VMware on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

At Openworld 2019 Larry Ellison announced a new partnership between Oracle and VMware. It was a surprise for a lot of people, up to the point that it received the name of The Moscone Miracle (credits to Pete Flecha). For the first time, Oracle and VMware are joining efforts to provide the best in class solutions to their customers.

The announcement includes plans to provide Oracle Cloud customers a native VMware offering on Oracle Cloud and an update to Oracle’s support policy regarding Oracle products running on VMware.

Q.- What is Oracle Cloud VMware Solution?

Oracle Cloud VMware Solution (OCVS) is a solution designed, developed and deployed by Oracle. It leverages the VMware Cloud Foundation which makes deploying vSphere stack of products an easy thing. You will have vSphere, vSAN (virtual storage), NSX-T (virtual networking) deployed to Oracle Baremetal hosts in OCI.

Q.- How many hosts would OCVS require?

The software will be deployed following VMware standard of 3+ baremetal hosts using a VMware Validated Design (VVD) architecture on VMware certified hardware.

This entry point will allow the customer to start with:

Q.- What is different from other Cloud providers?

Customers will have FULL administrative access and control over their SDDC and the underlying bare metal cloud compute instances. What does it mean?

  • From a security perspective, you control access to the hypervisor and underlying infrastructure.
  • Large enterprise companies have their operations and management processes outsourced to a third party company. You can keep the same way of operations as if you were on-prem. No additional teams involved in your day-to-day.
  • Flexible. You can add or remove hosts whenever you need them. Create additional network clusters or remove them based on your needs.
  • Keep your pace on platform updates and decide when to move to the next release. We know it takes time to verify and check that all your applications and services will not get stuck with a new release. It may take weeks or even months until you have gone through all the tests before moving to production.

And the most important thing. You can now run the best of both worlds. Why not having VMware and Exadata cloud services running in the same datacenter? Why not removing your database maintenance and routine tasks by using Autonomous Database services (ADWH, ATP) and keeping your applications in VMware?

Q.- How do I provision OCVS?

You will be asked to fill a few parameters, such as VMware version, number of nodes, network config, and credentials. Hit the button and Oracle will automatically deploy the environment. Easy as that. By the end of the process, you will have access to your vCenter console

Q.- How can I make use of Oracle cloud-native services?

Your VMware environment can connect to Oracle’s cloud-native services through the Service Gateway. This gateway enables consumer-to-service private connections (C2S).

If you want to know the Cloud services that can be accessed from the private subnets in your Virtual Cloud Network (VCN) take a look to https://www.oracle.com/cloud/networking/service-gateway.html

In addition to this, you will have other gateways available, such as the Internet Gateway, NAT gateway or the Dynamic Routing Gateway (DRG).

Q.- What are the use cases?

Disaster Recovery (DR) for your on-prem VMware estate. Keeping and maintaining a second data center is quite expensive. Think of all the components and costs associated (physical servers, network equipment, rack space, cooling, power, facilities, WAN links, etc.). Some large companies are getting rid of their secondary data centers and using the Cloud as their failover environment. With OCVS you can spin-up a small VMware environment in OCI and grow as you need. No need to pay for capacity that is not in use.

If that is not your case maybe you would like to use the Cloud as a third offsite location for your VM backups. Keep a backup of your VMs in a secure place and ensure you will have the information available in case of a major incident (human errors, sabotage, etc..).

Migrate or Extend your Datacenter to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. There are multiple reasons where you might want to use the Cloud just as an extension of your on-prem facilities.

  • You may be running out of Capacity. How many times have you been struggling with Capacity planning in your company? It is not an easy process and you may encounter barriers like budget (not always you have the right money for the required architecture). You can extend the services and meantime work to see how you can optimize existing on-prem infrastructure and release capacity.
  • Maybe you want to start your digital transformation path but still have old legacy applications that cannot be moved or transformed. In that case, you can extend your services and use the Cloud as another component of your existing architecture. New applications could run in the Cloud while keeping connectivity and dependencies with the old world.

Data locality. You might want to use the Cloud but your business has strict regulations and you need to know that your information is within the geographical boundaries of your region. When you create a resource in OCI you get a unique ID called Oracle Cloud Identifier (OCID). This identifier will let you know the type of resource created and the region/Availability domain where it has been deployed. It’s like a serial number of your physical computer.

Note that running services in the Cloud does not mean that your services will be accessible from the Internet. You can deploy services without an Internet connection and use your dedicated connectivity (Fastconnect or VPN) to reach those services. We will discuss this in another post describing the different connectivity options for hybrid architectures.

Q.- Can I use my existing licenses?

At this point in time, the service comes with its own licenses.

Conclusion

OCVS provides some great options when handling VMware in the Cloud. You can run it as if you were on-prem, have full control of the underlying infrastructure and use the same VMware tools that you manage in your day-to-day operations. You can leverage your VMware environments with Oracle cloud-native services, such as ExaCS, ADWH or ATP. The best of both worlds, in a single platform!


OCI in the new Terraform Registry

Hashicorp announced couple of days ago the new Terraform registry. If you are new to Terraform, this is what they called in the past the ‘Module registry’, a place where you could find and share templates to set and deploy your infrastructure.

In these new registry Hashicorp is including Terraform providers and modules. You can find now Oracle Cloud Infrastructure modules at registry.terraform.io

If you want to deploy a module in your infrastructure, find the right module and copy the code from the Provision Instructions into your configuration file. Please check the prerequisites and the required variables before proceeding.

Another way to access the registry is through HTTP API. There are still two sets of modules available in the registry.

  • OPC (Gen1 Cloud- deprecated): curl ‘https://registry.terraform.io/v1/modules/oracle’
  • OCI (Gen2 Cloud): curl ‘https://registry.terraform.io/v1/modules/oracle-terraform-modules’

You can find modules built by partners or people from the community, however those have not been verified (yet) by Hashicorp . For verified modules please ensure they have the following symbol:

At the time of writing this post the latest OCI terraform provider is 3.58.0. More info: https://registry.terraform.io/providers/hashicorp/oci/3.58.0

Thanks for reading!

How to add OCI Documentation to different Web Browsers

Following Alex’s post on how to access OCI documentation directly from Chrome’s search bar I’ve thought that it would be great to add the custom search engine to all the different browsers I have installed in my laptop.

Chrome Browser

Open your Chrome browser and type chrome://settings/searchEngines Go to Search Engines > Default search engines > Add

In the new window introduce the following parameters and click Save:

  • Search engine: docs.cloud.oracle.com
  • Keyword: oci
  • URL: https://docs.cloud.oracle.com/iaas/Content/Search.htm?q=%s

Your new custom search engine will appear in Other search engines . Let’s make it our default as follows:

And there it goes! Now we have a default search engine pointing to OCI documentation:

Firefox Browser

Open Firefox and enter about:addons in the browser bar. Go to ‘Find more extensions’ and search for add custom search engine. It will open a new tab in the Mozilla Search Add-ons site with the results.

You will see multiple addons available. You can install any of them. In my case I’ve chosen Tom Schuster’s add-on.

Let’s get back to the addons tab. You will now have the “Add custom search engine” enabled. Click on the three dot menu > Options

In the new window let’s configure the custom engine. Enter the following parameters and click Add custom search engine:

  • Name: oci
  • Search URL: https://docs.cloud.oracle.com/iaas/Content/Search.htm?q=%s
  • Icon (optional): I’ve added Oracle logo

Now that we have configured our custom engine, let’s create a quick keyboard for the search box. Type in the browser about:preferences#search . Scrolling down the page you will see a list of One -click search engines with our new oci search engine. Click in the keyword column and add whatever keyboard you want to search in the website.

And we are done! Test your new search engine. I will look for the term ‘network’ in OCI documentation:

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge has a different approach meaning that you will not be able to add OCI documentation as a custom search engine. It’s supposed that Microsoft edge allows you to add the websites to the search engine when you visit them. However their search engine looks for known engines like Google, Duckduckgo, etc. Let’s check it by navigating to OCI documentation website. Type https://docs.cloud.oracle.com/iaas/Content/Search.htm?q=%s in your browser

After navigating in OCI documentation go to Menu > Settings > Advanced > Address bar search > Change search provider

You will see a list of Search engines that Microsoft Edge discovered. Unfortunately our OCI website did not appear. But why? Edge uses a feature called Auto-discovery which informs the browser of a search engine that supports the Open Search Technology. I will need to investigate further….

What about other browsers like Safari?

I need to borrow a MAC laptop and update this post 😉

Stay tuned! Thanks for reading.