VMC console as a user with a VMC service role of Administrator and follow below steps:

  • Log in to the VMC Console and go on the Inventory page, click SDDC Groups
  • On the SDDC Groups tab, click ACTIONS and select Create SDDC Group
  • Give the group a Name and optional Description, then click NEXT
  • On the Membership grid, select the SDDCs to include as group members.The grid displays a list of all SDDCs in your organization. To qualify for membership in the group, an SDDC must meet several criteria:
    • It must be at SDDC version 1.11 or later. Members of a multi-region group must be at SDDC version 1.15 or later.
    • Its management network CIDR block cannot overlap the management CIDR block of any other group member.
    • It cannot be a member of another SDDC Group.
    When you have finished selecting members, click NEXT. You can edit the group later to add or remove members.
  • Acknowledge that you understand and take responsibility for the costs you incur when you create an SDDC group, then click CREATE GROUP to create the SDDC Group and its VMware Transit Connect network.

ATTACH VPC TO VMWARE MANAGED TRANSIT GATEWAY

After the SDDC Group is created, it shows up in your list of SDDC Groups. Select the SDDC Group, and then go to the External VPC tab and click on ADD ACCOUNT button, then provide the AWS account that will be used to provision the FSx file system, and then click Add.

Now it’s time for you to go back to the AWS console and sign in to the same AWS account where you will create Amazon FSx file system. Here navigate to the Resource Access Manager service page and

click on the Accept resource share button.

Next, we need to attach VMC Transit Gateway to the FSX VPC, for that you need to go to:

ATTACH VMWARE MANAGED TRANSIT GATEWAY TO VPC

  • Open the Amazon VPC console and navigate to Transit Gateway Attachments.
  • Choose Create transit gateway attachment
  • For Name tag, optionally enter a name for the transit gateway attachment.
  • For Transit gateway ID, choose the transit gateway for the attachment, make sure you choose a transit gateway that was shared with you.
  • For Attachment type, choose VPC.
  • For VPC ID, choose the VPC to attach to the transit gateway.This VPC must have at least one subnet associated with it.
  • For Subnet IDs, select one subnet for each Availability Zone to be used by the transit gateway to route traffic. You must select at least one subnet. You can select only one subnet per Availability Zone.
  • Choose Create transit gateway attachment.

Accept the Transit Gateway attachment as follows:

  • Navigating back to the SDDC Group, External VPC tab, select the AWS account ID used for creating your FSx NetApp ONTAP, and click Accept. This process takes some time..
  • Next, you need to add the routes so that the SDDC can see the FSx file system. This is done on the same External VPC tab, where you will find a table with the VPC. In that table, there is a button called Add Routes. In the Add Route section, add the CIDR of your VPC where the FSX will be deployed.

In the AWS console, create the route back to the SDDC by locating VPC on the VPC service page and navigating to the Route Table as seen below.

also ensure that you have the correct inbound rules for the SDDC Group CIDR to allow the inbound rules for SDDC Group CIDR. it this case i am using entire SDDC CIDR, Further to this Security Group, the ENI Security Group also needs the NFS port ranges adding as inbound and outbound rules to allow communication between VMware Cloud on AWS and the FSx service.

Deploy FSx for NetApp ONTAP file system in your AWS account

Next step is to create an FSx for NetApp ONTAP file system in your AWS account. To connect FSx to VMware cloud on AWS SDDC, we have two options:

  • Either create a new Amazon VPC under the same connected AWS account and connect it using VMware Transit Connect.
  • or Create a new AWS account in the same region as well as VPC, connect it using VMware Transit Connect.

In this blog, i am deploying in the same connected VPC and for it to deploy, Go to Amazon FSx service page, click on Create File System and on the Select file system type page, select Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP,

On Next page, select the Standard create method and enter require details like:

  • Select Deployment type (Multi-AZ) and Storage capacity
  • Select correct VPC, Security group and Subnet

After the file system is created, check the NFS IP address under the Storage virtual machines tab. The NFS IP address is the floating IP that is used to manage access between file system nodes, and this IP we will use to configuring in VMware Transit Connect to allow access volume from SDDC.

we are done with creating the FSx for NetApp ONTAP file system.

MOUNT NFS EXTERNAL STORAGE TO SDDC Cluster

Now it’s time for you to go back to the VMware Cloud on AWS console and open the Storage tab of your SDDC. Click ATTACH DATASTORE and fill in the required values.

  • Select a cluster. Cluster-1 is preselected if there are no other clusters.
  • Choose Attach a new datastore
  • The NFS IP address shown in the Endpoints section of the FSx Storage Virtual Machine tab. Click VALIDATE to validate the address and retrieve the list of mount points (NFS exports) from the server.

  • Pick one from the list of mount points exported by the server at the NFS server address. Each mount point must be added as a separate datastore
  • AWS FSx ONTAP
  • Give the datastore a name. Datastore names must be unique within an SDDC.
    • Click on ATTACH DATASTORE

VMware Cloud on AWS supports external storage starting with SDDC version 1.20. To request an upgrade to an existing SDDC, please contact VMware support or notify your Customer Success Manager.

Cross-Cloud Disaster Recovery with VMware Cloud on AWS and Azure VMware Solution

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Disaster Recovery is an important aspect of any cloud deployment. It is always possible that an entire cloud data center or region of the cloud provider goes down. This has already happened to most cloud providers like Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and will surely happen again in future. Cloud providers like Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud will readily suggest that you have a Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity strategy that spans across multiple regions, so that if a single geographic region goes down, business can continue to operate from another region. This only sounds good in theory, but there are several issues in the methodology of using the another region of a single cloud provider. Some of the key reasons which I think that single cloud provider’s Cross-Region DR will not be that effective.

  • A single Cloud Region failure might cause huge capacity issues for other regions used as DR
  • Cloud regions are not fully independent , like AWS RDS allows read replicas in other regions but one wrong entry will get replicated across read replicas which breaks the notion of “Cloud regions are independent
  • Data is better protected from accidental deletions when stored across clouds. For Example what if any malicious code or an employee or cloud providers employee runs a script which deletes all the data but in most cases this will not impact cross cloud.

In this blog post we will see how VMware cross cloud disaster recovery solution can help customers/partners to overcome BC/DR challenges.

Deployment Architecture

Here is my deployment architecture and connectivity:

  • One VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC
  • One Azure VMware Solution SDDC
  • Both SDDC’s are connected over MegaPort MCR

Activate VMware Site Recovery on VMware Cloud on AWS

To configure site recovery on VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC, go to SDDC page, click on the Add Ons tab and under the Site Recovery Add On, Click the ACTIVATE button

In the pop up window Click ACTIVATE again

This will deploy SRM on SDDC, wait for it to finish.

Deploy VMware Site Recovery Manager on Azure VMware Solution

In your Azure VMware Solution private cloud, under Manage, select Add-ons > Disaster recovery and click on “Get Started”

From the Disaster Recovery Solution drop-down, select VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) and provide the License key, select agree with terms and conditions, and then select Install

After the SRM appliance installs successfully, you’ll need to install the vSphere Replication appliances. Each replication server accommodates up to 200 protected VMs. Scale in or scale out as per your needs.

Move the vSphere server slider to indicate the number of replication servers you want based on the number of VMs to be protected. Then select Install

Once installed, verify that both SRM and the vSphere Replication appliances are installed.After installing VMware SRM and vSphere Replication, you need to complete the configuration and site pairing in vCenter Server.

  1. Sign in to vCenter Server as cloudadmin@vsphere.local.
  2. Navigate to Site Recovery, check the status of both vSphere Replication and VMware SRM, and then select OPEN Site Recovery to launch the client.

Configure site pairing in vCenter Server

Before starting site pair, make sure firewall rules between VMware cloud on AWS and Azure VMware solution has been opened as described Here and Here

To start pairing select NEW SITE PAIR in the Site Recovery (SR) client in the new tab that opens.

Enter the remote site details, and then select FIND VCENTER SERVER INSTANCES and select then select Remote vCenter and click on NEXT, At this point, the client should discover the VRM and SRM appliances on both sides as services to pair.

Select the appliances to pair and then select NEXT.

Review the settings and then select FINISH. If successful, the client displays another panel for the pairing. However, if unsuccessful, an alarm will be reported.

After you’ve created the site pairing, you can now view the site pairs and other related details as well as you are ready to plan for Disaster Recovery.

Planning

Mappings allow you to specify how Site Recovery Manager maps virtual machine resources on the protected site to resources on the recovery site, You can configure site-wide mappings to map objects in the vCenter Server inventory on the protected site to corresponding objects in the vCenter Server inventory on the recovery site.

  • Network Mapping
  • IP Customization
  • Folder Mapping
  • Resource Mapping
  • Storage Policy Mapping
  • Placeholder Datastores

Creating Protection Groups

A protection group is a collection of virtual machines that the Site Recovery Manager protects together. Protection group are per SDDC configuration and needs to be created on each SDDC if VMs are replicated in bi-directionally.

Recovery Plan

A recovery plan is like an automated run book. It controls every step of the recovery process, including the order in which Site Recovery Manager powers on and powers off virtual machines, the network addresses that recovered virtual machines use, and so on. Recovery plans are flexible and customizable.

A recovery plan runs a series of steps that must be performed in a specific order for a given workflow such as a planned migration or re-protection. You cannot change the order or purpose of the steps, but you can insert your own steps that display messages and run commands.

A recovery plan includes one or more protection groups. Conversely, you can include a protection group in more than one recovery plan. For example, you can create one recovery plan to handle a planned migration of services from the protected site to the recovery site for the whole SDDC and another set of plans per individual departments. Thus, having multiple recovery plans referencing one protection group allows you to decide how to perform recovery.

Steps to add a VM for replication:

there are multiple ways, i am explaining here one:

  • Choose VM and right click on it and select All Site Recovery actions and click on Configure Replication
  • Choose Target site and replication server to handle replication
  • VM validation happens and then choose Target datastore
  • under Replication setting , choose RPO, point in time instances etc..
  • Choose protection group to which you want to add this VM and check summary and click Finish

Cross-cloud disaster recovery ensures one of the most secure and reliable solutions for service availability, reason cross-cloud disaster recovery is often the best route for businesses is that it provides IT resilience and business continuity. This continuity is of most important when considering how companies operate, how customers and clients rely on them for continuous service and when looking at your company’s critical data, which you do not want to be exposed or compromised.

Frankly speaking IT disasters happen and happens everywhere including public clouds and much more frequently than you might think. When they occur, they present stressful situations which require fast action. Even with a strategic method for addressing these occurrences in place, it can seem to spin out of control. Even when posed with these situations, IT leaders must keep face, remain calm and be able to fully rely on the system they have in place or partner they are working with for disaster recovery measures.

Customer/Partner with VMware Cloud on AWS and Azure VMware Solution can build cross cloud disaster recovery solution to simplify disaster recovery with the only VMware-integrated solution that runs on any cloud. VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) provides policy-based management, minimizes downtime in case of disasters via automated orchestration, and enables non-disruptive testing of your disaster recovery plans.

Persistent Volumes for Tanzu on VMware Cloud on AWS using Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP

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Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP provides fully managed shared storage in the AWS Cloud with the popular data access and management capabilities of ONTAP and this blog post we are going to use these volumes mount as Persistent Volumes on Tanzu Kubernetes Clusters running on VMware Cloud on AWS

With Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP, you pay only for the resources you use. There are no minimum fees or set-up charges. There are five Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP components to consider when storing and managing your data: SSD storage, SSD IOPS, capacity pool usage, throughput capacity, and backups.

The Amazon FSx console has two options for creating a file system – Quick create option and Standard create option. To rapidly and easily create an Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP file system with the service recommended configuration, I use the Quick create option.

The Quick create option creates a file system with a single storage virtual machine (SVM) and one volume. The Quick create option configures this file system to allow data access from Linux instances over the Network File System (NFS) protocol.

In the Quick configuration section, for File system name – optional, enter a name for your file system.

For Deployment type choose Multi-AZ or Single-AZ.

  • Multi-AZ file systems replicate your data and support failover across multiple Availablity Zones in the same AWS Region.
  • Single-AZ file systems replicate your data and offer automatic failover within a single Availability Zone, for this post i am creating in Single AZ
  • SSD storage capacity, specify the storage capacity of your file system, in gibibytes (GiBs). Enter any whole number in the range of 1,024–196,608.
  • For Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), choose the Amazon VPC that is associate with your VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC.

Review the file system configuration shown on the Create ONTAP file system page. For your reference, note which file system settings you can modify after the file system is created.

Choose Create file system.

Quick create creates a file system with one SVM (named fsx) and one volume (named vol1). The volume has a junction path of /vol1 and a capacity pool tiering policy of Auto.

For us to use this SVM, we need to get the IP address of SVM for NFS , Click on SVM ID and take a note of this IP, we will use this IP in our NFS configurations for Tanzu.

Kubernetes NFS-Client Provisioner

NFS subdir external provisioner is an automatic provisioner that use your existing and already configured NFS server to support dynamic provisioning of Kubernetes Persistent Volumes via Persistent Volume Claims. Persistent volumes are provisioned as ${namespace}-${pvcName}-${pvName}.

More Details – Explained here in detail https://github.com/kubernetes-sigs/nfs-subdir-external-provisioner 

I am deploying this on my Tanzu Kubernetes cluster which is deployed on VMware Cloud on AWS.

  • Add the helm repo –
#helm repo add nfs-subdir-external-provisioner https://kubernetes-sigs.github.io/nfs-subdir-external-provisioner/
  • Install using as below:
#helm install nfs-subdir-external-provisioner nfs-subdir-external-provisioner/nfs-subdir-external-provisioner \
    --set nfs.server=<IP address of Service> \
    --set nfs.path=/<Volume Name>
#My command will be like this#
#helm install nfs-subdir-external-provisioner nfs-subdir-external-provisioner/nfs-subdir-external-provisioner \
    --set nfs.server=172.31.1.234 \
    --set nfs.path=/vol1

Post installation of chart, you can check the status of Pod, it is not in running state then describe and see where it stuck

Finally, Test Your Environment!

Now we’ll test your NFS subdir external provisioner by creating a persistent volume claim and a pod that writes a test file to the volume. This will make sure that the provisioner is provisioning and that the Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP service is reachable and writable.

As you can see deployed application created an PV and PVC successfully on Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP

Describe the Persistent Volume to see the source of it, as you can see below it is created on NFS running on SVM having IP – 172.31.1.234

This is the power of VMware Cloud on AWS and AWS native services, customers can use any AWS native service without worrying about egress charges as well as security as everything is being configured and accessed over the private connections.