vCloud Air from VMware: launching your first VM on the "other" public cloud

vCloud Air provides a public cloud platform based on VMware’s vSphere. It certainly isn’t the only public cloud provider out there, but you can’t ignore VMware’s track record, nor its ability to seamlessly integrate public and private resources.

According to a recent IDC report, worldwide spending on public Cloud Computing is expected to “reach nearly $70 billion in 2015.” This obviously indicates a significant shift in organizational practice. Who is succeeding so far in this rapidly changing market? Here’s Gartner’s May, 2015 Magic Quadrant illustrating “ability to execute” and “completeness of vision” among cloud infrastructure providers:

vCloud Air - Magic Quadrant

Some of the high performers – especially AWS – are obvious. But you shouldn’t discount VMware as a serious player. VMware’s vCloud Air Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering has a lot that recommends it. If you’re looking to modernize your on-premises infrastructure by adding cloud compute, networking, and storage resources, they are probably worth a look.

Here’s a bit of a technical overview of vCloud Air, to be followed by a step-by-step account of the first launch of a virtual machine.

vCloud Air provides many sophisticated solutions, particularly related to hybrid clouds. Like any IaaS provider, vCloud provides all the basic compute, networking, and storage blocks.

Technical Details: vCloud Air provides…

  • The ability to add CPU, memory, and disks to a running VM.
  • Automatic live VM migrations to servers better able to handle evolving capacity.
  • Native migration – often without the need for reconfiguration.
  • Load balancing, firewalls, disk I/O, and NAT at no additional charge.
  • Relational database support (only MS SQL).
  • Object Storage services powered by EMC or the Google Cloud Platform.
  • Service through data centers in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and Australia.
  • Discounts based on duration, volume, and prepayments.
  • Full compliance with ISO 27001:2005, SOC1, SOC2, HIPPA, CSA, and FISMA.
  • Provisioned VMs of any size, 20G of network bandwidth.
  • Accelerated flash and disk performance.
  • Stretch your layer 2 and layer 3 network from your data centre to vCloud Air.

vCloud Air Offerings:

vCloud Air - Offerings

Launching a Virtual Machine in vCloud Air

If you’re considering giving vCloud Air a try, you can get $300 service credits valid over ninety days by signing up.

Let’s see how it works. On the Dashboard, choose the data center location where you want to deploy your VM. You can either deploy virtual machines from an existing catalogue image or from scratch. Here’s the New vApp window you’ll see if you click on the Create my Virtual Machine from Scratch link:

vCloud Air VM

In the New vApp window, click on Add Virtual Machines, then enter your settings for Virtual Machine name, Computer name, Virtual hardware version, Operating System Family (MS Windows, Linux, or Other), an Operating System, CPUs, memory and hard disk sizes, Bus type and the number of Network interfaces you’ll need. When you’re done, click OK.
vCloud Air - Configure

Back in the New vApp window, click on the Configure Resources link to accept the default Storage Profile (if that’s what you want). Click Next.

vCloud Air - Storage

Now select an available network in the Configure Virtual Machines page. If you don’t want this virtual machine to be accessible externally, select an isolated network.

vCloud Air - Network

Finally, review all of your settings and click on Finish. In the My Cloud tab, right-click on your virtual machine and click Start. In the list of virtual machines, you will see the new virtual machine you just created.

vCloud Air - List VMs

Written by

My professional IT career began nine years back when I was just out of my college. I worked with a great team as an infrastructure management engineer, managing hundreds of enterprise application servers. I found my passion when I got the opportunity to work with Cloud technologies: I'm addicted to AWS Cloud Services, DevOps engineering, and all the cloud tools and technologies that make engineers' lives easier. Currently, I am working as a Solution Architect in SixNines IT. We are an experienced team of engineers that have helped hundreds of customers move to the cloud responsibly. I have achieved 5 AWS certifications, happily helping fellow engineers across the globe through my blogs and answering questions in various forums.

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