Ok, time for part 2. I'm back on and connected after a few days zip-lining and mountain biking through redwood trees and train tracks in northern California. As I was contemplating part 2, the biking time reminded me that infrastructure automation software end game is not too different. You want to spend the best quality bike time on the downhill adrenaline inducing sweeping single track through the trees versus the mundane paved path to the mountain..i.e. Let infrastructure work for you with automation rather than you tediously working the infrastructure to get better ROI from your quality time.
In Part 1 of this series, I started to peel back some of the well known UCP Advisor features that our customers are using when deploying our infrastructure automation software while sharing some of the updates we made in the most recent UCP Advisor v1.2 release. In this blog, I want to touch on aspects of networking mgmt, day 0 + day 90 administration and cool integrated data protection features.
So on to networking. I covered automating all the aspects around deploying storage datastores and compute ESXi hosts in the previous post and I wanted to complete the 3rd leg, the important networking management aspect. From a IP networking aspect, two key aspects I believe are VLAN management and topology views. When you update the VLANs on your distributed virtual switches, UCP Advisor provides an automated facility to synchronize VLANs to the top of rack and/or spine switches that make up your networking fabric. It also provides connectivity information so you can quickly determine the physical infrastructure connectivity topology between ESXi hosts and IP infrastructure. You can visualize some of this clicking on animated GIF below. Of course, firmware upgrade management which I'll chat about in part 3 is included for the networking switches.
Circling back to day 0 type operations from an administration perspective, most environments do/will end up with multiple appliances, whether its 30 satellite offices each with local needs or a datacenter with multiple UCP appliance pods for application, security and/or multi-tenancy requirements. UCP Advisor has a distributed model to manage multiple appliances from single vCenter including enhanced linked mode configurations. (vSphere 6.5 newly supported in 1.2 release). Each appliance or logical configuration has a dedicated control VM appliance (small Win2k16 based CVM) which allows the scalability to be only limited by vCenter max # of ESXi hosts which it can manage, 1000 at last check. Each appliance or logical system can be quickly on-boarded using CSV configuration to describe the appliance or new infrastructure elements (e.g adding a new chassis of compute on day 89) can be on-boarded using UI. The administration tab also covers aspects lack setting the schedule for automated backup of infrastructure config components, specifically the IP network and FC device configurations.
Speaking of data protection, UCP Advisor always provides integrated VM and datastore level operational backup and recovery capabilities when HDID software and its V2I component is recognized as being deployed. This is accessible through the data management services tab. With data protection moving to a snap and replicate model vs traditional backup to meet both scalability and fast self service recovery, I think this is an important inclusion. The ability to have every VM newly deployed to be automatically protected and ability to do full or granular recovery of VM data at the drop of a hat is key when you users need it, especially if its a multi-TB VM and time is money...The GIF visual shows you some aspects of this and more details on the VMware protection options from a previous blog I wrote a while back. For vSAN based UCP HC, HDID offers VADP based backup as well.
In part 3, I'll free wheel home and close out to cover automated firmware management, physical workflows capabilities for bare metal support or custom infrastructure needs and some of the vRO and Powershell integrations that are available to further automate your cloud deployment with HDS UCP and UCP Advisor.. Feel free to drop a comment/questions on any aspect or what you would like to me to cover in more detail