I have written a couple of posts on VMware’s vCloud Air DRaaS offering which covered ‘The Good, The Bad & Ugly‘ and ‘Improvements‘ to the service. The reason for these original posts was based on customer enquiries and I wanted to get under the skin of VMware’s offering.
Since then customers have been asking more questions around using the cloud for application testing and development.
The issue with testing applications on-premises is you may not have the compute or storage resources available, an example is you want to upgrade your ERP solution to the latest version and test it before going into production.
ERP solutions are often complex three tier applications which require a decent amount of horse power to run. Often businesses are nervous about upgrading the production software, as if someone goes wrong it could effect the entire company.
The solution to this could be to use vCloud Air OnDemand with vCloud Connector to link on-premises vCenter to vCloud Air. A simple clone of your ERP virtual machines and then copy them to vCloud Air and test the application upgrade.
Many of the clients I deal with, don’t have access to dedicated vSphere Clusters and storage for development. They are often nervous about giving developers a slice of their production vSphere clusters due to the effects a poorly designed application could have on their network and storage.
You could argue that placing limits on compute resources could mitigate the risk, but this then becomes a management overhead and politically it can cause all kinds of issues.
The solution to this could be again to use vCloud Air OnDemand.
vCloud Air OnDemand – Road Trip
With the above uses cases in mind, I wanted to give vCloud Air OnDemand a whirl.
The first step is to signup for vCloud Air OnDemand using the create a new MyVMware Account.
Use this promotion code ‘Influencer2015’ and get a special offer of $500 in service credits.
After a few seconds you will receive an email to finalize your account settings, this essentially means create a password. Then you are ready to login to your account.
Virtual Machine Provision
The ability to provision virtual machines quickly and easily is the acid test of an ‘cloud on demand service’. The recording below shows my first interaction with the service.
Two issues cropped up:
- Networking was not as straight forward as it could be. You cannot assign a network to your first VM without it being powered on. I wasn’t able to locate an add network in the vCloud Air area and used vCloud Director to assign the network. Not sure how easy this would be for someone new accessing the service. I believe it would cause some frustration to the user.
- The password didn’t work that was assigned to my VMF-DC01 VM. I even typed it in notepad to make sure I wasn’t going crazy.
Creating the second virtual machine I was able to assign a network on at the initial console screen and the password worked as well.
Overall the vCloud Air OnDemand experience was good. However, first impressions count and not many of us spend time reading a manual for an ‘on demand’ service as we expect it to be straight forward. If VMware can iron out the initial network and password issues, then my opinion would change from good to excellent.