Microsoft Ignite 2019

Ignite 2019 in Orlando FL was a great conference for Zerto.

What a week at Ignite. I had a combination of being a session attendee, a presenter and we had a lot of great partner meetings.

The sessions at Ignite were good as usual and I liked how they had more theater sessions on the show floor. Some takeaways for me were:

  • Azure VMware Solutions (AVS) or VMware on Azure, is going to be a big deal. We had so many conversations with companies that thought this will be a good solution for them it reminded me of the early days of VMware virtualization when it finally went from test lab only use to everyone deciding to put it in production as a proven solution.
  • AI and ML is only going to grow in enterprises as Microsoft and partners are working to make it easier to implement. I attended a couple of sessions where they demoed using reusable and downloadable ML models to speed up your design/implantation time.
  • Containers are quickly becoming normalized for enterprise use cases.

If you didn’t get a chance to go to Orlando. Here are the keynotes and sessions. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/ignite

Here are some sessions to watch in the playlist. The direct URL shares are not available yet, but these are in the list.

  • Extending VMware operations into Azure: Embracing the cloud AND staying – Discussion includes using Zerto in Azure VMware Solutions.
  • How to move VMWare workloads to Azure – Really good session talking about VMware in Azure. Customer case study is a Zerto customer.

Azure VMware Solutions by CloudSimple

CloudSimple

CloudSimple and Microsoft provides the ability to run a complete VMware environment inside of Azure. Source: https://docs.azure.cloudsimple.com/cloudsimple-vmware-solutions-overview/

Why would anyone want to run VMware in Azure?

Some of the use cases could be:

  • The need to evacuate a VMware-based datacenter in a short timeframe. Your organization has a public cloud strategy, but there isn’t time to design and deploy a full Azure native environment before you need to be out of the datacenter.
  • Your company is full of VMware experts that don’t have Azure knowledge yet.
  • Some of your applications aren’t good candidates for public cloud environments, but the majority of the applications are. You will need to maintain a small VMware footprint.

What are the sizes of the environments available?

Cost

CloudSimple currently has to instance sizes available. The smaller one is CS28 and it has 28 Cores, 256GB Ram and over 5TB of flash storage. Source: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/details/azure-vmware-cloudsimple/

What does it Cost?

It is important to note that a basic deployment is billed a minimum of a month due to the fact that you are getting physical servers inside an Azure datacenter, so when you deploy, it’s going to be about $18,000/month for the CS28 Instance Size. Here are more details on the CloudSimple pricing https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/details/azure-vmware-cloudsimple/

How do I get started?

Very few products are named as accurately as CloudSimple. I went from zero to having a fully operational VMware datacenter in Azure in about 30 minutes. CloudSimple makes getting VMware inside of Azure really simple to do.

Portal1

To get your VMware datacenter installed, just search in the Azure Marketplace for CloudSimple. https://azuremarketplace.microsoft.com/en-us/marketplace/ 

Portal2

Once you have the CloudSimple Portal installed in Azure, then follow their intuitive steps. 

Note on the VPN

In order to connect to the Azure VPN in CloudSimple, you have to change the clamping to 1078.

How do I set up the VMware environment?

vmware setup

As a typical tech guy, I didn’t read any instructions and was able to get it installed just following their “Common Task” steps in the portal. You install the CloudSimple service, install the nodes and give it a few minutes and you have a VMware environment up and running in Azure. 

Operations

After the VMware environment running, it’s just like any other VMware datacenter. You use vCenter to manage it and provision VMs just like you normally do.

Adding Zerto

Of course the first thing we did was get a VM up and running in Azure and install Zerto. We created a VPN gateway in Azure and then connected our on-premises datacenter to it. The rest is normal Zerto on VMware operations. It really is that straightforward.

Upgrading Zerto Virtual Replication on vSphere to ZVR 5.5 Update 1

Whenever an upgrade is necessary with key infrastructure components such as your disaster recovery solution, you want it to be as painless as possible.

One of the big benefits of having Zerto Virtual Replication (ZVR) is its an all software solution and it has no agents in VMs, so upgrading your enterprise sites can be much easier than if you have hardware dependencies and if you have agents deployed in virtual machines.

In this post, we’ll do a quick walk-through of the upgrade process. The first thing to do is go to http://zerto.com/myzerto.

  1. Log in and download the latest version of Zerto Virtual Replication for vSphere.

2. Once it downloads, launch the installer.

3. Proceed with the installation wizard.

A great feature ZVR has is it will not only upgrade the ZVM, but it will also upgrade all of the Virtual Replication Appliances (VRAs) as well. The installation wizard allows you to select whether you want to automatically upgrade the VRAs.

Unless you have compelling reasons, leave the checkbox checked to automatically upgrade the VRAs.

4. The wizard checks all the existing services to ensure the upgrade will succeed.

5. The installer proceeds with the upgrade.

6. Once the ZVM is upgraded, the installer tells you that it will now upgrade the VRAs and you can track the progress in the upgraded ZVM Dashboard.

7. When you get logged in, you can go over to the Setup tab to check progress. Once the VRAs are upgraded, you will see the VRA Version column showing as “Latest”.

In typical Zerto fashion, upgrading other platforms like Azure and AWS have very similar steps.

For example, I created a video of how to upgrade an Azure Zerto Cloud Appliance.