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Buyer's Guide

Download the Database as a Service Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: July 2022

What is vCloud Air?
vCloud Air is a public cloud platform built on the trusted foundation of vSphere, compatible with your on-premises data center, that includes infrastructure, disaster recovery, and various applications as service offerings. vCloud Air allows you to extend your workloads into the cloud with ease. You can migrate existing onsite virtual machines (VMs) to the public cloud or start up new application VMs directly in the cloud.
vCloud Air Customers
Lumeta, LifeSite, Clear Tec Solutions, National Physician Services, Queens University of Charlotte, California Natural Resources Agency, Pacific Disaster Center, Seventy Seven Energy Inc., Columbia Sportswear , CSS Corp

Archived vCloud Air Reviews (more than two years old)

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Saurabh Chandratre - PeerSpot reviewer
Director Solutions Architect - EMEA & APAC at Blue Medora
Consultant
Top 10
With the VPC, you can run your workloads in an active state, use it for development work and for hosting SQL/Exchange Servers in IaaS; RaaS/DaaS for DR activities.

What is our primary use case?

•DR service and Business Continuity Plan (RaaS) 

•Extension of key production environments in vCloud Air (IaaS)

•Horizon view desktops for remote users and clients (DaaS)

How has it helped my organization?

The projects that I have delivered on vCloud Air have definitely helped clients in having a full DR solution in cloud, for their head office as well as for the remote sites. The solution helped the customers reduce costs and recovery time for hosting their DR environment in vCloud Air, rather than the service provider.

Projects:

  • The customer required the disaster recovery (DR) solution for internal VDI desktops and servers during a data center relocation.
  • DR to be cloud-based using the Replication-as-a-Service to protect around 100 VMs.
  • Active-passive setup for physical SQL and Exchange Servers hosted on-prem and standy servers in IaaS in the vCloud Air Project, to be completed within tight time frames for a customer that outsources internal IT services to multiple organizations.

Solutions:

  • Performed discovery and assessment of the existing environment.
  • Provisioned and integrated cloud environments including the on-premise cloud networking.
  • Replicated production workloads into the cloud, created cloud VDI images, SQL/exchange in IaaS and conducted DR tests.

Results:

  • The Cloud DRaaS solution provided the organization with new levels of flexibility and cost control, together with rapid expansion capability.
  • A key example was the request and provisioning of an additional 6TB of cloud storage within 24 hours.
  • Data center migration successfully de-risked.

What is most valuable?

All three components of the vCloud Air are equally valuable and important, i.e., IaaS, DaaS and RaaS.

I like the Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) offering compared to the Dedicated Cloud. It gives me the flexibility to utilize the pay-as-you-go option. You can run your workloads in an active state at reasonable prices. I have seen lots of companies use it for their development work, as well as for hosting SQL and Exchange Servers, i.e., in the active-passive mode instead of Replication (RaaS).

Disaster Recovery is also a great feature that is affordable and easy to use. Disaster Recovery is a great component of the vCloud Air, where you can protect the on-premises cloud infrastructure, by providing self-service recovery options using the vSphere Replication.

Some of the features that really stand out and I have used in my projects are:

  • Direct Connect: It provides high speed and private line connectivity.
  • Offline Data Transfer: For encrypted bulk data transport.

What needs improvement?

  • I feel the user interface/portal can be improved further. I did experience timeout issues and the UI was performing slowly at times.
  • Multiple recovery of VMs in the cloud are limited to around 8-10 VMs at a time.

I know there have been significant improvements around these features in the latest release.

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Database as a Service
July 2022
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For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I did not encounter any stability issues. The platform was always stable and available while delivering the project for the end client.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were no scalability issues as such. As mentioned above, during some of the vCloud Air projects, the clients requested additional storage and compute resources for VPC offering. This was provisioned within hours of completing the request form on vCloud Air VPC portal.

How are customer service and support?

The support that I received on vCloud Air projects from the client relationship manager to the technical support was really outstanding.

As the scale and scope of project was huge, I did require technical assistance at times. To make it a success too, the vCloud Air technical support people were assigned by VMware. It was an absolute pleasure to meet both ends and have their support on the DR test day.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have not used another cloud platform other than the vCloud Air. However, I have done integration of the AWS, vCloud Air and the on-prem infrastructure for a client, who wanted to access to all three environments from one another.

How was the initial setup?

It was pretty straightforward to set up VPC in the vCloud Air in order to give access to the users as well as to integrate and provision cloud networking. It was also very easy to setup replication from vCenter to vCloud Air, once the firewall rules were opened up.

What about the implementation team?

It was in partnership with VMware vCloud Air Team

What was our ROI?

15 minutes

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It depends on the client's requirements and the scope of the project. You have to highlight the pros and cons for both the VPC and the vCloud Air Dedicated Cloud packages. At the end of the day, the platform needs to cater to all of the requirements of the client.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There were a couple of options considered such as the AWS and Azure. Because clients were familiar with vSphere and found it user-friendly, we selected this solution. It was easy to integrate the vCloud Air solution with their existing vSphere/vCenter setups.

What other advice do I have?

- Make the most of Role-based User Account Management.

- Plan for Performance

- Keep it cost effective

IaaS – vCloud Air

  • Create a plan for VLAN/routing and firewall, prior to implementing it in vCloud Air.
  • Only provision compute and storage resources that you need (CPU/memory/disk).
  • Use VMXNET3 for networking.
  • Make VMs public-facing (NAT) or give internet access to VMs, only if its required as public; IPs are chargeable.

RaaS – vCloud Air

  • Upgrade the on-prem environment to the latest vSphere (vCenter/ESXi/VMFS/VMXNet3 etc) and make sure it is compatible with the vCloud Air. You can make maximum use of all the additional supported features.
  • Install the latest version of vSphere Replication.
  • Make sure that the on-prem VMs that you would like to replicate in cloud are not over-provisioned with the compute resources or with the storage.
  • Work out the on-prem firewall and NAT rules that you would like to replicate in RaaS vCloud Air.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Other
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
PeerSpot user
IT Director with 51-200 employees
Vendor
It would be good to be able to create a new VM from a workstation, but it's compatible with your on-premise VMware-based data center.

Originally published at https://vinfrastructure.it/2015/07/vmware-vcloud-air-manage-with-workstation-11/

VMware Workstation has an interesting feature to manage vSphere infrastructure (and also stand-alone ESXi hosts) that is really powerful and useful, for example to avoid to install the vSphere client (or the integration plugin) just to open one VM console or to change the power status for some VM.

It does not replace the vSphere Client (or the vSphere Web Client) but it’s really useful if you don’t have it (or if the version is wrong) or the vCenter Server it’s down (so that the vSphere Web Client is not available).

Starting from Workstation 11 it’s now possible also connect to a VMware vCloud Air and “manage” vCloud Air On Deman or vCloud Air Subscription, and (like for the remote server) have more than one connection.

VMware vCloud Airis the public cloud offer by VMware (formally known asvCloud Hybrid Service) built on the foundation of vSphere and compatible with your on-premises VMware’s based data center. Actually it included several different services: infrastructure, disaster recovery, and various applications as service.

Usually it has a dedicated web portal for manage all the related resources. But you can partially connect VMware vCloud Air also with Workstation 11.

You can use the File menu, or simple use the Home tab:

It’s a really good idea, but the current implementation is very limited: you can simply see your VMs and just open the VM console.

Good in some cases, but not enough and not comparable with what you can do with vCenter Server or single ESXi hosts!

Also the inventory is not managed as a tree, but with multiple tabs: first the vCloud datacenter, then the organizational vDC and then the related VM… could be nice have on a single tree and not in multiple tabs.

Also I notice that the tabs does not refresh themselves mself and if you create a new VM from the vCloud Air portal, you need to close your Workstation and reconnect again to vCloud Air to see the changes.

So a really good idea, but need a lot of improvements. My whishlist is:

  • Better inventory (like the one for remote servers) with refresh
  • Possibility to create a new VM from Workstation
  • Export and import of VM (like with the remote servers) that can make this solution a simple alternative to vCloud Connector

With those minimal function it could become a really powerful tool!

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
Database as a Service
July 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Virtustream, Oracle, Amazon and others in Database as a Service. Updated: July 2022.
620,068 professionals have used our research since 2012.
it_user245418 - PeerSpot reviewer
Sr vSpecialist at EMC
Vendor
I don’t think it is quite where EC2 is with regard to capabilities and features but VMware is investing a lot in vCloud Air.

The IT community is split into sub-tribes, the vendors who sell technology and the operations folks that use it. 2014 vExperts were given early access and beta use of vCloud Air on demand services with free credits to test the environment in exchange those with this access would then post a blog. This is that blog ….

Dun-Dun

Sorry I watched some Law & Order before starting this blog.

If you are working in the VMware arena and don’t live under a rock, odds are you have heard about vCloud Air (formerly VMware Cloud Hybrid Services vCHS). If not a brief aside:

VMware vCloud Air is a hybrid cloud solution, with pre-set virtual templates and the access and capability for bursting from a customer datacenter into this hosted solution. With vCloud Air your company or organization can leverage internal templates by placing a copy in your cloud catalog, as well as extend layer 2 networking. Another benefit is the ability to leverage existing management tools and consoles to manage the cloud environment. This includes extensible controls into vCenter and vRealize Automation Center (formerly vCAC).

Now that we are all on the same page, the comparisons of VMware’s cloud to Amazon AWS EC2 have basically been that VMware is running from behind when it comes to development environment usage and on-demand. Up to this point vCloud Air has only been available as a contracted block of resources that are shared with in a tenant organization. VMware will be announcing the general availability of vCloud Air On-Demand service. This is going to be VMware’s Coup de eta for cloud solutions.

Where does it start you might be saying, or why do I care. Well for the later if you are reading this blog you are probably doing it for the comedy more than the technical content. But for the former, it all starts at My.VMware.com where you establish a subscription service and enter your billing information. All of your billing is run through my.vmware and allows for centralized cloud costs. This helps to eliminate shadow IT spend by centralizing management but more on that in a bit. Here is the my.vmware dashboard to track pricing.

But wait there’s more, considering that this is just the billing management. There is a difference between vCloud Air and the On-Demand version. Here is what vCloud Air looks like this:

While vCloud Air on Demand looks like this:

(vCloud Air on demand dashboard)

You can still create a virtual private cloud (VPC) as with standard vCloud Air, however within the VPC you get a Resource Usage Dashboard

From here you can see the utilization and monthly cost assessment. This is very similar to EC2’s which again unless you live under a rock you know looks like this:

You can also drill into individual VPC’s to see their specific cost modeling and usage.

Now is the point of the post where you may be asking yourself managing is cool but what about the VM’s and Services.

Let’s start with VM’s there are some pre-configured VM’s ready for easy deployment. Here you will find your usual suspects and can leverage your own MS licenses or pay to play similar to how AWS works. Then there is an assortment of linux images CentOS and RHEL.

In addition you can connect your vCloud Air On-Demand instance to your vCenter instance and copy template images and add them to your catalog. This is the part that should be making admins and CIOs smile. Why, because what this means is we can centrally manage and secure the images that are deployed in the cloud. Say what? That’s right fully managed and secured image right from the comfort of your own vCenter image. Remember how I mentioned Shadow IT?

Shadow IT is the concept that developers and app owners are going out and leveraging AWS to obtain the IT they need to accomplish their jobs. Mostly this happens because internal IT is burdensome and slow. vRealize is attempting to resolve this by allowing for IT automation of these applications and environments. Take this a step further and allowing these VMs to be provisioned in the cloud just as easily and on demand, and with an approved image would increase security and meet the app owner\dev requirements. In addition that are starting to drive organizations away from AWS are the costs associated with additional features that are additional costs like RDS, Elasticache and DirectConnect.

With all this said, vCloud Air On-demand seems like a decent solution for the VMware Admins who are looking for a way to avoid the long term contracts or aren’t sure how to size their public cloud deployment. I don’t think it is quite where EC2 is with regard to capabilities and features but VMware is investing a lot in vCloud Air. I think the future will show that this investment will begin to close the gap. In the mean time watch the VMware announcements that will be coming out during PEX.

Feel free to ask question I am happy to give some more testing feed back etc.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: I work for EMC
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
Download our free Database as a Service Report and find out what your peers are saying about Virtustream, Oracle, Amazon, and more!
Updated: July 2022
Buyer's Guide
Download our free Database as a Service Report and find out what your peers are saying about Virtustream, Oracle, Amazon, and more!