If you’re coming here first – I strongly recommend reading the “Lessons Learnt” post in this series, here. It will help with context, and understanding your options and choices.
Ok, with that context – lets talk about the Native Hybrid Cloud (NHC) 1.4
NHC is designed to be a full cloud stack – built, designed, sustained as one full entity. It’s analagous to VxRail/VxRack relative to vSAN/VCF in the “DIY” and “Consume” picture. Some customers want to build clouds. Some want to consume a cloud.
NHC is a turnkey PaaS focused on the most lean way to stand up a developer platform centered on Pivotal Cloud Foundry, and giving the infrastructure team the tools to join the developers on their DevOps cultural shift.
It’s core principle matches a PCF core principle – “focus above the value line”.
All those things are NOT things that a developer really wants to spend time worrying about (though arguably as you move further up to the right, security, app management and marketplace are things they think about to some degree).
The goal of the NHC team is to take a platform approach to everything below the value line.
NHC 1.4 is built around PCF 1.11, and runs on VxRail, and always includes an Elastic Cloud Storage Object store – not only does every developer need an object store they can count on, but it’s also used for multi-AZ, multi-datacenter NHC behaviors.
First, let’s talk about what’s new in PCF 1.11 – since this is at the core:
- CredHub: Secure Place to Manage Credentials - https://docs.pivotal.io/pivotalcf/1-11/credhub/
- Container to Container Networking (GA) - https://docs.pivotal.io/pivotalcf/1-11/concepts/understand-cf-networking.html
- NFS v3 Volume Services (GA) - https://docs.pivotal.io/pivotalcf/1-11/devguide/services/using-vol-services.html
- BOSH Backup and Restore (Beta) - https://docs.pivotal.io/pivotalcf/1-11/customizing/backup-restore/backup-pcf-bbr.html
- Support for Private Docker Registries
- Support of NSX Integration via OpsManager – this is a critical place of VMware/Pivotal collaboration.
- For more functionality in 1.11 read the release notes and the blog:
- Issues documented - https://docs.pivotal.io/pivotalcf/1-11/pcf-release-notes/runtime-rn.html#knownissues
Now, NHC embraces the multi-availability zone approach in Pivotal Cloud Foundry (read more here: https://docs.pivotal.io/pivotalcf/1-11/customizing/understand-az.html)
Multiple HA deployment approaches are supported in NHC:
- Single Site
- Multi AZ
- Multi Foundation
- Multi Foundation
Note that multi-AZ requires an expansion NIC on VxRail, and that means you cannot do it on G-series nodes. Furthermore, external vCenter is Mandatory for HA on VxRail. Note that system-level design and single support is filled with these sort of critical gotchas.
This is an example of a single site HA multi-AZ configuration of NHC.
NOTE: For Virtual Geek readers wondering why VxRail and optionally VxRack FLEX for NHC rather than VxRack SDDC/VCF – this is the root of the technical answer.
This comes up often at customers where the VMware team is laser focused on VCF, which is great – but don’t know about PCF… a couple quick comments:
- We are doing an early adopter program around VxRack SDDC – this helps drive feedback into the VCF/VxRack SDDC roadmap
- You can see why VxRail and not VxRack SDDC – VCF workload domain behaviors mean that today, configuring for an multi-AZ PCF deployment is tricky. External vCenter also is another example.
As we work on the VMware Ready System roadmap together with the VCF team – this is an opportunity for simplification. If we can make configuration of VCF/VxRack SDDC optimized for PCF, and make tweaks to the VMware CPI and PCF Ops Manager Director for VMware it would be a big leap forward.
ECS is included in every NHC.
It’s used for several functions:
- ECS serves as the Blob Store for PCF
- It is the anchor for backup and restore of NHC Stack (beta)
- It is the Object Store for Application Developers (Future)
- It will be the target for backup for data services in the future.
- The customer can utilize the ECS for other functions.
- A minimum of 5 nodes as part of the starter kit.
Now… Always interesting – where are we going next?
There’s a clear chance to simplify.
- If we could shift some VCF behaviors, VxRack SDDC would be an ideal deployment platform for PCF and KUBO. It’s not yet, but both VMware and Dell EMC are working to get it there.
- Clearly, there’s an opportunity to make the object store an embedded, vs. bolted on option. The ECS appliance form factor is ideal at scale (almost all ECS deployments are big – many hundreds of TB, generally more in PB ranges – and there appliances are obvious. But – at small scale – a software-only ECS would be great.
- Some of the automation we do really should ideally be contributions to Ops Manager Director, rather than NHC itself.
- We need to build tighter integration with Concourse for CI/CD that is aligned with Pivotal’s strategy.
We’re going to rally around Pivotal Ready Systems on VxRack SDDC as the vehicle for us to pull the roadmaps on 1, 2, 3 closer and closer together.