VMware Cloud on AWS: Day Two Operations

VMware Cloud on AWS isn’t just the fast, simple, secure way to migrate to the cloud, it also comes with a suite of support, maintenance, logging and performance capabilities. In this blog post we explore all the Day 2 operations features to help you steer clear of rainy weather after you’ve migrated.

Whether you’re adopting a hybrid cloud model or going all in and moving everything to the cloud, there are some critical components that are sometimes forgotten. You’ve likely spent some time reading up on all of the features, caveats, and requirements – gone through sizing and design exercises, started testing or migrating workloads, and everything is going great. All of the tasks leading up to this point are we call day zero and day one activities.

Day zero is typically where we look at our current state environment, determine the uses cases and take a holistic design approach. What are the requirements, constraints, assumptions, and risks? We define what the desired state should look like and run through sizing and dependency exercises, among other things.

Day one is about ensuring we meet all the prerequisites, going through the pre-flight checklist for on-boarding, and deploying our SDDC. We will also configure connectivity to our on-premises environment.

But what about post deployment, after your workloads are already there?

Process chart

 

Day two operations are proactive and ongoing “keep the lights on” activities that promote uptime, health, and performance; as well as assist with troubleshooting and data protection. Think of this as general care and feeding of the environment.

Of course, everyone’s daily operations will differ, but let’s touch on what should be top of mind.

Maintenance and Support

VMware Cloud on AWS is a service, and as such, VMware is responsible for patching and applying security updates to the hosts and management VMs, as well as hardware management in general. Automated workflows are in place to safeguard against failed hardware and to maintain performance and uptime.

Planned downtime for the control plane is expected and customers are typically notified within seven days of a maintenance window; 24 hours for emergency patches. Of course, applications and VMs remain online during patching. The only customer responsibility during this time is to refrain from certain actions, such as vMotion, but specifics are always outlined in a notification email.

It’s important to understand what VMware is responsible for, and what the customer is responsible for.

Resource Responsibility
AWS Infrastructure VMware
Provider AWS VPC VMware
vCenter VMware
ESXi Hosts VMware
vSAN VMware
NSX VMware
Management/Compute Gateway VMware
Customer AWS VPC Customer
Management and Compute Gateway Configuration Customer
Customer Virtual Machines Customer
Customer Guest OS and VM Tools Customer
Customer Guest Applications Customer
Customer Data Customer

 

Support and operations are managed by a number of teams behind the scenes, and should a problem or question arise, getting support is a click away. Our in-product support experience brings together a number of resources in one convenient spot.

Intelligent Search: Surfaces popular content based on the user’s location and contextual usage in the product.

Popular Topics: Clicking the support option will provide you with topics that might be common from the page you’re currently on. You can also find links to specific documents or Knowledge Base articles.

Chat with VMware Support: Quickly address questions or issues with highly skilled VMware Support Engineers and Customer Support Representatives.

Support Requests: Create and manage Support Requests (SRs) or our Support Engineers can create SRs on their behalf via chat without leaving the product.

Ask the Community: Engage and pose questions to actively moderated communities, backed by passionate VMware Support Engineers and VMware Experts around the globe.

Service Health: Review live status of VMware Cloud Services and receive important service notifications.

Monitoring and Logging

We’ve all been in a situation where something isn’t right, and we receive a text, call, or email – “the internet is down” or “the server is down” – is the cloud down? Nah! However, having piece of mind goes a long way. Being able to look into the issue quickly and easily is why we deploy monitoring solutions on-premises. Certainly, we can take advantage of monitoring solutions for VMware Cloud on AWS as well.

The VMware Cloud Services Status page can be accessed from the support pane or by web browser. Here you can see the current state of the various cloud services showing if the service is operational, experiencing degraded performance, partially accessible, or inaccessible. You can see if the service is undergoing planned or unplanned maintenance and see a history of past events. I recommend subscribing to updates on the status page to receive email notifications when there is a change in service status or new information is posted.

vRealize Operations comes with built-in dashboards supporting VMware Cloud on AWS out of the box including Operations Overview, Performance and Capacity, SDDC and Cluster Health, Troubleshooting, Sizing, etc. Combine this with built-in vSAN dashboards and the optional AWS management pack and you’ve got a full turnkey solution that will give you extremely deep insight and metrics of your environment.

Dashboard image

 

Log Intelligence offers unified visibility into infrastructure and application logs across private clouds and AWS, including VMware Cloud on AWS, in real time. It adds structure to unstructured log data, provides rich dashboards, and indexing. Log Intelligence is the only solution to offer VMware Cloud on AWS audit logs for faster monitoring and troubleshooting.

Log Intelligence image

 

Log Intel dashboard

 

Backups and Data Protection

While VMware is responsible for recovery of the management VMs, all other VM and application data protection is the customer’s responsibility just as it would be on-premises. This is often an afterthought, but I strongly encourage data protection discussions to happen in the early stages of the cloud journey.

You may be able to take advantage of your existing backup solution, but there will likely be some additional considerations. You might have to deploy additional components, such as a management appliance or backup proxy – these could be in the form of AWS EC2 instances or a VM deployed to the vSphere cluster within your cloud SDDC.

You may also have to leverage other AWS native services such as Glacier, S3, or EBS to store the backup data; or utilize database services such as DynamoDB to manage metadata. Of course, this will differ across the board, and it could be as simple as leveraging an appliance and backing up your cloud workloads back to your on-premises data center.

Check the VMware compatibility guide for supported solutions, and work with your data protection specialists to understand the solution that best fits your needs and requirements.

Resources

For other information related to VMware Cloud on AWS, here are some more learning resources for you: