Transform Cloud Automation and Availability

We are constantly working to share cool solutions with customers and have them available for demonstration. During CiscoLive London we unveiled our Transform Cloud Automation demo. This expands upon last year’s Workload Mobility demo (linked here) where we leveraged Vblock, VPLEX and OTV to protect mission critical workloads. Many customers leverage Management and Orchestration tools and are demanding they have the same protection as clustered databases or e-mail environments. These administrative services are not traditionally designed to be highly available. Running them on Vblock protected by VPLEX enables rapid recovery from hardware outage and also lets application provisioned in the same environment to be protected.

This Video ¬†highlights the benefits of the solution and how it would be interacted with from an administrative point of view…

Transform Cloud Automation

The video begins with Cisco’s Intelligent Automation for Cloud portal. We build a custom workflow to provision VM’s and allow the user to choose which data center the virtual application (vApp) will be provisioned in. The vApp is provisioned in vCloud Director, allowing for another layer of abstraction for multi-tenancy. vCloud provisions vApps onto a stretched cluster in a “gold tier” of service (denoted by the requester in the CIAC provisioning window). We also have a silver tier cluster which is not protected by VPLEX (not shown). Our stretched cluster is enabled by EMC VPLEX Metro (which VCE integrates as part of the Vblock solution) and Cisco OTV. EMC VPLEX¬†is a hardware solution that takes a storage LUN and replicates it over distance and allows read/write access from two locations simultaneously. As shown in the diagram this requires two Vblocks and VPLEX clusters on each side with the same resources. Our demo has three ESXi hosts at each site with three 500GB DataStore LUNs. VPLEX sits in between the host and storage array, presenting and protecting these LUNs. Write operations by each host are synchronous, read operations are cached locally. VPLEX maintains data consistency during outage and rules can be defined for the system to react appropriately during an outage.

That covers the DataStore, but not the network. Network traffic such as vMotion and virtual machine IP address are tied to a specific IP address. Traditional data center design dictates unique IP address space based upon location. Cisco OTV on the Nexus 7000 series switch can extend layer 2 VLANs between multiple locations, based upon your needs and configuration. OTV is relatively simple to setup and has been designed to mitigate the WAN bandwidth consumed by only sending the Layer 2 traffic required. Details on OTV can be found here.

TransformCloud VPLEX VblockDiagram of the solution

There is a lot of cool stuff going on with this demo, our focus is on the ease of use and management of the environment once it’s in production. We plan on enhancing the demo throughout 2013 and would be happy to share.